A flirtatious female can use her skills to save money, scientists have found.

In the first academic study of its kind, researchers found women who flirt while negotiating the price of a car can get up to 20 per cent off the original price.

But there's a fine line between flirty and friendly - women who didn't get the perfect balance did themselves more harm than good, Medical Daily reported.

Researchers from the University of California and the London School of Economics conducted a series of experiments and scenarios to measure the pros and cons of female charm.


They found ladies who oozed the right combination of warmth, friendliness, playfulness, flattery and sexiness effectively knocked a fifth of the price off a car.

In one experiment, researchers asked about 100 men and women to imagine they were selling a car worth about $1500 to a potential female buyer.

Half of the participants received a written description of a woman who flirted, looking the buyer up and down, leaning forward to touch the seller's arm, flattering and winking while asking for the best price. The other half of those polled read an outline of a much more business-like transaction.

The flirty buyers were offered far better deals, but only if the seller was a man. They were a 20 per cent discount on average, compared to the more conservative woman, according to the paper published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology.

However, the flirty methods backfired when a woman over-stepped the mark or the seller was female.

Lead researcher Dr Laura Kray said women perceived as too friendly could also be seen as easy prey.

"They are seen as pushovers, as caring solely about satisfying over people's interest," Dr Kray told The Independent.

"We found that flirtation, on the other hand, conveys assertiveness and power from someone who is also concerned about satisfying their own interests."

"When perceived as flirtatiousness, female negotiators received better offers, but when perceived as friendliness, female negotiators negotiated worse deals," researchers wrote in the paper.

"This is consistent with the finding that warmth signals a lack of competitiveness making friendliness an economic liability in a negotiation."