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Chronological cues and consumers’ preference for mere newness


Chronological cues are ubiquitous in retail settings, whether they come in the form of production, release, on-shelf, or purchase dates, etc. Yet, they remain relatively underexplored in the marketing literature. Could newness that arises from these chronological cues lead consumers to prefer options merely because they are newer, above and beyond any substantive benefits conferred or implied by that newness? We propose and find in a series of eight preregistered studies (n= 2,216) that consumers exhibit mere newness preference across many product domains—preferring chronologically newer options over older options with no substantive benefits to newness. We provide evidence that overgeneralization is one important driver of mere newness preference: Most consumers hold positive (negative) associations with chronological newness (oldness) in an implicit association test, and mere newness preference is reduced in domains in which the opposite association exists. Consequently, consumers are willing to pay a newness premium even for mere newness.

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