Conditions Under Which "Trivial" Attributes Become Important in Consumer Judgment

Na Xiao, Queen's University, Ireland, UK
Peter Dacin, Queen's University, Canada
Laurence Ashworth, Queen's University, Canada
We argue that consumers pay more attention and consider trivial attributes more important when they can help consumers achieve some additional goal (i.e. a goal not directly related to the function of the product) that they are anxious about. Because this effect is hypothesized to stem from consumers desire to reduce anxiety surrounding a particular goal, we further predict that consumers high in self-confidence (i.e. individuals confident in their ability to achieve their goals) will be less affected by the presence of the trivial attribute. In two experiments, we find that trivial attributes are more important to anxious consumers and that this effect is moderated by consumer self-confidence.
[ to cite ]:
Na Xiao, Peter Dacin, and Laurence Ashworth (2010) ,"Conditions Under Which "Trivial" Attributes Become Important in Consumer Judgment", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 934-935 .