In 1985, Coca Cola unveiled “New Coke” which was a reformulation of the original Coke flavour. Blind tests found that many consumers preferred New Coke to Coke Classic. However, when consumers were choosing which Coke to buy, they chose Coke Classic. New Coke was ultimately discontinued in 1992.
In the 1990s, citizens in the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania were given two options for their automotive insurance: an expensive option and a cheap option. In New Jersey the cheaper option was the default and was selected by most citizens whereas, in Pennsylvania, the opposite was the case – most people chose the expensive option which was their default.
These are both classic examples of the Status Quo Bias which refers to the phenomenon of preferring that one’s environment and/or situation remains as it already is. We tend to prefer familiar choices over less familiar, but potentially more beneficial, options.
When Nitrox was first introduced in the 20th century, it was largely shunned by the diving world and it took quite a few years before training agencies started widely promoting it in the mid-90s. During those years, the science behind why nitrox was better than air (in terms of reducing the risk of Decompression Sickness) didn’t change but people were still very reluctant to start using something new that was less familiar. This could be considered the Status Quo bias among a whole group of people rather than just individuals.