Chapter 5: The economic value of experience goods
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All consumer goods (including consumer services) are at least to some extent experience goods. There is no clear-cut distinction between a category of goods that is experienced and another category that is ‘non-experienced’. Even a standardized and relatively homogeneous consumer good such as a sugar cube gives rise – at the very least – to an experience of ‘sweetness’. But this does not mean that all goods are the same regarding their ability to engender consumer experiences. They are not. But instead of a dichotomy between experience and non-experience consumer goods, it is more realistic to think of a good’s experiential nature as a multi-dimensional question. An increase in any one of a number of relevant attributes implies that a good becomes ‘increasingly experiential’. There are at least five such experience-related attributes: learning by consuming; uniqueness; location and context dependence; interdependence; and non-storability. Goods that exhibit high levels of several experience attributes differ from goods that combine low or zero levels across all five attributes. There are certain features that unite those goods that are commonly thought of as non-experience goods, but which – strictly speaking – should be referred to as low-experience goods. We may think of such goods as ‘standard goods’.

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