Adaptive Hybrid Methods for Choice-Based Conjoint Analysis: A Comparative Study

By Bauer, Robert; Menrad, Klaus et al. | International Journal of Marketing Studies, February 2015 | Go to article overview

Adaptive Hybrid Methods for Choice-Based Conjoint Analysis: A Comparative Study


Bauer, Robert, Menrad, Klaus, Decker, Thomas, International Journal of Marketing Studies


Abstract

Adaptive choice-based conjoint analysis (ACBC) and hybrid individualized two-level choice-based conjoint analysis (HIT-CBC) were developed to improve standard choice-based conjoint analysis through additional interviewing techniques. Both methods have demonstrated their applicability in comparison to standard choice-based conjoint methods. The objective of our study was a direct comparison of the two adaptive hybrid methods ACBC and HIT-CBC. Therefore, we analysed the previous comparative literature on the methods and used the results to conduct both a Monte Carlo simulation study and an empirical study for validity comparisons. The simulation study confirms the vulnerability of HIT-CBC to produce incorrect ratings of respondents in the last part of the questionnaire. The empirical findings reveal an advantage of ACBC in comparison to the current version of HIT-CBC. We conclude that the rating tasks in the last section of HIT-CBC questionnaires reduce the predictive validity of the method and suggest an improvement to HIT-CBC.

Keywords: conjoint analysis, market research, simulation study, CBC, ACBC, HIT-CBC

1. Introduction

Conjoint analysis is widely used (Hauser et al., 2006). However, there are many different conjoint analysis methods and selecting the best method for a (research) problem is a difficult task for researchers and practitioners. Several new methods have arisen in the field of choice-based conjoint analysis (CBC) in recent years. In the present article, we evaluate two adaptive hybrid methods that were developed for product conceptswith many attributes and levels.

In classical CBC choice tasks, respondents choose their preferred (product) concept from a set of two or more concepts (Louviere & Woodworth, 1983; Batsell & Louviere, 1991). Because such choice decisions are similar to (purchase) decisions in reality, it is argued that CBC performs better than other methods for preference measurement (Louviere & Woodworth, 1983; Toubia et al., 2004), a claim supported by several studies (Louviere et al., 2004; Toubia et al., 2004; Eggers & Sattler, 2009). In recent years, online surveys have garnered increasing popularity and the rising online processing power allows for adapting questions on the basis of prior responses (Toubia et al., 2004). These advances led to methods thatcreate respondent-specific choice tasks during the survey(e.g., Toubia et al., 2004 and Toubia et al., 2007 suggested (probabilistic) polyhedral methods and Yu et al., 2011 suggested Bayesian methods for the adaptive design generation).

Adaptive hybrid approaches use additional interview techniques to improve the efficiency of the choice tasks. This approach is known from adaptive conjoint analysis (ACA) introduced in the 1980s (Johnson, 1987). Adaptive hybrid methods for CBC were suggested by Johnson and Orme (2007) and Eggers and Sattler (2009). Eggers and Sattler (2009) introduced the hybrid individualized two-level choice-based conjoint approach (HIT-CBC), while Johnson and Orme (2007) developed adaptive choice-based conjoint (ACBC). It is claimed that due to the more elaborate interview technique, the new adaptive hybrid methods can handle product concepts with many attributes and levels more efficiently (Johnson & Orme, 2007; Eggers & Sattler, 2009).

In previous studies, ACBC and HIT-CBC demonstrated their applicability in comparison to the standard CBC approach, which does not include additional interviewing techniques. Our study intends to offer thefirst direct comparison of these two adaptive hybrid methods. We particularly aimed to compare the performance of those methods in the case of complex products with many attributes and levels. Therefore, we conducted a Monte Carlo simulation study and an empirical study on car preferences for our validity comparisons.

In section 2, we provide the methodological background of ACBC and HIT-CBC. In section 3, we give an overview of previous comparative studies on either ACBC or HIT-CBC. …

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