Complexity Effects on Consumer Choice Consistency

Benedict Dellaert, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands
Bas Donkers, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Bernard Conlon, TNS Australia, Sydney, Australia
Arthur Van Soest, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
This study investigates the impact of task and context complexity on consumer choice consistency. Consumer choice consistency is measured in consumers repeated choices in the exact same choice set at two occurrences in a conjoint choice experiment. We find that across choice sets composed of different numbers of alternatives, different numbers of attributes, and different attribute levels, consistency decreases with task complexity, and increases with greater differences in utility between alternatives, and greater variance within alternatives. The results suggest that consumers compensate for greater complexity, at least in part by a greater effort in making their choices.
[ to cite ]:
Benedict Dellaert, Bas Donkers, Bernard Conlon, and Arthur Van Soest (2007) ,"Complexity Effects on Consumer Choice Consistency", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 747-748.