Why Focusing on the Similarity of Substitutes Leaves a Lot to Be Desired
Posted: 28 Jan 2017
Date Written: September 28, 2016
Consumers frequently choose substitutes for products that are out of stock, unavailable, too unhealthy, or too expensive. A series of studies shows that focusing on differences between the substitute and the unattained alternative reduces the consumer’s desire for the unattained alternative more than focusing on similarities between them. Whether consumers were dieting, listening to songs, or consuming snacks in the lab, focusing on differences reduced their desire for the unattained alternative — and subsequent consumption of this item after consuming the substitute — more than focusing on similarities. This suggests that consumers can reduce overconsumption by focusing on how the substitutes they consume differ from the alternatives they wish to avoid.
Keywords: substitution, similarity, post-substitution, consumption
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