Journal of Marketing Research, 2008
43 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2009 Last revised: 19 Apr 2009
Date Written: December 15, 2008
Recent research challenges the idea that greater choice is always desirable, showing that larger assortments can increase choice deferral and switching. The present research demonstrates that even when consumers do make a purchase, the same item may generate lower satisfaction when chosen from a larger as opposed to a smaller assortment. The authors explain this effect in terms of an expectation-disconfirmation mechanism. When assortments are small, consumers have low expectations about their ability to match their preferences. As assortment sizes increase, so do consumers' expectations of the degree of preference match they can achieve. Subsequently, consumers may experience greater negative expectation-disconfirmation or less positive expectation-disconfirmation when a chosen item came from a larger as opposed to a smaller set. Either less positive or more negative disconfirmation leads to lower choice satisfaction. Results from three studies support this expectation-based process and establish this mechanism in addition alternative explanations such as choice overload.
Keywords: Assortment Size, Expectation Disconfirmation, Satisfaction, Choice Overload, Information Overload
JEL Classification: M31, L81, D84, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Diehl, Kristin and Lamberton, Cait Poynor, Great Expectations?! Assortment Size, Expectations and Satisfaction (December 15, 2008). Journal of Marketing Research, 2008; Marshall School of Business Working Paper No. MKT 24-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1353643