Choice: Less Sells

Sheena Iyengar:

What we found was that of the people who stopped when there were 24 different flavors of jam out on display only 3% of them actually bought a jar of jam whereas of the people who stopped when there were 6 different flavors of jam 30% of them actually bought a jar of jam. So, if you do the math, people were actually 6 times more likely to buy a jar of jam if they had encountered 6 than if they encountered 24, so what we learned from this study was that while people were more attracted to having more options, that’s what sort of got them in the door or got them to think about jam, when it came to choosing time they were actually less likely to make a choice if they had more to choose from than if they had fewer to choose from.

Let’s connect this to high tech gadgets. Not Android versus iOS, but brand versus brand, say Samsung versus Apple. Minimally Minimal’s Andrew Kim laid out 134 models that Samsung sells in the U.S. as of November 16. One hundred thirty four. When you go to the Apple Store you get three choices: the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 3GS. Three. And then there’s just five notebooks, two all-in-ones, two desktops, and one tower.

This dearth of choice is probably one of the reasons why the brick-and-mortar Apple Stores have the highest retail sales per square foot.