Inferred Informational Cascades and Their Effects on Choice: the Relative Stocking Level Effect

Donald Lehmann, Columbia University, USA
Jeffrey Parker, Columbia University, USA
We present evidence that consumers use the relative stocking level of available alternatives to infer the popularity of those alternatives and then use the inferred popularity as an input in making choices. We suggest that even though consumers do not directly observe the behavior(s) of their predecessors, they use this information to direct their own actions; a process we call an inferred informational cascade. The relative-stocking-level effect is found to be robust in the presence of brand and quality information and also occurs in contexts which might elicit extremeness aversion.
[ to cite ]:
Donald Lehmann and Jeffrey Parker (2009) ,"Inferred Informational Cascades and Their Effects on Choice: the Relative Stocking Level Effect", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 646-646.