Speaker: Ignazio Ziano, Grenoble école de Management GEM
Hundreds of studies have shown that consumers tend to see themselves in the best possible light, yet we present evidence that consumers have a surprisingly glum perspective on receiving a product’s claimed effects. In 12 studies (N = 5,855; including 9 pre-registered), we found that consumers believe that product efficacy is higher for others than it is for themselves. For example, consumers believe that consuming products like an adult coloring book (to inspire creativity), or a sports drink (to satisfy thirst), or medicine (to relieve pain), or an online class (to learn something new) will have a greater effect on others than on themselves. We show that this bias holds across many kinds of products and judgment-targets, and inversely correlates with factors such as: product-familiarity, product-usefulness, and relationship closeness with judgment-targets. We evidence that this bias stems from the fact that consumers believe they are more unique than others, and less malleable; and we show that this bias in perceived product efficacy alters the choices that consumers make for others. We conclude by discussing implications for research on gift-giving, advice-giving, usership, and for interpersonal social-, health-, and financial-choices.