September 27, 2012
--- The iPhone 5 attracted
more than two million buyers last Friday, but how many of its dazzling new
features will they actually use? ---
There’s a lot to love
about the iPhone 5, including a larger screen and a new operating system with
some 200 additional features. But many who stood in line and plunked down big
bucks for Apple's cutting-edge gadget may be more interested in having the
features than using them.
Once the novelty wears
off, will those consumers still enjoy their purchase?
It depends on why they
bought the phone, says Joseph K. Goodman, an assistant professor of marketing at
Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. In several studies,
Goodman found that consumers fail to accurately estimate their feature usage
rate before buying products with multiple functions, which dampens enthusiasm
for the product.
Consumers focus on having
features rather than assessing how often they will use them, which can lead to
a drop in satisfaction with the purchase, Goodman says.
“Consumers focus too much
on just having the latest features, and don’t spend time elaborating on how
often they will use the features,” Goodman says. “When they do actually
elaborate on usage, then they tend to buy lower featured products and they tend
to be more satisfied with their purchase, regardless of whether they buy a high
or low feature product.”
The study’s findings don’t tell people what to
buy, but how to make purchase decisions, Goodman explains. “Consumers should at
least stop and consider how often they are going to use each new additional
feature before they make their decision,” he notes.
The study, “Having Versus
Consuming: Failure to Estimate Usage Frequency Makes Consumers Prefer
Multi-feature Products,” is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Research.