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EMAC 2022 Annual

Not in control, will take the set: How sets impact purchase quantities

Published: May 24, 2022


Shweta Jha, Indian Institute of Management, Indore, India; Sanjeev Tripathi, Indian Institute of Management, Indore, India; Sudipta Mandal, Indian Institute of Management, Indore, India


Through five experiments, we demonstrate that set frames, i.e., offering products in sets, as opposed to individual units, impacts purchase quantity. When consumers are exposed to a set frame (vs. an individual unit) with the per-unit price information invariant across both conditions, they are likely to purchase more (vs. less) quantity. Purchase norm emerges as the underlying mechanism driving this focal effect. Examination of boundary conditions explores the role of self-control. Our empirical evidence further demonstrates that deviating from a set evokes pain. Lastly, we show that when there are external constraints on consumption, under set frames, consumers may ignore such constraints and justify ignoring them by making external attributions.