Public Release: 

Coming soon in fall 2008: People do less research on products that have already launched

University of Chicago Press Journals

When a new product is released - say, an even slimmer laptop or the next generation iPhone - people either find out about it beforehand through an announcement or see it after it hits stores. Does when you hear about a product matter" A new study from the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research reveals that whether a new product is already available when people first find out about it can significantly alter how it is evaluated.

Susan Jung Grant (University of Colorado, Boulder) and Alice M. Tybout (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University) found that consumers will be more comprehensive in their evaluations when considering new products to be released in the future.

"The temporal frame effect occurs because the future is inherently more uncertain than the past," write Jung Grant and Tybout. "The plan to launch a new product may be altered or even aborted before it occurs; however, after the launch occurs, that event is fixed even though its success may be unknown."

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that, when the product launch was in the future, consumers paid attention to both the strength of the brand launching the new product (i.e., Apple) and to marketplace conditions. However, when the product had already been released, evaluations of the item were only based on perceptions of the company.

"The results of this experiment offer further evidence that the future frame leads to more comprehensive use of available information when forming evaluations than does the past frame," the researchers write. "These findings imply that market researchers studying consumers' evaluations should be attentive to temporal frame both when conducting research and generalizing their results."


Susan Jung Grant and Alice M. Tybout, "The Effect of Temporal Frame on Information Considered in New Product Evaluation: The Role of Uncertainty." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2008.

About the Journal of Consumer Research: Founded in 1974, the Journal of Consumer Research publishes scholarly research that describes and explains consumer behavior. Empirical, theoretical, and methodological articles spanning fields such as psychology, marketing, sociology, economics, and anthropology are featured in this interdisciplinary journal. The primary thrust of JCR is academic, rather than managerial, with topics ranging from micro-level processes (e.g., brand choice) to more macro-level issues (e.g., the development of materialistic values).

About the University of Chicago Press: Founded in 1891, the University of Chicago Press is the largest American university press. The Journals Division publishes periodicals and serials in a wide range of disciplines, including several journals that were the first scholarly publications in their respective fields. Online since 1995, the Journals Division has also been a pioneer in electronic publishing, delivering original, peer-reviewed research from international scholars to a worldwide audience.

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