A fad is something that is met with abrupt enthusiasm and sometimes ends just as quickly as it started. Fads have been around ever since we can remember! They can be anything from the beehive hairstyle that became a Baltimore staple to being the proud owner of a pet rock. With the introduction of social media, fads can dominate the internet. They often get spread around like wildfire only to be extinguished within a few weeks or even a few days. But the question still remains; why do they happen in the first place?
Fads can happen for many reasons. One hypothesis suggests that the desire to join a fad is as simple as wanting to be included in a group. This hypothesis ranges from children buying small toys for the simple fact that their friends also have the toy, all the way to adults buying specific brands because they want to fit the brand’s image. This natural human desire is referred to as “herding” and some experts believe that it is rooted in us due to our early history of traveling in packs. Some companies such as hotel booking websites capitalize on this urge by showing how many users are currently purchasing through their website at the moment. This causes the consumer to feel as if they need to also purchase just because it seems like everyone is doing it.
Another theory suggests that we trust the intuition of others (think reviews). When walking in a new city, individuals are more likely to go to a restaurant that has a lot of customers as opposed to one that is empty. This is because consumers will assume that there is a reason that others have made their choice, even if we do not know what that reason may be.
One of the most common types of fads are fad diets. Every year we see numerous new diets like going “paleo”, intermittent fasting or cutting all carbs out of your diet to go into “ketosis.” Each diet promises guaranteed results that are faster than any other diet. The prominence of these can be credited to themselves. The reason for many of these diets isn’t because of a new discovery that has shocked Nutritionists around the world, but instead individuals turn to the new diets because the previous diet didn’t work. This causes a cyclical development of new diets that the masses turn to with as much hope as they had for the one prior.
While fads may seem silly or outlandish most people will take part in one because while in the midst of a trend, it doesn’t seem like a fad. Those who frequently buy into fads run the risk of spending excess money on things that will only provide brief satisfaction. If you want to avoid being a part of a fad, remember to take a moment before you purchase to think about how this specific product or activity will help you in the long-term or, wait until the initial urge to purchase an item has worn off and reevaluate.