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The Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Quantities

Barbara E. Kahn and Brian Wansink
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 30, No. 4 (March 2004), pp. 519-533
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/380286
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/380286
Page Count: 15
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The Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Quantities
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Abstract

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.

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