Shelf-based scarcity and consumers’ product choice: The role of scarcity disconfirmation

Seung Yun Lee1, Sunho Jung2
1College of Business, Konkuk University, Republic of Korea
2School of Management, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea
Cite this article:  Lee, S., & Jung, S. (2019). Shelf-based scarcity and consumers’ product choice: The role of scarcity disconfirmation. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47, e7957.

Volume 47 Issue 5 | e7957 | Published: May 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7957

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Past research findings indicate that the implication of scarcity when marketing products often improves consumers’ product evaluation. We examined whether the effect of scarcity would be moderated by disconfirmation of scarcity. We conducted a field experiment in a university bookstore at a large university in Korea. Participants were 120 undergraduate students. Disconfirmation of scarcity was manipulated by visibility of additional quantities of the product with the scarcity claim. The results of the field experiment show that ambiguous disconfirmation leads to dilution of the implication of scarcity and therefore the value of the product, whereas unambiguous disconfirmation leads to reversal of the positive effect of shelf-based scarcity on product evaluation. Our results indicate that marketers should use scarcity only when disconfirmation of scarcity is absent.

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