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Consumer confusion proneness: insights from a developing economy

Fandy Tjiptono (Faculty of Economics, Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Denni Arli (Department of Marketing, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)
Tania Bucic (School of Marketing, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 26 August 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine young consumers’ general tendency to become confused and its effect on the word of mouth, trust, and consumer satisfaction in Indonesia – the largest smartphone market in Southeast Asia.


A combination of convenience and purposive sampling were used to select the sample of young adults in Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY), Indonesia.


The results confirm that consumer confusion proneness comprises three dimensions; similarity confusion, overload confusion, and ambiguity confusion among young consumers in the smartphone market. Furthermore, each dimension has different consumer behavioural implications.

Practical implications

In the context of Indonesia and when targeting young consumers, companies should focus on defining unique product features instead of simply imitating competitor offerings, because similarity confusion negatively affects consumer trust. Moreover, managers should consistently emphasize unique and value-adding features to overload the product. This will lead to increased positive word of mouth, especially with the growing trend of social media usage among young consumers in Indonesia.


This paper represents a replication of Walsh and Mitchell's (2010) study. It is unique in that it is set in the context of the Indonesian smartphone market – the largest smartphone market in Southeast Asia, and concentrates specifically on the young consumer market. It provides valuable insights into the impact of consumer confusion proneness on the word of mouth, trust, and consumer across this age group and in this market.



Tjiptono, F., Arli, D. and Bucic, T. (2014), "Consumer confusion proneness: insights from a developing economy", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 722-734.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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