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The Impact of a Two-Step Choice Process on Trade-Off Decisions

Jing Lei, Ying Zhang, Vicki G Morwitz, Amna Kirmani and Kristin Diehl

Journal of Consumer Research, 2021, vol. 48, issue 3, 415-427

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: trade-off decisions; two-step choice process; choice extremeness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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