Study examines consumers' post-purchase remorse

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Related tags: Economics

Consumers are more likely to suffer remorse about buying a product if they are faced with a choice between products of similar perceived quality, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Ab Litt and Zakary Tormala of Stanford University wrote: “From routine cereal-aisle shopping to expensive big-ticket purchases, consumers are often free to choose among many similarly attractive options. In these contexts, it can be difficult to resolve one's preferences to arrive at a purchasing decision."

In a series of experiments, the authors found that subjects were particularly positive about difficult choices in the short term, but they were more likely to respond to even a small amount of negative information about it.

The authors wrote: "We show that the process is more like inflating a 'positivity bubble,' where there's an appearance of strong positive attitudes, but which masks a heightened vulnerability to ultimately collapsing.”

Related topics: R&D

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