Meaningless Differentiation and Purchase Incidence

Consumers often turn down a good purchase opportunity just because they were unable to take advantage of an even better opportunity in the past. This decision-avoidance tendency, termed inaction inertia, suppresses the likelihood that customers will avail themselves of a price discount that is good in an absolute sense but not as good as the one foregone. In this paper, we show that even a trivial differentiation between the current and the foregone products may be sufficient to mitigate inaction inertia caused by unfavorable price discrepancy and restore purchase likelihood. The results from a series of studies show that an addition of a trivial attribute to the current product reduces regret, suppresses inaction inertia, and restores the likelihood of purchase when there is a large unfavorable difference between the current discounted price of a product and its foregone lower price. The results provide a rationale for how trivial attributes can be used in conjunction with price changes to control inaction inertia and maintain purchase likelihood.


Piyush Kumar (2006) ,"Meaningless Differentiation and Purchase Incidence", in AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Margaret Craig Lees, Teresa Davis, and Gary Gregory, Sydney, Australia : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 162-163.


Piyush Kumar, University of Georgia, USA


AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2006

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


H11. Not for Me: Identity Needs and Consumer Interest in Different Types of Co-creation

Lagnajita Chatterjee, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
David Gal, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Read More


J11. The Myth of Return – Success or Failure? Consumer Identity and Belonging in the Case of Repatriate Migrants

Sonja N. Kralj, University of Augsburg, Germany
Michael Paul, University of Augsburg, Germany

Read More


Q13. Liquid Consumption From Another Perspective: The Case of “Investomers”

Carina Hoffmann, Heinrich-Heine-University
Lasse Meißner, Heinrich-Heine-University
Peter Kenning, Heinrich-Heine-University

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.