This photo provided by Studio 24b shows a table by Portland, Maine-based furniture designer Matt Hutton. Image Credit: AP

New York: Ever wondered why many people prefer handmade products over machine made ones, especially when gifting one to a dear one? It’s because handmade product exude warmth and a sense of love, says a new study.

Machine-made products are often of very good quality and many are relatively cheaper than their handmade counterparts but they miss the key ingredient of “love”, according to the study, published in the Journal of Marketing.

“Handmade products might be perceived to contain and transmit the ‘artisan’s essence’ in the form of his or her love for the product in a way that machine-made products cannot,” wrote the researchers.

“The customer then perceives the handmade product itself to be literally imbued with love,” they added.

Study participants were instructed to imagine that they were in the market for a gift for someone with whom they had a close relationship.

They were given a list of items including ceramic mugs, soap, leather goods, and stationery, which were described as machine-made.

They were then shown images of the handmade equivalents, some labelled “made with love” or accompanied by heart-shaped graphics and other visual “love” cues.

Participants clearly favoured handmade items when they were making a purchase for a loved one, and many were willing to pay up to 17 percent more for handmade items in general.

Consumers seemed to believe that the creator’s love for the handmade product had somehow transferred to the product itself, and that the product now “contained love”.

This was found to be the case even when the customer did not personally know the creator or even who the creator was.

“Emphasising the handmade aspect of a product can make it significantly more attractive, especially when consumers want to convey love to someone.

“This approach might be particularly promising during Christmas or Mother’s Day, for example,” the authors concluded.