What Is the Bandwagon Effect?

What Is the Bandwagon Impact?

The bandwagon impact is a psychological phenomenon during which individuals do one thing primarily as a result of different persons are doing it, no matter their very own beliefs, which they might ignore or override. This tendency of individuals to align their beliefs and behaviors with these of a gaggle can be known as a herd mentality.

The time period “bandwagon impact” originates from politics however has vast implications generally seen in shopper conduct and funding actions. This phenomenon will be seen throughout bull markets and the expansion of asset bubbles.

Key Takeaways

  • The bandwagon impact is when individuals begin doing one thing as a result of all people else appears to be doing it.
  • The bandwagon impact will be attributed to psychological, social, and financial elements. 
  • The bandwagon impact originates in politics, the place individuals vote for the candidate who seems to have probably the most assist as a result of they need to be a part of the bulk.
  • The bandwagon impact also can impression shopper spending and investing choices.

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Why the Bandwagon Impact Occurs

The bandwagon impact arises primarily from psychological and sociological elements. Persons are biologically programed to be social and prefer to be a part of a gaggle. Behaving the identical method a gaggle does can result in belonging and acceptance. Folks additionally prefer to be on the successful workforce and to sign their social id. To take action, they undertake the conduct of the group round them, and that conduct begins to look fascinating or regular because of proximity and repetition.


The human mind makes use of “shortcuts,” often called heuristics, to make choices extra effectively. Considered one of these shortcuts is what different persons are doing. If sufficient persons are following a development or making the identical choice, your mind will assume that it is the appropriate choice to make.

Economically, this will make sense, because it lets you economize on the prices of gathering data by counting on the data and opinions of others. For instance, in case you are having a child, you might spend hours researching completely different child strollers and looking for the best choice. Or, if everybody you understand has the identical child stroller mannequin, you would possibly resolve that is the very best one as a result of everybody else makes use of it. So long as it’s a good stroller, you’d have saved your self hours of time misplaced to analysis that you simply did not want.

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Alternatively, following what the group does with out contemplating its full implications could cause issues. This was seen within the lead-up to the housing disaster in 2007. Monetary establishments all joined the subprime mortgage bandwagon, creating an unregulated and unstable housing bubble. Buyers and patrons all believed the market would proceed to be secure as a result of everybody else additionally believed it will stay secure. This proved to be a false perception and led to the Nice Recession of 2007-2009.

Illusory Fact Impact

Repetition also can have an effect on what individuals consider to be true. Folks are likely to consider claims are extra true if they’ve been uncovered to them extra. This is the reason commercials, propaganda, and false information all work: they expose individuals to the identical thought time and again. This is named the illusory reality impact.

This may grow to be a part of the bandwagon impact as properly. Chances are you’ll assist one sports activities workforce, but when everybody you understand continually talks about how significantly better a unique sports activities workforce is, it begins to look like a real assertion. The repetition alone could also be sufficient to persuade you to comply with the gang and begin supporting the brand new workforce.

Influence of the Bandwagon Impact In Totally different Areas

The bandwagon impact will be seen in numerous areas of on a regular basis life. It may be seen in on a regular basis social conduct, comparable to smoking as a result of your pals smoke or exercising as a result of your pals train. It is usually usually at work within the fields of politics, shopper conduct, and finance.


In politics, the bandwagon impact would possibly trigger residents to vote for the one that seems to have extra fashionable assist as a result of they need to belong to the bulk. The time period “bandwagon” refers to a wagon that carries a band by means of a parade. Throughout the nineteenth century, an entertainer named Dan Rice traveled the nation campaigning for President Zachary Taylor. Rice’s bandwagon was the centerpiece of his marketing campaign occasions, and he inspired these within the crowd to “soar on the bandwagon” and assist Taylor.

By the early twentieth century, bandwagons had been commonplace in political campaigns, and “soar on the bandwagon” had grow to be a derogatory time period used to explain the social phenomenon of desirous to be a part of the bulk, even when it means going towards one’s rules or beliefs.

Client Conduct

Shoppers usually economize on the price of gathering data and evaluating the standard of shopper items by counting on the opinions and buying conduct of different customers. To some extent, it is a useful and helpful tendency; if different individuals’s preferences are comparable, their consumption choices are rational, and so they have correct details about the relative high quality of obtainable shopper items, then it makes excellent sense to comply with their lead and successfully outsource the price of gathering data to another person. 

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Nonetheless, this sort of bandwagon impact can create an issue in that it offers each shopper an incentive to free-ride on the data and preferences of different customers. To the extent that it results in a scenario the place data concerning shopper merchandise is likely to be underproduced, or produced solely or principally by entrepreneurs, it may be criticized. For instance, individuals would possibly purchase a brand new digital merchandise due to its reputation, no matter whether or not they want it, can afford it, and even actually need it.

Bandwagon results in consumption can be associated to conspicuous consumption, the place customers purchase costly merchandise as a sign of financial standing. 

Funding and Finance

The bandwagon impact has been recognized in behavioral economics as properly. Investing and monetary markets will be particularly susceptible to bandwagon results as a result of not solely will the identical sort of social, psychological, and information-economizing elements happen, however moreover the costs of property are likely to rise as extra individuals soar on the bandwagon. This may create a optimistic suggestions loop of rising costs and elevated demand for an asset, associated to George Soros’ idea of reflexivity.

For instance, in the course of the dotcom bubble of the late Nineties, dozens of tech startups emerged that had no viable enterprise plans, no services or products able to convey to market, and in lots of circumstances, nothing greater than a reputation (normally one thing tech-sounding with “.com” or “.web” as a suffix). Regardless of missing in imaginative and prescient and scope, these firms attracted hundreds of thousands of funding {dollars} largely as a result of bandwagon impact.

Methods to Keep away from the Bandwagon Impact

Minimizing the bandwagon impact could be a tough course of. Groupthink is tough to flee, as are the biases that people are socially susceptible to having. There are three steps you possibly can take to reduce the bandwagon impact.

  1. Suppose critically. Take into account how your place, wants, or opinions differ from these round you. Reasonably than following what different persons are doing, you possibly can take another or contrarian place when you discover your choices.
  2. Search for dependable sources of knowledge. Discover ones which have been vetted on a number of ranges, are free from or overtly acknowledge their biases, and don’t make a revenue primarily based in your decisions.
  3. Make choices extra slowly. After you collect data, give your self a break from outdoors inputs whereas making a decision. Do not let somebody stress you into an instantaneous selection.
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Chances are you’ll finally select to not comply with the gang; in some circumstances, you would possibly uncover that the favored selection can be one for you. Both method, you may really feel extra assured when you’ve taken the time to analysis and make your choice as a result of it is what you need to do, not simply what everybody else is doing.

Who First Recognized the Bandwagon Impact?

The time period “bandwagon” stems from the 1848 U.S. presidential election. Throughout Zachary Taylor’s profitable marketing campaign, a well-liked efficiency clown invited Taylor to hitch his circus bandwagon. Taylor obtained a major quantity of renown, and folks began claiming that his political opponents may additionally need to “soar on the bandwagon.”

Is the Bandwagon Impact Optimistic Or Unfavorable?

The bandwagon impact itself is a impartial phenomenon. Whether or not following the conduct of others is optimistic or unfavorable relies on the conduct being adopted. For instance, if everybody you understand is saving for retirement and discusses it regularly, you might be extra prone to save for retirement since you are copying the conduct of these round you. In that case, the bandwagon impact could be optimistic for you. But when everybody you understand lives a lavish life-style, and also you do the identical regardless that you possibly can’t afford it, the bandwagon impact would have unfavorable penalties for you.

Why Is the Bandwagon Impact Vital to Buyers?

The bandwagon impact can lead buyers to comply with the gang, which can end in asset bubbles or crashes, relying on if the gang is shopping for or promoting. In both case, individuals could make investments for concern of lacking out (FOMO) quite than making particular person evaluations of investments and doing due diligence. Shopping for or promoting just because everybody else appears to be doing it may result in unhealthy outcomes.

The Backside Line

The bandwagon impact is a phenomenon during which individuals begin doing one thing as a result of all people else appears to be doing it. It may be attributable to psychological, social, and financial elements. Folks could need to be a part of a gaggle that appears prone to win, be satisfied one thing is appropriate as a result of they’ve heard it repeated so many occasions, or just be influenced by their associates or kin.

The bandwagon impact was first recognized in politics. Folks usually vote for the candidate who seems to have probably the most assist as a result of they need to be a part of the bulk, no matter their very own political views. It could actually additionally impression shopper spending and investing choices.