Latest and greatest technology: Consumers place too much emphasis on features, not enough on functionality

Sep 24, 2012 by Neil Schoenherr
Latest and greatest technology: Consumers place too much emphasis on features, not enough on functionality

(Phys.org)—More than 2 million consumers got to gloat Friday about their shrewdness in procuring an iPhone 5, with its larger screen and 200 additional features through its new operating system.

But once the novelty wears off, will they still enjoy their purchase?

It depends on why they bought it, says new research from a marketing professor at Olin at Washington University in St. Louis.
Across five studies and four product domains, Joseph K. Goodman, PhD, assistant professor of marketing, found that consumers fail to estimate their feature usage rate before purchasing multifunctional products, which negatively affects product satisfaction.

The study, "Having Versus Consuming: Failure to Estimate Usage Frequency Makes Consumers Prefer Multi-feature Products," is forthcoming in the .

"We propose that consumers focus on having features instead of elaborating on how often a feature will be used, and this can lead to a decrease in product satisfaction," Goodman says.

He and his co-author, Caglar Irmak, PhD, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, show that this shift in preferences is due to a change in elaboration from using to having features.

The pair identifies three key moderators to this effect: need for cognition, feature trivialness and .

"Consumers focus too much on just having the latest features, and don't spend time elaborating on how often they will use the features," Goodman says. "When they do actually elaborating on usage, then they tend to buy lower featured products and they tend to be more satisfied with their purchase, regardless of whether they buy a high or low feature product."

What should consumers do?

"Our findings can't tell consumers what to buy, but they do suggest that should at least stop and consider how often they are going to use each new additional feature before they make their decision," Goodman says. "This little act of consideration can lead to greater satisfaction down the road."

Explore further: 3 Qs: Economist makes the case for new quasi-experiments as a way of studying environmental issues

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cause marketing lowers charitable donations

Mar 31, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cause marketing -- when firms share proceeds from the sale of products with a social cause -- reduces charitable giving by consumers, says a researcher at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. ...

Bargain or waste of money? Consumers don't always agree

Oct 23, 2006

Once consumers buy an item, it is often difficult for them to get rid of it, even if it makes rational sense to do so. This is even the case if those purchases might include shoes that cause blisters or clothes that no longer ...

Early product launches: How will consumers respond?

Apr 19, 2011

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research explains why consumers often indicate they are willing to pay more for a product that is not yet available—but are reluctant to pay that price when the product is ultima ...

Recommended for you

Which foods may cost you more due to Calif. drought

Apr 17, 2014

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores, and to pay higher prices ...

Performance measures for CEOs vary greatly, study finds

Apr 16, 2014

As companies file their annual proxy statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this spring, a new study by Rice University and Cornell University shows just how S&P 500 companies have ...

Investment helps keep transport up to speed

Apr 16, 2014

Greater investment in education and training for employees will be required to meet the future needs of the transport and logistics industry, according to recent reports by Monash University researchers.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Sep 24, 2012
Modern electronic devices are multifunctional by nature. But I agree, the 'features' are so numerous that not many people will use them all, no matter what the device.
It is probably better advice to advocate comparing the upgrades from their current device and evaluating them against the additional costs.

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.