Also referred to as ‘overchoice’, the phenomenon of choice overload occurs as a result of too many choices being available to consumers. Choice overload may refer to either choice attributes or alternatives. The application of heuristics in decision making becomes more likely with a greater number or complexity of choices. Overchoice has been associated with unhappiness (Schwartz, 2004), decision fatigue, going with the default option, as well as choice deferral—avoiding making a decision altogether, such as not buying a product (Iyengar & Lepper, 2000). Choice overload can be counteracted by simplifying choice attributes or the number of available options (Johnson et al., 2012).
Iyengar, S., & Lepper, M. (2000). When choice is demotivating: Can one desire too much of a good thing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 995-1006.
Johnson, E. J., Shu, S. B., Dellaert, B. G.C., Fox, C. R., Goldstein, D. G., Häubl, G., Larrick, R. P., Payne, J. W., Peters, E., Schkade, D., Wansink, B., & Weber, E. U. (2012), Beyond nudges: Tools of a choice architecture, Marketing Letters, 23, 487-504.
Schwartz, B. (2004). The paradox of choice: Why more is less. New York: Ecco.