Change Versus Comfort: How Consumers Mis-Predict Their Openness to Innovation

Stacy Wood , University of South Carolina, USA
Consumers hold a common intuition about their preferences for familiar products in times of personal change or upheaval. This “comfort food” lay theory holds that familiar goods will be attractive as a respite from dynamic environmental factors and reflects consumers’ prediction that familiar favorites ameliorate the cognitive/emotional load associated with change. Contrary to consumer prediction, data from five studies demonstrate that consumers are more, not less, likely to choose novel options during times of upheaval and, further, that (1) manipulations that increase consumers’ perception of life change decrease choice of familiar favorites, and (2) the effect disappears with high involvement.
[ to cite ]:
Stacy Wood (2010) ,"Change Versus Comfort: How Consumers Mis-Predict Their Openness to Innovation", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 179-182 .