The Wrap Effect in Online Review Sets Revisited: How Perceived Usefulness Mediates the Effect on Intention Formation


Alona Kolomiiets
Nathalie Dens
Patrick De Pelsmacker


We investigate the effect of primacy-recency reinforcement (wrap), i.e. when the first and last review of a sethave the same valence, on the behavioral intentions (purchase and recommendation intention) of review readers. Inaddition, we study how this effect is mediated by the perceived usefulness of the reviews. The results of a 2 (Valenceof first review: positive, negative) x 6 (Review sequence) full factorial between-subjects experiment (n = 552) confirmthat wrap effects bias intentions. A positively wrapped review set leads to a higher purchase and recommendationintention than a non-wrapped review set with a positive first review. Conversely, a negatively wrapped review setleads to lower intentions than a non-wrapped review set with a negative first review. In case of a negative wrap, thisrelationship is mediated by the perceived usefulness of the reviews such that a negative wrap increases the perceivedusefulness of the review set which, in turn, affects intentions. In case of a positive wrap, the positive relationshipbetween wrap and intentions is direct and not mediated by perceived usefulness.

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November, 2016

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