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The iPhone 5 Dilemma: Features You Don’t Use

The new iPhone was released last Friday and reviews have been nothing short of glowing, but for the most part those same reviews have pointed out one particularly curious fact: this is just an incremental upgrade, and nothing really special. Sure, Apple has perfected its iPhone product, but it’s done so with features that, in most cases, people simply don’t use.

And after all the hype, that lack of usage leads immediately to dissatisfaction with the product.

So says new research from a marketing professor at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Across five studies and four product domains, Joseph K. Goodman, PhD, assistant professor of marketing, discovered that consumers don’t actually take into account whether they’ll use those wonderful new features before the purchase.

iPhone 5 Features Not Enough if you Don't Use Them

To be published in the upcoming edition of the Journal of Marketing Research, Goodman and colleague Caglar Irmak, PhD, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, show that the shift in preferences — from having a feature to using a feature — is due to a difference in elaboration.

“We propose that consumers focus on having features instead of elaborating on how often a feature will be used, and this can lead to a decrease in product satisfaction,” Goodman says.

The pair identifies three key moderators to this effect: need for cognition, feature trivialness, and materialism.

“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 elaborating 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.”

What should consumers do?

“Our findings can’t tell consumers what to buy, but they do suggest that consumers should at least stop and consider how often they are going to use each new additional feature before they make their decision,” Goodman says. “This little act of consideration can lead to greater satisfaction down the road.”

Source: Washington University in St. Louis
Image Source: Apple

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