The Benefits Leader Reversion Effect: How a Once Preferred Product Can Recapture Its Standing

Kurt Carlson, Duke University, USA
Margaret Meloy, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Daniel Lieb, Duke University, USA
When consumers evaluate product attributes serially, they generally establish a tentative preference for one of the products. When this preference does not include consideration of product prices, the preferred product is called the benefits leader. This article shows that even though a product with fewer benefits can become preferred because it is sufficiently cheaper, consumers do not entirely abandon their benefits leader. In two studies, we find that a majority of consumers re-adopt the benefits leader as their preferred product when shown additional information after price. This reversion to the benefits leader occurs even when the new information disfavors the benefits leader. We speculate that new (non-price) information directs consumers to think about benefits more than costs, thereby helping the benefits leader to re-emerge as the preferred product.
[ to cite ]:
Kurt Carlson, Margaret Meloy, and Daniel Lieb (2007) ,"The Benefits Leader Reversion Effect: How a Once Preferred Product Can Recapture Its Standing", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 497.