Towards a Conceptual Model of Consumer Confusion

ABSTRACT - As consumers are provided with ever-increasing amounts of information from more products sold through more channels and promoted in more ways, the notion of marketplace confusion is becoming increasingly important. From the extant literature, we propose and define three types of confusion resulting from brand similarity, information load, and misleading or ambiguous information. This latter type can be regarded as an 'altered knowledge state’ in which a revision of understanding occurs. We argue that confusion should be conceptualized as a state variable and that existing confusion measures have focused solely on the behavioral and cognitive outcomes of confusion, ignoring the role of affect which is also a part of confusion. The paper is the first to discuss the consequences of confusion and elaborate on consumer confusion-reducing strategies. It concludes with some research implications of the new conceptualization.


Vincent-Wayne Mitchell, Gianfranco Walsh, and Mo Yamin (2005) ,"Towards a Conceptual Model of Consumer Confusion", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 143-150.


Vincent-Wayne Mitchell, City University of London
Gianfranco Walsh, University of Strathclyde
Mo Yamin, University of Manchester


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32 | 2005

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