Do it yourself…



Last month I bought a desk to put in my bedroom from Ikea of course I had to assemble it…while my mum was on holiday, when she got back home the first thing she said to me was what is that horrendous white thing that is in your bedroom? It is true that is not exactly as on the brochure photos, but it took me hours to put it together…I made it so I love it!

This is a known effect, The Ikea Effect, as from Wikipedia:

“The Ikea effect is a cognitive bias where labour enhances affection for its results. The name for this psychological phenomenon is in honour of the wildly successful Swedish manufacturer named Ikea, a large portion of whose furniture products require some self-assembly. The “Ikea effect” is seen as an actual psychological situation which is linked to consumers placing a disproportionately high value on an object that they partially built themselves.”

From the Journal of Consumer Psychology The IKEA effect: When labor leads to love
( they showed by 4 different tests the existence and magnitude of the IKEA effect, which occurs for both utilitarian and hedonic products, and
it is sufficient in magnitude that consumers believe that their self-made products rival those of experts.



The research suggest that customers are willing to pay an extra for DIY products that make them more involved. But how much are they willing to pay for a product that involve them even more maybe in the product design? The thing to keep in mind is that the tasks have to be neither too easy nor to difficult, if too difficult and the customer fails to successfully complete the task, the IKEA effect vanishes.

For instance in the 1950s ready cake mix were introduced were not successful. Housewives found that it was too easy and their participation in the cake preparation was minimal. Things changed when the producers made slightly more involving by having to add butter, eggs etc.. to the mix.

This attachment to the things we contributed in creating (or in my case the desk assembling) can be explain by Peck & Shu 2009 ( study that examine (explored) the function of touching on perceive ownership and valuation. The result was that touch raises the connection between the person and the object giving it more perceived ownership and valuation.


5 thoughts on “Do it yourself…

  1. Interesting concept, ‘the Ikea effect’, not one I had ever heard of before, so it certainly prompted me to look at more literature surrounding the subject. Norton, Mochon & Ariely (2011), suggested that the Ikea effect was only present if an individual successfully finishes their DIY task. Furthermore, if they broke of failed to complete their DIY task the effect dissipated.
    It has also been proposed that creating products yourself increases feelings of fulfilment and makes an individual feel more competent. This increased competence then leads to a increased valuation of the final product (Mochon, Norton & Ariel, 2012).

  2. It’s interesting!

    I used to be a big fan for hand-making sticks of incense. Many times I succeeded in making nice myrrh incense. So I just kept spending money on materials for incense because I thought I really mastered the skill (self-fulfillment). Although I knew all these incense can be bought in really low price and good quality, I still feel that what I had made was the best.

    Franke, Schreier, and Kaiser, U. (2010) point out that there is a “I designed it” effect when people get an awareness that they are the creator of product, they will be willing to pay more. This effect is moderated by the outcome of the process as well as the individual’s perceived contribution to the self-design process.

  3. Hi,

    A really interesting read!

    The research by Peck & Shu (2009) that you refer is a good insight in to some of the factors contributing to the ‘endowment effect’. (A classic example of the endowment effect is the buying and selling of houses, and the differences in perceived value between buyer and seller.)

    An interesting point, I think, is that the above research (studies 3 and 4) seems to suggests that when it comes to perceived value, “the sellers are more influenced by touch than buyers”. The researchers think that this may be because “ownership status is made more salient” when “simultaneously including buyers and sellers” in a given situation, and that buyers “realize that they do not legally own an object while others in the room actually own the object.”

    For me, a personal example of this in practice was when I was a child, I remember the ‘do not touch’ signs in some shops. Whilst such measures are understandable in a shop selling crockery, for example, this seems to be defeating the object when the shop exists to sell play things to kids!

    On a separate note, I also like your reference to the research by Norton et al. (2012) – The IKEA effect: When labor leads to love. Specifically, the statement that the ‘IKEA effect’ “is sufficient in magnitude that consumers believe that their self-made products rival those of experts”.

    I’m not fully convinced that if it came to me selling something that I’d bought and assembled myself versus something that was made by a professional, that I’d value the self-made item higher. But that may have more to do with my (lack of) DIY skills than anything else!

  4. Ill be brutally honest, iv never even heard of this effect before but as soon as i read it I realized that I have been a sucker for this years. I really do think its the thing of making something your own and having your own personal touch on it, I would much rather build something myself than buy it premade., Its interesting how marketers have brought into this idea though, one example i can think of is ‘Build a Bear’, where parents are nagged into letting their children make a rather expensive personalized teddy bear.

    What i did find interesting was the cake mix part, i never thought that something would be too ‘easy’. Perhaps this was a cultural issue at the time and now would not be an problem, after all people like to be as efficient as possible so any time saving would be welcomed; I know me personally I would love to be able to buy premade cake mix to sit and eat!

    I look forward to reading next weeks post!

  5. Hi! I like your blog but I hate IKEA. One month ago, I bought a huge DIY mirror for my bedroom. When the mirror arrived, I started to assemble it, and it was so painful. All of the little screws were broken, I cannot use any of them.
    After I realized it, I tried to return the mirror. Then I found the return process is so complicate. They could delivery to my house but they cannot collect it from my house. Strange and annoying. That is the first time I bought goods from IKEA and I will never try it again.
    Firstly, it cost time. I mean the price of IKEA is cheap, but most of them need me to spend an afternoon for assembly.
    Secondly, if I found it is difficult to assemble it, I will feel so painful and consider myself as stupid. The feeling is not really good when you face a bunch of useless component.
    I am just thinking about could they improve the experience? Such as some support video on Youtube? Isn’t it a good idea for someone like me? DIY is fun but when you really need a bed to sleep and you have to assemble the bed,in my opinion, it is incredibly painful.

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