Does a Low Price Mean Good Value or Bad Quality?
By Brad Tuttle, Nov. 14, 2012
Time | Business & Money
While some shoppers pounce on rock-bottom prices without hesitation, others are tentative concerning “doorbusters” and eye-popping 80% off deals. After all, doesn’t a cheap price equate to cheap quality?
Well, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. Whether a shopper views a low price as an indication of shoddy quality or good value depends on many factors. As the season of ubiquitous “bargains” nears, it’s worth trying to understand why sometimes a low price causes shoppers to bite, and why other times consumers are scared off by an item because its price is just too-too cheap.
A forthcoming study in the Journal of Consumer Research tries to get to the heart of the issue, exploring what is described as “naïve theory.” Basically, because consumers can’t know everything about a product, we fill in the gaps with our own (naïve) theories to help us make decisions about whether the cheaply priced product is a terrific deal or a piece of junk.