Understanding consumer perceptions of quality based on package size: the moderating role of the evaluation context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Empirical research on the influence of package size on consumers' quality perception has been scarce. Yan et al. (2014), an initial study focusing on this topic, showed that a small package generates higher perceived quality than a large package of the same brand. To cultivate a deeper understanding of such an effect, this paper aims to extend that study by examining the process by incorporating the evaluation context as a moderator. Design/methodology/approach: Two experiments were carried out. In Study 1 (n = 380), the effect of package size on perceived quality was investigated by comparing a standalone context in which a single package size was presented and a context in which two different package sizes were shown. In Study 2 (n = 436), a standalone context was compared with another context in which participants viewed two different sizes but directed their attention to only one. Findings: The findings indicate that the package size effect is not universal, and that it generally appears in a standalone context. In the contexts where two sizes were presented, it appears when consumers' attention is directed to only one size, whereas the effect does not manifest when consumers focus equal attention on both. The impact of the evaluation context is also stronger for small packages than for large packages. Originality/value: This paper adds knowledge to packaging and cue-utilisation literature by clarifying a boundary condition of the impact of package size on consumers' quality perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-762
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun 25
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer behavior
  • Evaluation context
  • Food products
  • Package size
  • Perceived quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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