Buying beauty for the long run: (Mis)predicting liking of product aesthetics

Eva C. Buechel, Claudia Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


How well can consumers predict future liking of different product designs? The present research identifies a systematic error in consumers' preferences and predicted liking for product aesthetics. Consumers predict a faster decrease in liking for high- (vs. low-) arousal-potential product designs (i.e., intense colors or intense patterns) over repeat exposure because high-arousal-potential designs are expected to become increasingly irritating. These predictions are misguided, however, falsely leading consumers to avoid products with high-arousal-potential designs when making a decision for extended product use. Seven studies test this conceptualization in the laboratory and in the field. The first five studies examine predicted liking for product designs of varying arousal potential levels over repeat exposure and how these intuitions influence product design preferences for long- (versus short-) term use. The last two studies then investigate the accuracy of these intuitions by directly comparing predicted versus experienced liking for product designs of varying arousal potential levels over repeat exposure. The studies reveal a systematic error in prediction whereby consumers overestimate satiation from high-arousal-potential product designs. Managerial and theoretical applications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-297
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Aesthetics
  • Affective forecasting
  • Color
  • Pattern
  • Product design
  • Visual satiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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