Why do we buy gadgets with more features than we can possibly use?
To show others how awesome we are!
Previous research has shown that consumers frequently choose products with too many features that they later find difficult to use. In this research, the authors show that this seemingly suboptimal behavior may actually confer benefits when factoring in the social context of consumption. The results demonstrate that choosing products with more capabilities (i.e., feature-rich products) provides social utility beyond inferences of wealth, signaling consumers’ technological skills and openness to new experiences and that consumers’ beliefs about the social utility of feature-rich products are predictive of their choices of such products. Furthermore, the authors examine when impression management concerns increase consumers’ likelihood of choosing feature-rich products. They find that public choices in which participants display their preferences to others encourage feature-seeking behavior but that the anticipation of having to use a product in front of others provides an incentive to avoid additional features.
Source: “The Social Utility of Feature Creep” from Journal of Marketing Research
And in case that picture got you nostalgic, let me help you scratch that itch:
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