The Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Qualities
judgment and decision making
variety seeking/product trial
Advertising and Promotion Management
Cognition and Perception
Sales and Merchandising
Increasing the actual variety of an assortment has been shown previously to increase the quantity consumed. We show, however, that consumption quantities are also influenced by the perceived variety of an assortment. In combination, six lab and field studies show that the structure of an assortment (e.g., organization and symmetry or entropy) moderates the effect of actual variety on perceived variety. We further show that it is perceived variety that in turn influences consumption quantities through anticipated consumption utility. Making salient other consumption rules, such as size of the assortment, moderates this effect. These findings are of immediate relevance to interdisciplinary researchers and to consumers and health practitioners who wish to better control food consumption.