The Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Quantities

Posted: 31 Dec 2003

See all articles by Barbara E. Kahn

Barbara E. Kahn

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department; University of Miami

Brian Wansink

Retired - Cornell University


Increasing the actual variety of an assortment has been shown previously to increase the quantity consumed. We show, however, that consumption quantities are also influenced by the perceived variety of an assortment. In combination, six lab and field studies show that the structure of an assortment (e.g., organization and entropy) moderates the effect of actual variety on perceived variety. We further show that it is perceived variety which in turn influences consumption quantities through anticipated consumption utility. Making salient other consumption rules, such as size of the assortment, moderates this effect. These findings are of immediate relevance to interdisciplinary researchers and to consumers and health practitioners who wish to better control food consumption.

Keywords: Assortment, variety, perceptions, consumption

JEL Classification: C91, D11, D12, M31

Suggested Citation

Kahn, Barbara E. and Kahn, Barbara E. and Wansink, Brian, The Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Quantities. Available at SSRN:

Barbara E. Kahn (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

University of Miami ( email )

United States

Brian Wansink

Retired - Cornell University ( email )

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