Consumers are a fickle bunch according to the appropriately named Katherine Milkman, professor of operations and information management at the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania. She says that online shoppers are more likely to buy “treats” as well as necessities if the purchases will be delivered quickly.

In her paper published in the journal Marketing Letters, Prof Milkman writes that shoppers on an online grocery store were more likely to treat themselves to ice-cream or other goodies if the goods were to be delivered straight away, but stick to the sliced loaf and broccoli if the order was to be delivered later in the week. Prof Milkman believes that these findings on consumer behaviour could have implications for the structure and marketing methods of online retail sites.

And on to UK consumers…..Your average Brit is more innovative and spends more money on product development than your average British company, according to the latest piece of research by a professor at MIT Sloan in Boston in the US.

Eric von Hippel, professor of management of innovation and engineering systems, estimates that 2.9 million Brits engaged in product development at a cost of £2.3bn - more than twice the official figures for British companies. The survey worked with a sample of 1,173 UK households.

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