Stating Preference for the Ethereal but Choosing the Concrete: How the Tangibility of Attributes Affects Attribute Weighting in Value Elicitation and Choice

JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY, Vol. 14, No. 1&2, pp. 132–140, 2004

Posted: 17 Aug 2011

See all articles by Dan Horsky

Dan Horsky

Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester

Paul Nelson

Simon School, University of Rochester

Steven S. Posavac

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

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Date Written: 2004

Abstract

Marketers routinely make use of stated consumer preferences and the relative attribute-importance weights implied by these preferences when making decisions on issues such as advertising messages and product design. Using this information as a basis for managerial decision making is risky, though, if stated preferences diverge from actual choices. Practical evidence that such a divergence is of concern is provided by the current trend toward the use of stated choice-based conjoint analysis. This article examines differences between the attribute-importance weights consumers use during value elicitation and the attribute weights revealed to influence actual choice. The results of an empirical analysis of automobile stated preference and purchase decisions, and an experiment and subsequent qualitative analysis of wine choice, converge to suggest that consumers’ attribute weightings differ in value elicitation versus choice in a reliable manner. Specifically, we demonstrate a tangibility effect—the tendency for tangible attributes to be weighted relatively more heavily than intangible attributes in choice as compared to in value elicitation. The process underlying the tangibility effect is discussed, as are the implications for researchers and managers.

Suggested Citation

Horsky, Dan and Nelson, Paul E. and Posavac, Steven S., Stating Preference for the Ethereal but Choosing the Concrete: How the Tangibility of Attributes Affects Attribute Weighting in Value Elicitation and Choice (2004). JOURNAL OF CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY, Vol. 14, No. 1&2, pp. 132–140, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1910887

Dan Horsky

Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester ( email )

Carol Simon Hall 3-210
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
585-275-4483 (Phone)

Paul E. Nelson

Simon School, University of Rochester ( email )

Carol Simon Hall 3-204
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
585-275-2550 (Phone)

Steven S. Posavac (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-0456 (Phone)

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