Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When the first choice isn't available, why don't consumers choose the obvious second choice?

Date:
July 16, 2011
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Something strange happens when a consumer learns her favorite product choice isn't available: Instead of picking the runner-up, he or she will reject it for another alternative, according to a new study.

Something strange happens when a consumer learns her favorite product choice isn't available: Instead of picking the runner-up, he or she will reject it for another alternative, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Related Articles


"Close second choices are an important consideration when a consumer makes a purchase decision and then learns that their selection is unavailable (out-of-stock, discontinued, just sold)," write authors Wendy Attaya Boland (American University), Merrie Brucks, and Jesper Nielsen (both University of Arizona). "In many cases, consumers cannot (or prefer not to) wait until their selected item becomes available; therefore they are likely to reconsider the options that are available now."

Even though the obvious choice would be a product that came in as a close second, the authors discovered that up to 60 percent of consumers are likely to reject the runner-up option and select a lower rated (and previously rejected) item. "We found that making a choice between two close options places additional emphasis on the features that differentiate them, making these attributes seem more important to the consumer in a subsequent decision," the authors write.

By way of illustration the authors describe a customer who is shopping for a new pen. After considering his options, the consumer decides he wants an extra fine, felt-point pen and finds two pens that possess that attribute, one with blue ink and one with black. "Although ink was not a major consideration in the original choice, the consumer must choose between them and decides on the blue ink pen," the authors explain. "However, at the checkout line the consumer learns that the blue ink, extra fine, felt-point pen is out-of-stock. And, instead of selecting the black ink, felt-point pen, the consumer instead selects a ballpoint, blue ink pen, giving up the attribute (extra fine, felt-point) that was originally most important to his decision." In that situation, blueness replaced "extra-fine, felt point" as the most important attribute. The authors call this "the carryover effect."

In several experiments the authors found that the carryover effect is strongest when consumers narrow the field by dismissing all but two options.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wendy Attaya Boland, Merrie Brucks and Jesper H. Nielsen. The Attribute Carryover Effect: What the “Runner-Up” Option Tells Us about Consumer Choice Processes. Journal of Consumer Research, February 2012 (published online May 26, 2011) [link]

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "When the first choice isn't available, why don't consumers choose the obvious second choice?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714150941.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2011, July 16). When the first choice isn't available, why don't consumers choose the obvious second choice?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714150941.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "When the first choice isn't available, why don't consumers choose the obvious second choice?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714150941.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) As falling oil prices boost Americans' spending power, the U.S. government is also gaining flexibility from savings on oil. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins