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What is Overchoice?

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Overchoice is a situation in which a broad array of options or choices decreases satisfaction or quality of life. This can occur when people feel a sense of information overload at a set of choices. It can also occur out of a sense of buyer's regret after making one choice out of a large number of options.


A broad set of choices that make people less satisfied than a smaller set.

Example (1)

A car manufacturer that offers 200 colors may find that it makes customers less certain about their purchase, potentially resulting in lost sales. A customer who likes red, might choose red with confidence. If you offer 12 variations of red the customer may feel less certain and unhappy about their choice.

Example (2)

An operating system that asks users to make technical choices that are meaningless to most people. For example, asking what type of filesystem they would like on a new storage device.


Customers enjoy a variety of choice when differences are meaningful to them so that a strong preference easily emerges. Overchoice tends to occur when choices that have little meaning to customers. In this case, choice only serves to cloud decisions.
Overview: Overchoice
A situation in which a great variety of choices decreases satisfaction.
Related Concepts
Next: Choice Architecture

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