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EMAC 2022 Annual

“Enough is Enough”: An understanding of the effort breakpoint in consumers’ decision-making process in hyperchoice settings

Published: May 24, 2022


Nathalie Dumont, University of Namur, NADI Research Institute, Center for Research on Consumption and Leisure (CeRCLe); Alain Decrop, University of Namur, NaDi Research Institute, Center of Research on Consumption and Leisure (CeRCLe)


Choosing from an extremely large assortment is never easy for consumers. An important stream of research has shown the detrimental consequences of choice overload. However, few scholars have focused on the evolution of consumers' lived experience during the decision process. In an inductive approach aimed at filling this gap, in-depth interviews and verbal protocols were analyzed and interpreted according to the Grounded Theory methodology. The results show that consumers can be highly involved in the decision task but that the effort they are willing to put into the process is not unlimited. We highlight an effort breakpoint that individuals meet when “enough is enough”. Once this limit is reached, consumers appear to change their behavior and to get the decision over with. We identify five strategies adopted by such tired and frustrated consumers in order to find a way out. The contributions of understanding the antecedents and consequences of the effort breakpoint are discussed.