Being Touched Turns Off Shoppers, Study Finds

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Photo: Haywood Magee

According to a new study, shoppers do not like to be touched.

Hands off, people!

Though your claustrophobic post-holiday trips to the mall might tell you otherwise, new research has found that shoppers like to have their personal space, The Atlantic reports.

According to a study conducted by Brett A.S. Martin of Queensland University of Technology, encountering "accidental interpersonal touch" (such as a fellow shopper brushing past or standing over your shoulder) makes shopper more likely to give negative feedback about a store or product.

To test his theory, Martin enlisted "relatively attractive" volunteers in their 30s to stand near or subtly graze shoppers in southern England. The shoppers were then surveyed about their shopping experience.

Those who had had their personal space invaded were more likely to feel dissatisfied than shoppers who had been left alone, with some leaving the store in a rush after being touched.

The negative reaction was even stronger when it was a male stranger touching a female shopper. Back off, guys!

Published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the study suggests that retailers should avoid overcrowding to avoid accidental touching and make the customer feel more comfortable.

"For managers, a stranger's touch in the store means the money walks out of the store," Martin summarizes.

Does this mean no more Black Friday?