How to Make a 29% Increase Look Bigger: The Unit Effect in Option Comparisons
AbstractQuantitative information can appear in different units (e.g., 7-year warranty = 84-month warranty). This article demonstrates that attribute differences appear larger on scales with a higher number of units; expressing quality information on such an expanded scale makes consumers switch to a higher-quality option. Testifying to its practical importance, expressing the energy content of snacks in kilojoules rather than kilocalories increases the choice of a healthy snack. The unit effect occurs because consumers focus on the number rather than the type of units in which information is expressed (numerosity effect). Therefore, reminding consumers of alternative units in which information can be expressed eliminates the unit effect. Finally, the unit effect moderates relative thinking: consumers are more sensitive to relative attribute differences when the attribute is expressed on expanded scales. The relation with anchoring and implications for temporal discounting and loyalty programs are discussed.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.
Volume (Year): 38 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 308 - 322
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/
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- C. Lembregts & M. Pandelaere, 2012. "Are All Units Created Equal?: The Effect of Default Units on Product Evaluations," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/812, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
- Eyal Ert & Ido Erev, 2013. "On the descriptive value of loss aversion in decisions under risk: Six clarifications," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(3), pages 214-235, May.
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