Consumption Portfolio Management: Very Good Stuff Is Best Enjoyed by Itself

Prof. Luxi Shen
Associate Professor
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Date:         19 October 2023 (Thursday)
Time:        10:30 am to 12:00 am
Venue:      E22-G015
Host:         Prof. Fangyuan CHEN, Associate Professor in Marketing
Online registration:


Consumption planning decisions are investment decisions about enjoyment and well-being. Inspired by financial investment portfolio management, we propose a “consumption portfolio management” framework to study how consumers design an episode of consumption experience involving one or multiple products. While extant research has examined consumption portfolios containing a single product or those containing multiple products, we look into the critical yet missing connection: When do consumers prefer to expand their consumption portfolio from one product to multiple products? We propose and find that the quality of the initial product matters. Although people have a general preference to expand their consumption portfolios, they are reluctant to do so when the initial item is of very high quality. Further evidence shows that they believe that adding other stuff would ruin the very good product. Lastly, field data suggests that marketers are somewhat insensitive to this consumer preference. Our research contributes to the marketing literature by suggesting a new framework to study consumption planning decisions and adding a nuanced understanding of complementary and substitute goods.


Dr. Luxi Shen (PhD, University of Chicago Booth School of Business) studies judgment and decision-making, and consumer behavior. Her recent research focuses on the general topic of uncertainty in pricing strategies, incentive designs, and investment decisions. For example, she explores when and why consumers expend more effort to earn an uncertain reward than a certain reward. Shen’s work has been published in top academic journals, including the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Consumer Research, Management Science, Psychological Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. She was named a 2019 Young Scholar by the Marketing Science Institute for her early career achievements. She has received the runner-up of the 2015 Hillel Einhorn New Investigator Award by the Society for Judgement and Decision Making for the first essay in her doctoral dissertation (The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect, JCR, 2015) and the Honorable Mention of the 2020 Ferber Award (best dissertation-based article in the Journal of Consumer Research) by the Association for Consumer Research for the second essay in her doctoral dissertation (The Fun and Function of Uncertainty, JCR, 2019).

All are welcome!