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Novice or expert: How do consumers increase their knowledge about products?

Date:
November 14, 2012
Source:
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
Summary:
Consumers seek out novel consumption experiences to increase their knowledge about products but do so selectively based on their level of expertise, according to a new study.

Consumers seek out novel consumption experiences to increase their knowledge about products but do so selectively based on their level of expertise, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"It has been said that experience is the best teacher. Perhaps the lessons learned through trying new experiences can help explain the reason consumers seek out novel experiences that do not necessarily offer the greatest satisfaction?" write authors Joshua J. Clarkson (University of Cincinnati), Chris Janiszewski (University of Florida), and Melissa D. Cinelli (University of Mississippi).

Consumers regularly try new foods and beverages -- even new leisure activities -- and while these novel consumption experiences are often satisfying, rarely are they as enjoyable as our favorites. In fact, we often choose novel experiences instead of a preferred option. For instance, we might choose a new flavor of ice cream instead of our favorite flavor. Why do we choose these novel experiences?

In a series of experiments, the authors found that consumers only seek out novel experiences that enhance their current level of expertise. For example, when consumers were presented with choices of different music samples, novices preferred to sample a few new songs from multiple genres while experts preferred to sample multiple new songs solely from their preferred genre.

Novices seek out novel consumption experiences that broaden their existing knowledge (atypical and diverse products such as a unique salad dressing or a type of beer they've never tasted before), while experts seek to deepen their existing knowledge (typical but different products such as a more robust Italian dressing or a beer implied to be novel within a specific category of beers).

"Consumers desire the knowledge acquired through novel experiences. However, this desire for consumption knowledge is selective for novices and experts and depends on whether the experience broadens or deepens their knowledge. Companies can emphasize these aspects of novel products to aid consumers in identifying the experiences they desire -- experiences they will choose even if it means forgoing their preferred experience," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joshua J. Clarkson, Chris Janiszewski, and Melissa D. Cinelli. The Desire for Consumption Knowledge. Journal of Consumer Research, April 2013 [link]

Cite This Page:

Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Novice or expert: How do consumers increase their knowledge about products?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114113314.htm>.
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. (2012, November 14). Novice or expert: How do consumers increase their knowledge about products?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114113314.htm
Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.. "Novice or expert: How do consumers increase their knowledge about products?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114113314.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

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