The role of purchase quantity in assortment choice: The quantity-matching heuristic

Alexander Chernev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Consumers often purchase multiple items from a product category on a single shopping trip. In doing so, they must frequently choose among items that are grouped in assortments, such as those offered by a particular store or brand. This article examines how the number of to-be-purchased items influences consumer choice among assortments. It is argued that when consumers are uncertain about their preferences, they are more likely to prefer an assortment for which the number of available options matches the desired purchase quantity. This prediction is based on the notion that a match between the size of an assortment and the number of to-be-purchased items enables consumers to simplify the selection process by eliminating the need to trade off the benefits and costs of individual choice alternatives - a strategy referred to as the "quantity-matching heuristic." The theoretical predictions are supported by data from five empirical studies that offer converging evidence for the role of purchase-quantity goals in assortment choice and identify moderating factors and boundary conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Assortment
  • Consumer choice
  • Heuristics
  • Purchase quantity
  • Retailing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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