Outpacing Others: When Consumers Value Products Based on Relative Usage Frequency
When considering the purchase of a new product, will consumers be more likely to make the purchase if they think about using it every day or if they think about using it every week? From an economic perspective, using a durable product more frequently should increase its perceived value. However, we show that perceived usage frequency relative to other consumers can influence product interest more than absolute usage frequency. In five studies, we use scale labels, advertisements, and customer reviews to invoke either a high-frequency or low-frequency norm. We show that high-frequency cues create less product interest and lower willingness to pay than low-frequency cues because consumers infer that their relative usage frequency will be lower, reducing the product's perceived fit. This effect is moderated by the consumer's perceived similarity to the standard of comparison and the consumer's own characteristics.
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