Utility Blindness: Why Do We Fall For the Deal?

Maggie Wenjing Liu, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada
Dilip Soman, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada
Utility blindness refers to the phenomena that under limited information processing, consumers would base their purchase decision solely on transaction utility (gains from the deal) rather than total utility. When the deal is attractive enough, people would buy the products even though the total utility is negative; on the other hand, an unattractive deal might decrease people’s purchase likelihood when the total utility is unaffected by the promotion. A series of studies provided evidence for the existence of utility blindness, with information processing focus as the underlying process. Transaction utility salience and cognitive load are identified as the moderating factors.
[ to cite ]:
Maggie Wenjing Liu and Dilip Soman (2007) ,"Utility Blindness: Why Do We Fall For the Deal?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 630.