Under certain conditions, a citrus smell seemed to magically open the
pocketbooks of shoppers and increase their desire to spend, according
to Jean-Charles Chebat of the HEC Montreal graduate school of business,
Richard Michon of Ryerson University in Toronto and L.W. Turley of
Western Kentucky University. Their findings appear in the latest issue
of the Journal of Business Research.
But retailers with a nose for sales should not order industrial-size
vaporizers and fill them with orange scent just yet. The researchers
cautioned that the citrus smell provoked additional spending only if
stores were moderately busy. If they were too crowded or too empty, the
power of citrus disappeared. "Crowds have their own smells," Chebat
said in an e-mail. "Citrus can counterbalance the effects of such
smells to a certain extent. However, it has its limitations. As for the
least crowded environments, citrus may be too arousing."