Variety is abundant in many different areas. Over and over again, people have to choose from huge amounts of possibilities. However, do consumers actually value the high variety presented to them for all the choices they have to make? This thesis provides insights into the relationship between the amount of variety in a retailer’s assortment and how attractive the assortment is from a consumer’s point of view. Based on a rich quantity of experimental data it uncovers the overall effects of assortment variety as well as the underlying processes, i.e., the perceived benefits and costs of variety. The relationship is examined across different types of assortments and buying situations. The thesis demonstrates how the impact of the size of an assortment on its attractiveness depends on the complexity of the products involved. Further, in-depth analyses reveal the role of consumer perceptions of variety and the benefits of variety. Moreover, they show that although variety leads to multiple costs of variety, only a few of them make an assortment less appealing. In all types of assortments, a lack of overview is damaging. For complex products only, anticipated regret of making the wrong choice is critical, since this too lowers assortment evaluations.

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Dekimpe, M.G. Pieters, F.G.M. Wierenga, B.
A. Smidts (Ale) , G.H. van Bruggen (Gerrit)
Erasmus University Rotterdam , Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

de Vries-van Ketel, E. (2006, January 20). How Assortment Variety Affects Assortment Attractiveness: A Consumer Perspective (No. 72). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Retrieved from