An observational study claims that people who choose inferior products do it because it makes them feel safe. The superiority of the quality of a product might make the consumer insecure because it reminds or proves to him that he is of inferior quality as a human being. Choosing products with a quality similar to the internal quality one feels he/she has, brings comfort.
One might argue that the reason could be the financial situation. The study left that category out. It was directed to find the correlation between reward and payment for the reward. How much is one willing to pay to feel rewarded? The ones paying little amounts of money for questionable quality might reason that they were saving, but the fundamental reason seems to be that they don’t think they are worthy of better products.
How can the quality of the products that you buy reflect your self-esteem
If you have to compete with a product, that product might feel unrewarding. It should represent you, confirm you, reflect yourself. It shouldn’t be saying that you earned it, but that you deserve it. People with low self-esteem and who hold pessimistic self-views choose inferior products. Whether we talk about clothes, restaurants, trips, or winning contests. Some people, even if they could afford expensively, high-quality products choose cheaper, low-quality ones.
People need to belong to the category of products they buy. It’s the same mechanism that works for people buying things they can’t afford. They feel they belong to that category that affords to buy expensive, high-quality products.
While this last category is risking its financial situation, and will most likely end in bankruptcy, the previous might be doing itself some good. Finding comfort and not selling an unrealistically positive image to the world might become the ground for further work on the image they have about themselves – That instead of hurting that image, even more, when posing in a confident and competent image that they don’t own.