Everyone has always believed more liberals shop at Trader Joe’s, while more conservatives shop at Walmart and other larger retailers. But many have speculated about where the perception has come from.
A new study published in the journal Psychological Science has determined why liberals and conservatives shop at different stores.
Vishal Singh, research leader, said there seems to be a link between voting behavior, high levels of religiosity, and “seemingly inconsequential product choices.”
The impulse to buy a certain product stems from the same impulse to chose a particular political candidate.
“Our empirical results, based on extensive field data, provide strong evidence that more conservative ideology is associated with higher reliance on established national brand (as opposed to generics) and a slower uptake of new products,” the study explained.
“These tendencies are consistent with traits typically associated with conservatism, such as aversion to risk, skepticism about new experiences, and a general preference for tradition, convention, and the status quo.”
In the study, they found that greater religiosity was strongly associated with the purchasing of name brand products. They also found the “same pattern” in the link between “Republican voting and generics,”
Similarly,” they said “the market share of new products was significantly lower in counties with higher levels of religiosity and Republican voting. Taken together, our results provide strong evidence that more conservative markets are associated with a higher reliance on established national brands and a lower penetration of new products.”
This follows findings that suggest that patterns of charitable giving are also related to political ideology.
Differences between liberals and conservatives continues to be explored. Just last year, researchers compared the brains of liberals and conservatives in a study.
Singh and his colleagues hope to now explore the differences between individualistic and collectivist cultures.