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Measuring consumer vulnerability to perceived product similarity problems and its consequences

Walsh, G. and Mitchell, V.W. and Miller, L. and Kilian, T. (2010) Measuring consumer vulnerability to perceived product similarity problems and its consequences. Journal of Marketing Management, 26 (1/2). pp. 146-162. ISSN 0267-257X

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Abstract

The brand clutter in many product categories and increasing numbers of similar products, some of which are deliberate look-alikes, make it more difficult for consumers to distinguish between brands, which can lead to more mistaken and misinformed purchases. Moreover, increasing brand similarity is likely to influence important consumer outcomes. To examine this phenomenon, a perceived product-similarity scale developed in Germany was administered to 220 consumers in the United Kingdom. Following the formulation of testable hypotheses and assessments of the scale's reliability and validity, the scale was used to measure perceived product similarity (PPS) across three different product categories, while examining the impact of PPS on brand loyalty and word of mouth. Structural equation modelling revealed that PPS significantly affects word of mouth but not brand loyalty. In addition, cluster analysis identified three meaningful and distinct PPS groups. Implications for marketing managers, consumer policy makers, and marketing research are discussed.