BIASED CONSUMERS’ HYPOTHESES ON PRICE-QUALITY-RELATIONSHIPS: INFLUENCES OF NUMERICAL ANCHORS pp. 197-211
Authors: Gunter Molz, Bergische Univ. of Wuppertal, Michael Gielnik, Justus-Liebig-Univ. Gieben, and Ekkehard Stephan, Univ. of Cologne, Germany
Abstract: Product prices are often considered to be an indicator of quality. Low prices suggest low quality, high prices premium quality. In some situations prices in terms of indexlinked currency remain constant but the numbers on price label change. This may result from currency changeovers or rapid inflation processes. In this chapter we reanalyze data from experiments conducted during the Euro introduction in Germany. All of a sudden the numbers on price tags were divided by about 2, i.e. premium products might have been considered as “cheaper” in Euro prices (low numbered) than before in German Mark prices (high numbered). In terms of the psychology of judgment such a result can be attributed to an effect caused by a numerical anchor (on the price tag). We tested if there actually was a corresponding decline in perceived product quality. Results suggested that the currency changeover had an impact on perceived quality which might be explained by numerical anchoring. The impact of the effect was dependent on product category. In case of products which are selected in less rational and low involvement decision processes (beer) this effect was stronger than in case of more rational and high involvement purchases (family car). Besides numerical anchoring, additional explanations for these results are discussed.