'Do-it-alls versus specialists' studied

Feb 13, 2007

A U.S. consumer research scientist says people perceive products that emphasize a single feature as being more effective than those with multiple features.

"The current research breaks new ground by showing that a product that specializes on a single attribute is perceived to be superior on that attribute relative to an all-in-one option -- even when the description of the specialized and the all-in-one options on the focal attribute is exactly the same," said Alexander Chernev of Northwestern University.

Chernev pointed to the "zero-sum heuristic" in consumer attitudes to explain the phenomenon. In other words, consumers believe options are balanced against one another, such that advantages in one aspect are likely to be compensated by disadvantages in another area.

But interestingly, said Chernev, when the multifunction product was priced higher than the single-function product, it was no longer perceived to be inferior.

"The findings reported in this research also imply that the widely use strategy of pricing specialized and all-in-one options at parity might, in fact, be sub-optimal," he said.

The study appears in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

9 hours ago

A physics institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has received a $65 million donation—the largest single gift in the university's history.

Prophet's ancient seal provides insights from antiquity

16 hours ago

When a personal artifact of a religious leader is discovered nearly 1,700 years after its use, the object provides invaluable historical insights. Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, professor of Comparative Cultural Studies, ...

Billionaires' $10m gift to Yale stirs debate in China

20 hours ago

A Chinese billionaire couple's $10 million gift to Yale University sparked controversy among the country's Internet users Thursday, with some arguing that the money would be better spent on schools in China.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.