Proliferation of consumer products
Other Names: Excessive consumer choice
Nature: Consumers are increasingly overwhelmed by the range of choices, especially in industrialized countries. Increasingly people are reaching a point of over-choice, namely the point at which the advantage of diversity and individualization are cancelled by the complexity of the consumer's decision-making process. Individuals can then become paralyzed by the choices, leading to a form of apathy which spills over into other areas of life.
Incidence: In the USA in 1990 consumers can select from among 25,000 items on supermarket shelves (including 200 kinds of cereal and 11,092 magazines), access 53 television channels, subscribe to 11,092 periodicals, and be solicited by many thousands of pubic and special interest groups.
Claim: Marketing has cultivated a misunderstanding about the nature of freedom of choice. This is not equivalent to multiplying the opportunities for choice. Infinite choice reduces people to passivity.
Problem Type: F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update 27.12.2000 – 00:00 CET