A-Z Popular Blog Marketing Search »
Marketing Guides
Key Concepts
Related Topics

6 Examples of the Paradox Of Choice

 , updated on
The paradox of choice is the idea that too many choices can make people less happy. The following are illustrative examples.


Modern consumers are faced with far greater product variety, variations, options and customizations than at any other time in history. A consumer with a simple goal such as buying a healthy meal may face thousands of choices at the local supermarket that are each associated with health benefits and risks. This requires a careful consumer to think through many options and tradeoffs. As such, the buying process consumes energy, time and can cause stress.

Buyer's Remorse

Buyer's remorse is a sense of regret that can come after making a purchase. A large number of choices makes this more likely, as a consumer may wonder if they picked the right brand, model or option. For example, a customer who likes green purchases a green pair of shoes. They immediately get a sense of buyer's remorse because the brand offers 5 different shades of green and they wonder if they picked the right one for them.


Business purchases are typically far more complex than consumer purchases. For example, a business that wants to semi-automate sales processes has a large number of options and approaches available to them. Vendors tend to sell products with catchy technical phrases that lack real content and information. As such, the process of selecting business suppliers, products and services can be resource intensive. This can cause a business to rely on simple heuristics such as buying the most popular product or purchasing everything from a large vendor they know.

Opportunity Costs

The paradox of choice can apply to complex decisions beyond purchases. A young person considering what after-school club to join may have more difficultly choosing when there are hundreds of options open to them. This can be modeled in terms of opportunity costs. For example, the opportunity cost of joining the drama club is that you won't have time to join the soccer club.

Marketing Communications

Marketing communications are often designed to simplify things for consumers who are facing complex choices. This can be attractive to customers who wish to make decisions quickly without buyer's remorse. For example, farmers who certify their food as organic are sending a simple message to consumers that food was prepared using a particular set of practices. Consumers may adopt the heuristic that organic food is healthy that enables them to make quick decisions they perceive as reasonable.

Choice Architecture

Firms may structure choices to avoid paradox of choice situations where too many offerings drive customers to a competitor or leave them with buyer's remorse. For example, a fashion brand that reduces their line of men's jeans from nine styles of jeans down to just "slim fit" and "comfort fit."


The paradox of choice is by no means a universally accepted idea. Many firms will say their business model depends on offering variety and many customers will say they enjoy a large number of choices. This is similar to the less is more and more is different design philosophies whereby some people value simplicity while others enjoy complexity.
Overview: Paradox Of Choice
The idea that too many choices can make people less happy.
Coined By
Barry Schwartz in the book The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less (2004)
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about marketing.
Above The Line
Absolute Advantage
Active Customers
Active Users
Added Value
Adoption Lifecycle
Advertising Strategy
Algorithmic Pricing
Alliance Marketing
Attribution Marketing
Augmented Reality
Backward Invention
Barriers To Entry
Below The Line
Bliss Point
Brand Awareness
Brand Engagement
Brand Identity
Brand Loyalty
Brand Recall
Bricks And Clicks
Business Operations
Business Principles
Business Strategy
Buyer Persona
Call To Action
Channel Conflict
Channel Management
Channel Strategy
Channel Structure
Churn Rate
Competitive Threat
Complex Sales
Conversion Rate
Corporate Governance
Cost Leadership
Cost Per Lead
Customer Advocacy
Customer Analysis
Customer Dissatisfaction
Customer Experience
Customer Interactions
Customer Issues
Customer Journey
Customer Loyalty
Customer Marketing
Customer Motivation
Customer Relationships
Customer Service
Customer Value
Demand Generation
Digital Channels
Digital Marketing
Direct Marketing
Drip Marketing
Figure Of Merit
Flat Pricing
Gross Margin
In-Store Marketing
Lifestyle Brand
Market Analysis
Market Environment
Market Intelligence
Market Power
Market Price
Market Research
Market Research Analysis
Marketing Automation
Marketing Benchmarks
Marketing Campaign
Marketing Channel
Marketing Communications
Marketing Costs
Marketing Economics
Marketing Experimentation
Marketing Metrics
Marketing Mix
Marketing Plan
Marketing Principles
Marketing Strategy
Marketing Strategy
Marketing Technology
Marketing Theory
Media Planning
Penetration Pricing
Personal Selling
Premium Pricing
Price Discrimination
Price Economics
Price Leadership
Price Points
Price Sensitivity
Price Skimming
Price War
Pricing Objectives
Pricing Power
Product Development
Product Differentiation
Product Identity
Product Launch
Product Management
Product Quality
Promotion Strategy
Public Relations
Pull Strategy
Relationship Marketing
Sales Development
Sales Strategy
Scarcity Marketing
Soft Selling
Switching Barriers
Target Market
Test Marketing
Through The Line
Time To Market
Traditional Marketing
Variable Pricing
Visual Merchandising
Wallet Share
Word Of Mouth
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.


A list of key marketing strategies.

Undifferentiated Marketing

The definition of undifferentiated marketing with examples.

Channel Management

The definition of channel management with examples.

Branding Guide

An overview of 20+ common branding techniques.

Promotional Objectives

How to measure marketing promotion.

Marketing Efficiency

An overview of marketing efficiency with calculation examples.

Business To Business Marketing

An overview of business-to-business marketing with examples.

Value In Marketing

The definition of value with marketing examples.

Value vs Price

The difference between value and price with examples.


The common types of price.

Decision Making

A list of decision making techniques.

Abilene Paradox

The observation that groups may make collective decisions that are viewed as wrong or irrational by each individual member of the group.

Decision Making Process

A complete guide to the decision making process.

Rational Thought

The difference between rational thought and logic.


The common types of uncertainty in decision making and strategy.

Information Costs

A definition of information costs with examples.

Reverse Brainstorming

A definition of reverse brainstorming with examples.

Decision Fatigue

The definition of decision fatigue with examples.

Devils Advocate

Taking a position that you do not necessarily agree with for the purposes of argument.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map