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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2012

Hooman Estelami and Carlo Francis V. Raymundo

The growing volume of consumer transactions in used products markets has given rise to strategic decisions made by sellers in the amount of information disclosed on…

Abstract

Purpose

The growing volume of consumer transactions in used products markets has given rise to strategic decisions made by sellers in the amount of information disclosed on usage‐based attributes – product attributes that quantify the degree by which a product has been used. This paper seeks to address this issue. Based on the phenomenon referred to as the dilution effect, it is proposed that sellers would have less desire to disclose usage‐based attribute information in product advertisements for older products. The effects of usage‐based attributes on asking prices of used products are also examined and profiled across time and contrasted across three countries: Britain, Canada, and the USA.

Design/methodology/approach

Used product advertisements were obtained for 1995 (USA) and 2010 (USA, Canada, and Britain). The ratio of ad content dedicated to usage‐based attributes was then computed and profiled across various conditions, and variations were tested using statistical methods.

Findings

The results indicate that a dilution‐based strategy, whereby usage‐based product information is less likely to be disclosed for older products, was evident in 1995 as it was in 2010. Furthermore, cross‐country variations were observed in the use of this strategy.

Research limitations/implications

The research presented can be expanded to cover other product categories where used products are exchanged and usage‐based attributes constitute a fundamental consumer consideration in such exchanges. The research can also be extended to cover a wider range of countries for analysis.

Originality/value

This paper extends traditional pricing theory to consider the effects of usage‐based attributes on used product prices and associated consumer communications. Given the growth in the volume of consumer transactions in used product markets, this line of inquiry is relevant not only from an academic perspective but can also inform public policy and potential regulatory measures.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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