Too many options may result in no decision

March 13, 2009 at 11:14 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., March 13 (UPI) -- Conventional wisdom may say more options are better and shoppers prefer lots of choices but U.S. researchers say too many options may result in no sale.

The study, published in the journal Psychology & Marketing, finds that when people cannot easily determine which option is preferable, they are more likely to leave a store empty-handed.

Researcher Beth Veinott of Indiana University and colleagues performed a simulation of the choice overload effect in which people sometimes prefer to choose from among fewer options rather than more options.

When options are very similar or the options are difficult to compare, people are likely to leave a store without making a choice, the researchers said. If there isn't enough time to acquire the necessary information for making a choice, then the individual may leave without choosing anything.

"With the rise of the Internet, the number of choices that people have is only increasing," the study authors said in a statement. "Our research suggests that there may be a downside to this increase of options affecting people's ability to decide in a particular situation."

Trending Stories