Theses on consumer information of the Competence Center Consumer Research NRW

On 26 June 2012 the Competence Center Consumer Research NRW organized a workshop in Düsseldorf on “Panacea consumer information? Do consumers need more or other information?”

Today the workshop documentation and theses were published. These theses summarize the essence of the presentations and discussion. The theses are summarized here (without further explanations that are part of the full version):

1) Theses on the context

1.1 Consumer information are essential for the effectiveness of markets.
1.2 However, consumers often feel misinformed.
1.3 This misinformation has both individual and societal and economic consequences.
1.4 Furthermore, often consumers lack competences in consumption.
1.5 These facts raise a range of question for consumer policy.

2) Insights into consumer information from consumer and marketing research

2.1 Companies react to the saturation of markets with more and more products and communication instruments.
2.2 Internet and social media change the information patterns of consumers.
2.3 Behavioural economics shows that consumers do not always behave rationally.
2.4 The consumer public benefits from new digital information and communication media.
2.5 Companies and NGOs react to these new possibilities – yet with mixed implications for consumers.
2.6 Consumer research offers some findings concerning the role of information.

3) Theses on the implications for consumer policy

3.1 Consumer information is no panacea.
3.2 The information needs vary depending on the kind of goods.
3.3 If behavioural changes are sought, not only consumer information needs to be available, but choice and ease of switching should also be present.
3.4 Consumer policy should address the question of the quality of online rating portals.
3.5 The consumer policy should better use the potential of the Internet and social media.
3.6 The heterogeneity of actors and information offers makes access to information difficult.
3.7 More evidence in consumer policy is necessary.

Further information:

Source: Kompetenzzentrum Verbraucherforschung NRW