The Pervasive Effect of Aesthetics on Choice: Evidence From a Field Study

Do people think logically and carefully before buying an expensive item, or are more superficial forces such as product appearance at work? To investigate this question, six months of car sales were predicted using objective measures of a design’s typicality and complexity. The data revealed that cars conforming closely to a morph of designs of all cars outsell cars conforming less closely to the morph, but only when the design is visually complex. These design factors explain 42% of the sales variance and are independent of retail price, brand associations, technological specifications, and advertising. Subjective measures controlling for brand recognition further confirm the considerable impact of design factors on real purchases involving large financial commitments.


Jan R. Landwehr, Aparna A. Labroo, and Andreas Herrmann (2009) ,"The Pervasive Effect of Aesthetics on Choice: Evidence From a Field Study", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 751-752.


Jan R. Landwehr, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Aparna A. Labroo, University of Chicago, USA
Andreas Herrmann, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009

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