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11 Feb

Shoppers pick popular brands-despite negative “consumer ratings”

New research into consumer choice conducted at UEL shows that negative information may have a much smaller effect than previously believed. Consumers ultimately still pick popular brands over lesser known names, even if the famous brands have negative reviews.

Leading the research, Dr Volker Thoma says,

 “It is not that people ignore negative information completely, as a higher percentage of famous products were chosen (over 80%) when the information was positive rather than negative. We also find that people take longer to make decisions when the ratings are negative for famous products. Yet in the majority of cases (65%). they ultimately select the famous brand even if it is rated unfavourably compared to an unknown brand.”

People were asked to repeatedly make a choice between two brands of a product category: a Canon camera and a camera from a lesser known brand. Importantly, the brands appeared with fictional star ratings indicating “consumer feedback” so as to render the famous product as either superior or inferior to the unknown brand. The results of the study showed that subjects’ choices were overwhelmingly based on brand recognition, even in spite of negative ratings.

According to the researchers at UEL, the results of the study point to a double effect of brand recognition. Recognising the brand leads to a fast involuntary judgment, which is usually positive, as much previous research has observed. When then considering additional information, recognition is still a strong cue that competes – and often wins over - other indicators such as previous customer ratings.

To read the report and findings, please visit: http://journal.sjdm.org/12/12703/jdm12703.html

Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with over 28,000 students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.

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