Benefits Leader Reversion: How a Once-Preferred Product Recaptures Its Standing

Carlson, Kurt A; Meloy, Margaret G; Lieb, Daniel
December 2009
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Dec2009, Vol. 46 Issue 6, p788
Academic Journal
In general, consumers establish a preference for one product early in a decision process. When this preference does not include consideration of product prices, the currently preferred product is called the “benefits leader.” This article proposes that consumers who switch to a cheaper product after learning prices retain a trace of preference for the benefits leader. Retention of the benefits leader is evidenced by the distortion of new information to favor the benefits leader and by greater-than-normative reversion to it. The authors also find that reversion does not occur when the initially leading product (that consumers switch from) is based on a cost savings. This suggests that though consumers retain cognitive elements associated with benefits leaders, they do not retain similar elements associated with leaders based on cost savings.


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