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When Consumers Choose to Restrict Their Options: Anticipated Regret and Choice Set Size Preference

44 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2006  

Cenk Bülbül

NYU Stern School of Business

Tom Meyvis

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Date Written: September 1, 2006

Abstract

The desire to minimize regret is one of the primary drivers of consumer decisions. Yet, consumers display a persistent preference for larger assortments even though they often feel regretful and dissatisfied after choosing from such an abundance of options. We propose that consumers do aim to minimize regret in their assortment choices, but the way in which they do so depends on the type of regret they are anticipating. While the anticipation of hot regret (i.e., the feeling of kicking yourself for having made the wrong choice) leads consumers to restrict their choice options, the anticipation of cold regret (i.e., the painful longing for missed opportunities) encourages consumers to keep their options open. Across five experiments, we demonstrate how subtle changes in the decision environment can influence consumers' assortment preferences by changing the nature of the regret they are anticipating.

Suggested Citation

Bülbül, Cenk and Meyvis, Tom, When Consumers Choose to Restrict Their Options: Anticipated Regret and Choice Set Size Preference (September 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946198 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.946198

Cenk Bülbül (Contact Author)

NYU Stern School of Business

Tisch Hall
40 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Tom Meyvis

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )

Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States

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