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.

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