Great Expectations?! Assortment Size, Expectations, and Purchase Likelihood

Recently, researchers have demonstrated the detrimental effects of too much choice, suggesting that decreased purchase likelihood and decision confidence are caused by choice overload and heightened decision complexity from large assortments (e.g. Iyengar and Lepper 2000, Chernev 2003). We propose an additional mechanism that may decrease purchase likelihood from larger assortments. We suggest that exposure to larger assortments raises consumers’ expectations regarding the best fitting option they will be able to find. Higher expectations give rise to negative disconfirmation and may thus reduce purchases from larger assortments. Findings from two scenario studies lend initial support to the proposed mechanism.


Kristin Diehl, Cait Poynor, and Peter Boatwright (2005) ,"Great Expectations?! Assortment Size, Expectations, and Purchase Likelihood", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Karin M. Ekstrom and Helene Brembeck, Goteborg, Sweden : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 605-605.


Kristin Diehl, University of South Carolina
Cait Poynor, University of South Carolina
Peter Boatwright, Carnegie Mellon University


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2005

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