Pretty vs Functional. What do you look for?
OK. So we don’t see 200+ lb women gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. We don’t see a Yugo on the cover of Hot Rod. How many would take Matthew Mcconaughey over Jack Black (I wouldn’t take either, but you know what I’m talking about)?
We live in a world where sometimes form overtakes function. So when it comes to personal tech gadgets, we might just view it the same way. It doesn’t matter if the ugly device will do more for you than the sleek looking one. We purchase items on impulse. So do we accept because of looks even if the functionality is not there?
I have to admit. I bought a Motorola Razr on looks back in 2005. It cost me $250 to buy the looks. Nevermind that I hated any type of folding phone. Nevermind the fact I didn’t like the flat buttons. Nevermind the fact it really didn’t have as good a signal as it’s Nokia predecessor. It was a fashion statement.
When I purchased the HTC 8125, I decided to go back to functionality. I was able to use the phone as a personal computer. I had the Mobile Word and Excel, I could get my Exchange mail and I could even connect to other network computers in case I needed to troubleshoot.
Rubicon Consulting asked the question to iPhone users, what model of phone did they have before the iPhone. 24% said they had a Motorola RAZR, while 34% had another form of smart phone. According to American Technology Research, 25 percent were willing to cancel their accounts and pay the fees to switch to the iPhone. They also cited that the other time this happened; it was in 2004 when the Motorola RAZR came out.
Impulse buying is something every product manufacturer relies on. That one thing that makes the item pretty enough to make the consumer act like a moth to flame. The product sells itself and sometimes it’s on looks alone; Who cares what groups like Consumer Reports say?
Eventually the glamour of owning the item fades and either the consumer sits down and thinks about the purchases, or just gets drawn to the newest, brightest flame. If the item turns to be a solid, functional product, then the consumer might just stick with it. Of course, if the item is too problematic, then people will abandon it as quickly as possible; Even pay the fees to get something that will look good and function well.
I am not saying the iPhone is not functional. I really hope with the new features Steve Jobs mentioned back in March that this phone will be more than functional to all consumers: including the corporate ones. It does help to have that thin, sleek design to make the people want it more.
Looks can be everything to an item. A cool new item gives us a sense of being on the cutting edge. Adding a sleek design makes us feel special. Statistics can back up these ideals in what we find appealing. But one thing is for sure – We will always see young, slender models on the Swimsuit issue, Mustangs on the car issue and Matthew Mcconaughey with his shirt off by the beach (or if you’re like me, you would rather see someone like Kate Beckinsale).