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Consumer Expertise

Part 3. Consumer Behavior

  1. Eric M. Eisenstein

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem03044

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Eisenstein, E. M. 2010. Consumer Expertise. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 3.

Author Information

  1. Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Consumer expertise has been an inconsistent topic of research in marketing, with a small set of papers that have explored the effects of expertise on various phenomena that are integral to consumer decision making. Studies both within marketing and in cognate fields have challenged the very notion of expertise, claiming that experts are no better than novices in making accurate decisions. Other studies conclude that there are bona fide experts, and attempt to characterize the conditions under which expertise will develop. Within marketing, research suggests that there are both benefits and costs associated with acquiring expertise within a product domain. The major benefits of expertise include superior memory for product-related facts and attributes, faster ability to assimilate schema-consistent knowledge, and faster, more accurate, decision making. Costs of expertise include the possibility of increased overconfidence and a reduction in ability to spontaneously recognize a change in the underlying schema governing the category, as well as reduced ability to integrate schema-inconsistent facts. Taken as a whole, the evidence indicates that genuine expertise does exist, and that on balance, it is beneficial.


  • expertise;
  • decision making;
  • learning;
  • cognitive structure;
  • consumer psychology