Trade-offs between attributes are common when making product choices. Prior research suggests that consumers tend to avoid the extremes and opt for the middle options when they make a trade-off decision between two key product attributes (e.g., tastiness and healthiness of food items) in one step. In this research, we examine how consumers make such trade-off decisions in a two-step choice process in which consumers first choose between product categories competing on two key attributes and then make a final choice within the chosen category. In three studies, we show that when holding the actual choice options unchanged, consumers are more likely to make a more extreme final choice, prioritizing a single attribute rather than compromising when they follow a two-step choice process instead of a one-step process.
Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 48, Issue 3, October 2021, Pages 415–427
About the researcher
My research is mainly in the area of consumer decision making, especially how consumers make trade-off decisions in various contexts, such as food consumption and financial decisions.