Apples, Oranges, and Erasers: The Effect of Considering Similar versus Dissimilar Alternatives on Purchase Decisions
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Eller Coll Management, Mkt
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherOXFORD UNIV PRESS INC
CitationElizabeth M S Friedman, Jennifer Savary, Ravi Dhar; Apples, Oranges, and Erasers: The Effect of Considering Similar versus Dissimilar Alternatives on Purchase Decisions, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 45, Issue 4, 1 December 2018, Pages 725–742, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucy023
JournalJOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH
Rights© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractWhen deciding whether to buy an item, consumers sometimes think about other ways they could spend their money. Past research has explored how increasing the salience of outside options (i.e., alternatives not immediately available in the choice set) influences purchase decisions, but whether the type of alternative considered systematically affects buying behavior remains an open question. Ten studies find that relative to considering alternatives that are similar to the target, considering dissimilar alternatives leads to a greater decrease in purchase intent for the target. When consumers consider a dissimilar alternative, a competing nonfocal goal is activated, which decreases the perceived importance of the focal goal served by the target option. Consistent with this proposed mechanism, the relative importance of the focal goal versus the nonfocal goal mediates the effect of alternative type on purchase intent, and the effect attenuates when the focal goal is shielded from activation of competing goals. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.
VersionFinal accepted manuscript