My Heart Longs For More: the Role of Emotions in Assortment Size Preferences

Aylin Aydinli, London Business School, UK
Yangjie Gu, London Business School, UK
Michel T. Pham, Columbia University, USA
It is well accepted that consumers generally prefer larger product assortments over smaller assortments. This paper suggests that this intrinsic preference for larger assortments depends on the decision process that consumers are likely to follow. Results from four studies show that consumers’ relative preference for larger assortments is more pronounced when the decision is likely to be based on feelings. Specifically, the relative preference of larger product assortments is stronger (a) when the product category is hedonic rather than utilitarian, (b) when consumers have experiential motives rather than instrumental motives; and (c) when consumers have higher trust in their feelings rather than lower trust in their feelings. This phenomenon transpires even on implicit measures of preference for assortment size. It appears to be due to consumers adopting a more expansive exploratory mindset in decisions guided by feelings.
[ to cite ]:
Aylin Aydinli, Yangjie Gu, and Michel T. Pham (2012) ,"My Heart Longs For More: the Role of Emotions in Assortment Size Preferences", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 40, eds. Zeynep Gürhan-Canli, Cele Otnes, and Rui (Juliet) Zhu, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 731-732.