The Effect of Interpersonal and Interproduct Comparison on Product Choice

Katherine A. Burson, University of Michigan
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Consumers rely on comparisons to determine the best product for themselves. Previous research has shown that consumers infer their personal valuation of alternatives from the portfolio of market offerings and some information about their own relative tastes (Prelec, Wernerfelt, and Zettelmeyer 1997). Participants who were asked to indicate in which segment of quality their preferred product lay (their Aideal point@) and then asked to give the percentile rank of each product in an array were likely to choose the product closest to their ideal point. Unfortunately, this reliance on interproduct rather than absolute information about products in a distribution contributes to errorful consumption decisions. For instance, Prelec et al. (1997) demonstrated that, given a distribution of ponchos, consumers who believed they are shorter than average purchased the shortest poncho despite the fact that the longest poncho was a better fit.
[ to cite ]:
Katherine A. Burson (2004) ,"The Effect of Interpersonal and Interproduct Comparison on Product Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31, eds. Barbara E. Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 41-42.