15 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 21, 2008
We offer a framework about when and how specifications (e.g., megapixels of a camera and number of air bags in a massage chair) influence consumer preferences and report five studies that test the framework. Studies 1-3 show that even when consumers can directly experience the relevant products and the specifications carry little or no new information, their preference is still influenced by specifications, including specifications that are self-generated and by definition spurious and specifications that the respondents themselves deem uninformative. Studies 4 and 5 show that relative to choice, hedonic preference (liking) is more stable and less influenced by specifications.
Keywords: specifiication, consumer preference, decision
JEL Classification: D81, D11, D12, D91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Hsee, Christopher K. and Yang, Yang and Gu, Yangjie and Chen, Jie, Specification Seeking: How Product Specifications Influence Consumer Preference (October 21, 2008). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1290867