Consumers Lose by More Product Choices

Ever since Dietrich Braess came up with the idea, people have been using Braess’ Paradox to clear up traffic in congested cities. It basically means that it is better to close a road that is jammed up instead of adding another road in that area, because it will only make travel times worse instead of helping. The article discusses how this same notion can be used when talking about consumer choices.

It explains how people are better off when they have less products to choose from instead of more. The article describes that when people have to choose a new computer, having many different options makes it difficult for them to research about each one. This in turns makes it harder to pick the best one. If they had less options, an increased number of people would be more fortunate in buying the better choice of computer.

The article goes on to state how Braess’ Paradox would be beneficial for product managers to give them an idea of when it would be good to initiate a new product into the market, or if it would be ideal to remove a certain product.

Within book Networks, Crowds, and Markets it states, “we all have an informal sense that upgrading a network has to be a good thing, and so it is surprising when it turns out to make things worse (233).” I always thought the opposite as well, that having more things to choose from would be beneficial. However, that is not always true and many times having to pick from a limited number of products is actually better.