Personalized consumer information – Ingenious solution or dead end?ConPolicy presents results of a behavioral science experiment at an SVRV event

Consumer information is a central instrument in consumer policy and consumer law. However, this instrument has been criticized for years. Studies show that consumers are often overwhelmed by too much information rather than that it would help them in their everyday consumption.

Against this background, the German Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs (SVRV) organized a conference today on the question to what extent personalized consumer information can increase the degree to which consumers are informed as well as information success.

At the event, ConPolicy's managing director, Prof. Dr. Christian Thorun, presented the results of a behavioral science experiment commissioned by the SVRV. The experiment was conducted by ConPolicy together with Decision Context. The central results are that the personalization of consumer information in the experimental setting had no significant effects on purchasing behavior, objective informativeness and subjective informativeness, as well as satisfaction. Also, against the background of these results, Prof. Dr. Thorun concluded that the personalization of consumer information would not be a suitable approach to improve the instrument of consumer information. Instead, he pleaded

  • to use the instrument of consumer information more carefully, and to consider regulatory or economic instruments instead;
  • to ensure better decision-making architectures by drawing on behavioral science findings;
  • work on digital assistance systems and,
  • consistently pursue ‘deceptive designs’ and ‘dark patterns’.

The ConPolicy presentation and the ConPolicy study results, along with other contributions to this topic, can be downloaded from the SVRV website.