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Abstract

People have competing desires. Hence, people not only chase others` choices due to the need for assimilation but also avoid others` choices due to the need for differentiation. This study attempts to uncover under which conditions consumers assimilate with or differentiate from others` choices. Specifically, the study extends previous research about the effect of others` choices by focusing on the effect of a choice situation (purchase vs. usage) based on the conformity theory and the uniqueness theory. It was found that purchase (vs. usage) situation makes people more conform to others in case of identity-irrelevant product (e.g., USB memory stick). Also, the effect of the choice situation was moderated by the perceived identity-relevance level in case of identity-relevant product (e.g., jeans).

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