Drag effect – What is it, definition and concept | 2022

The carryover effect is a cognitive bias that occurs when something becomes fashionable. This means that there will be people who follow this fashion simply because others do, not because of their own conviction.

In other words, the drag effect is a cognitive bias that leads us to make decisions simply because other people in our environment make those same decisions.

The human brain is capable of deceiving and confusing us very easily. Sometimes we can make decisions that we consider our own, but that are influenced by what we see others doing.

Added to this, since the appearance of the Internet and social networks, it is easier for us to make decisions based on what our friends, family, co-workers, etc. do.

In this article we explain what the drag effect is, a phenomenon that almost certainly has influenced you at some time even if you were not aware of it.

For example, if a large part of the population decided to play paddle tennis, there would be another part of the population that would start playing this sport just because others do. It seems like something very basic in which few people see themselves reflected, but that we have all experienced at some point.

Don’t just think about sports after that example, think about the clothes you wear, the brand of your mobile phone, the music you listen to or what plans you make when you meet your friends. If you stop to reflect on why you do certain things, you will come to the conclusion that in many of them you let yourself be carried away by what others do.

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The carryover effect on sales

In the commercial world this effect is very interesting. When a certain product is made fashionable on the market, sales skyrocket above expectations.

In fact, despite the fact that it depends a lot on the sector, when the pull effect is achieved among consumers, the company manages to sell more than its commercial network is capable of.

This is due to the fact that this work of conviction on the part of the commercials is no longer necessary, but rather they become, in a certain way, informants of the product.

When this situation is reached, the demand does not have to be created, it is already among the consumers. This is why the Hawkers sunglasses company was so successful.

This company revolutionized the marketing sector by campaigning for the first time with influencers. The strategy led them to achieve the most absolute success, putting their glasses on the main media figures in the world.

Risks of the carryover effect

The carryover effect has certain risks, but it does not always have to be negative. The most important of all this is that the consumer is influenced to make positive decisions for him.

Among the main risks that we found, it stands out that the influence is exerted to do things that are harmful to the individual, such as smoking, for example.

Another relevant risk is not being able to develop the necessary self-control so as not to consume indiscriminately. In an increasingly globalized economy with access to all kinds of products, constantly following trends can impoverish the consumer.

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Finally, it should also be mentioned that the critical spirit can be lost if a person constantly suffers from the drag effect. It is always good to question everything that is done and why it is done to avoid making mistakes that destabilize people.


A very common example with which you will surely understand this concept better is with restaurants. In cities there are times when a certain restaurant becomes fashionable.

After people share it on social networks and make comments about it, more and more people want to try it, causing its demand to multiply.

That restaurant probably doesn’t do the best food in the whole city, however, it will be more in demand than the others just because of the drag effect.

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