Should you include the “None of the above” option?

Also: How does it vary by product type?


For your conjoint experiment, you can choose one of three options that characterise your product. This will affect how the “None of the above” option is presented to respondents and how analytics is run on the data we collect.

Types of products in conjoint analysis


Types of none-of-the-above options in conjoint analysis


1. Normal product that customers routinely buy 2. Product that customers are forced to buy 3. New product that customers are not used to buying
Examples FMCG/CPG, education, personal services. The vast majority of products fall into this category. Critical medication or government services. Start-ups with new business models.
When to use This option should be in most marketing studies should because it reflects actual market behaviour of not buying a product. This option is suitable to medical studies should because it reflects doctors’ and patients’ lack of “opt-out” options. When consumers are not used to buying this product 😊
How it works Respondents will be able to select a “None of the above” option, which will be part of the choice set. When such products are studied, respondents will not be able to select a “None of the above” option. This is technically known as a “forced choice response”. With such products, respondents will first be forced to choose an alternative, and then they will confirm if they would buy it at all. This is technically known as a “two-stage response”.

Why do these options depend on product types?

Consumers tend to think twice when it comes to buying new products. Therefore the chance of not buying any product in new categories is higher. This needs to be reflected in conjoint analysis as well.

The table below shows the percentage of “none of the above” responses for a sample of 709 experiments with two-stage response and 4863 experiments with the standard “none of the above” option (including both generic and brand-specific conjoint studies). It is split by type of response and by country (listing only top 12 countries of respondents):

Country Standard response (normal products) Two-stage response (new products)
% of “None of the above” Number of choice sets % of “No” Number of choice sets
United States 14% 1,500,371 18% 269,830
United Kingdom 9% 392,662 25% 16,303
Mexico 16% 248,873 Insufficient data
Germany 14% 206,879 Insufficient data
Canada 18% 129,778 18% 21,593
China 6% 136,844 Insufficient data
Netherlands 15% 130,807 Insufficient data
France 13% 124,528 Insufficient data
Australia 14% 111,837 27% 20,188
Brazil 8% 89,825 32% 13,123
India 8% 89,034 Insufficient data
Russia 18% 85,293 Insufficient data
All (including those not listed above) 13% 4,013,278 19% 476,427

This question from our users was answered on 14 August 2020. If there is anything else you'd like to know, please do not hesitate to contact us.