‘Newphoria’ – the psychology behind new gadget bliss

Most people will be familiar with the short term elation brought on by acquiring a new toy.  For some the term is longer than for others but the feeling is certainly the same.  Once all the necessary steps are out of the way like creating new contacts and downloading missing apps, the proud new owner of the (insert shiny, brand-spanking-new gadget here) will proceed to make any (literally any), excuse to play with, hold or just look at their new device.

‘Newphoria’ as it has come to be known is a fairly new phenomenon coined by online Antivirus support software makers Norton.  In a nutshell, this is the feeling of excitement, joy and borderline obsession that one gets when they have just purchased a new gadget.  I was aware that the phenomenon existed and that I had fallen prey to it on more than one upgrade but I have never been in a position to witness it as third party.  Last week my housemate received her new Samsung Galaxy smartphone.  Even though this was merely a replacement for an older version, the elation was that of a child receiving their first bike on Christmas morning.  For the last week I have had conversations about voice clarity, battery life, intuitive search and weight.  And I have a feeling that until she has taken every switch and swipe through every possible function at least three times, I will never hear the end of it.  Sadly, all this has conjured a degree of envy in me that can only be extinguished with a new toy of my own.

Annual upgrades are little more than an excuse to keep up with the Jones’s in most cases, yet they are so very effective when it comes to hooking in lifelong customers.  According to Hickoryrecordonline the scientific term for ‘Newphoria’ is ‘Neophilia’, it is ‘the addiction to new things’ and it works the same way as any addiction – on a want rather than a need basis.  It is a ‘novelty-seeking personality trait’ that gives us a rush when we unwrap a new device and keeps us hooked until it becomes old, or oldish.  It’s the same lack of logic that causes people to stand in queues for hours or camp in front of stores ahead of  a big launch.  Is it dangerous?  Perhaps not.  What it is, is an enormous opportunity for manufacturers to capitalise on our fatal flaws.  I am currently researching the best contract deals on the iPhone5.




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