Scarcity In Mobile UX: The Psychological Bias That Became The Norm


Whether This Is A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing, We Still Need To Figure Out

Scarcity is considered as the psychological bias which makes people place a much higher value on scarce factors. It’s true that we tend to love things which are more difficult to obtain.

Depending on various measurable resources, below are the three primary forms of scarcity, all of which should be pondered upon during the mobile app development phase:


Access-Limited Scarcity

This pertains to the limited access to various features such as spaces, groups and information. Studies prove that the censorship created by people place a much higher value on restricted features, compared to those which are not. This is because of the exclusivity made them feel quite special.

Time-Limited Scarcity

Time limits can create headlines that make people act before the time ends. When we don’t know the deadline, individuals are not sure that they can acquire the object, unless they function now.


Quantity-Limited Scarcity

Rare or limited supplies are perceived by many as threats to their freedom of choice. This triggers a reaction to defeat the threat, and then maintain their access to the resources.


Scarcity Has Always Been Controversial. But, It Shouldn’t Be

If addressed well, scarcity can optimize user flows in mobile apps, and affect business goals. It can reframe details, and alert users when it comes to urgencies. Because of this, a lot of businesses leverage on this fact. They use it in an unethical manner by inventing artificial memberships, and fake stocks.


Remember To Follow These Rules

How to make the most out of scarcity, and improve your app’s user experience:


  • Use usability testing to assess the effect of messages on trust and credibility
  • Use several animated elements in order to highlight urgency
  • Use scarcity to expedite conversions, and improve perceived value
  • Use time scarcity for product promotions which are time sensitive
  • Use quantity scarcity in order to make your audience aware of all the stock shortages
  • Use access scarcity to showcase all the advantages of restricted features
  • Use A/B testing to evaluate what scarcity message functions best for your customers


  • Don’t use scarcity without assessing it first with your users
  • Don’t utilize scarcity if your stocks are not really reliable
  • Don’t use scarcity if your messages are not entirely bug free
  • Don’t use fake digits in order to create artificially scarce products




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