Identifying Picky Shoppers: Who They Are and How to Spot Them

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6 Scopus citations


Although pickiness fundamentally concerns one’s preferences, there is currently no definition of this construct in the consumer psychology literature. This paper presents a conceptualization of shopper “pickiness”—an overly narrow latitude of acceptance around an idiosyncratic ideal point. Pickiness is revealed in two ways: pickiness by acceptance (PBA) (i.e., choosing to accept few options) and pickiness by rejection (PBR) (i.e., choosing to reject many options). This work introduces the Picky Shopper Scale to assess relative degrees of pickiness among individuals, show how pickiness is related to other individual-difference variables, and articulate how pickiness differs from maximizing. Picky shoppers consider both horizontal (taste-based) and vertical (quality-based) product attributes as important in product evaluation, while maximizers primarily prioritize vertical product attributes. A field test reveals that those who score higher on the Picky Shopper Scale (but not on a Maximizer scale) more frequently reject a free gift that comes with a subjectively undesirable horizontal attribute than those who score lower. Downstream implications of pickiness are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)706-725
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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