Choice deferral in the context of adding an inferior alternative across different types of choice sets

  • Muhammad Adnan Ahmad Muhammad Adnan Ahmad

In the past, manipulations in the choice context were found to influence consumers’ choice significantly. In particular, researchers found that enlarging a single option choice set with a less attractive alternative rather than an equally attractive alternative tends to decrease consumers’ tendency to defer choice. However, the research was limited to a single option choice set whereas consumers usually have a lot more options to choose from.Recent research has examined the impact of adding an inferior alternative in three different types of choice sets (small, medium and large choice set) based on the number of alternatives (2, 5 and 10). Considering the fact that consumers tend to use non-compensatorydecision strategies as the number of alternatives increases in the choice set, I expected to find moderating effects of the types of choice sets. By using an online survey, the findings enhanceour understanding of the influence of adding an inferior alternative on the tendency for choice deferral. Initially, when only the small choice was considered, the results suggest that adding an inferior alternative in the choice set reduces the choice deferral significantly. These findings further extended by including medium and large choice set in the analysis to examine the moderating effects of the types of choice sets. However, there is less significant evidence about the moderating effects. Yet, the data display different patterns for the addition of an inferioralternative in small, medium and large choice set.Additionally analysis of the underlying psychological process through measuring selection difficulty, anticipated regret and decision time provides further insights. The results explain the different data patterns found by adding an inferior alternative in different types ofchoice sets. Finally, managerial implications have been discussed for the construction of product recommendation sets to promote purchase tendency.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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