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From quality to quantity: The role of common features in consumer preference


  • Su, Yin
  • Rao, Li-Lin
  • Li, Xingshan
  • Wang, Yong
  • Li, Shu


Although previous studies of consumer choice have found that common features of alternatives are cancelled and that choices are based only on unique features, a recent study has suggested that common features are canceled only when they are irrelevant in regard to all unique features. The present study hypothesized that the role of a common feature in consumer choice depends on its quantity as well as its quality. Experiments 1 and 2 tested this hypothesis and the equate-to-differentiate account by varying the quality and the quantity of common features. Experiment 3 examined the cognitive process that was proposed to serve as the mechanism for the common feature effect using eye-tracking methodology. This study provided further insight into conditions when the cancellation-and-focus model applies. Study results revealed an attribute-based tradeoff process underlying multiple-attribute decision making, and suggested an avenue through which marketers might influence consumer choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Su, Yin & Rao, Li-Lin & Li, Xingshan & Wang, Yong & Li, Shu, 2012. "From quality to quantity: The role of common features in consumer preference," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1043-1058.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:6:p:1043-1058 DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2012.07.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Menon, R.G. Vishnu & Sigurdsson, Valdimar & Larsen, Nils Magne & Fagerstrøm, Asle & Foxall, Gordon R., 2016. "Consumer attention to price in social commerce: Eye tracking patterns in retail clothing," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5008-5013.

    More about this item


    Common features; Cancellation-and-focus model; Equate-to-differentiate approach; Eye-tracking; Attribute-based strategies;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis


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