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Dayyan Smith

Decoy effects

Decision Making1 min read

"[...] humans rarely choose things in absolute terms. We don't have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth. Rather, we focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another, and estimate value accordingly."

Dan Ariely

The decoy effect occurs when a consumer's preference between to options is altered when a third option is added. Three different types of decoy effects can be seen in the diagram below: asymmetric dominance effect, attration-effect and compromise effect. When the decoy product is placed in the marked areas, the target product becomes more attractive.

Deocy effects

The example for all thee effects will be that of a mobile phone plan where we use volume of high-speed data as a proxy for quality.

TargetCompetitor
Price30€20€
# GB106
The target product we want to sell and its competitor
Asymmetric dominance

The asymmetric dominance effect applies when the decoy has a higher price and worse quality than the target.

TargetCompetitorDecoy
Price30€20€35€
# GB1069
Attraction effect

The attraction effect applies when the decoy has a slightly lower price than the target and the quality is between competitor and target.

TargetCompetitorDecoy
Price30€20€28€
# GB1067
Compromise effect

The compromise effect applies when the decoy has a higher price than the target but its quality is not higher than that of the target — and not lower than the competitor's.

TargetCompetitorDecoy
Price30€20€50€
# GB10612

Acknowledgement: Based on lecture notes from the winter term 2017/18 lecture Digital Communities at TU Berlin.

© 2019 – 2020 Dayyan Smith.