CAT 2019 Question Paper | Verbal Slot 1

CAT Previous Year Paper | CAT VARC Questions | Question 6

CAT 2019 VARC section was a true nightmare. It was the most taxing section of the three. With some of its questions requiring critical reasoning, demanded even the avid of the readers to read and reread the passages before landing on an answer. We've tried our best to present these actual questions from CAT 2019 VARC section in their least intimidating from (at least in the font), with detailed solutions in a student friendly format to test yourself and understand the importance of reading for VARC section of the CAT exam. For a curated reading list head out here: Bharath’s Reading List. If you are planning to take CAT 2019 paper as a full fledged mock, it would help if you go back to : CAT Question Bank and solve questions that are not from actual CAT Question papers.

Contemporary internet shopping conjures a perfect storm of choice anxiety. Research has consistently held that people who are presented with a few options make better, easier decisions than those presented with many. . . . Helping consumers figure out what to buy amid an endless sea of choice online has become a cottage industry unto itself. Many brands and retailers now wield marketing buzzwords such as curation, differentiation, and discovery as they attempt to sell an assortment of stuff targeted to their ideal customer. Companies find such shoppers through the data gold mine of digital advertising, which can catalog people by gender, income level, personal interests, and more. Since Americans have lost the ability to sort through the sheer volume of the consumer choices available to them, a ghost now has to be in the retail machine, whether it’s an algorithm, an influencer, or some snazzy ad tech to help a product follow you around the internet. Indeed, choice fatigue is one reason so many people gravitate toward lifestyle influencers on Instagram—the relentlessly chic young moms and perpetually vacationing 20-somethings—who present an aspirational worldview, and then recommend the products and services that help achieve it. . . .

For a relatively new class of consumer-products start-ups, there’s another method entirely. Instead of making sense of a sea of existing stuff, these companies claim to disrupt stuff as Americans know it. Casper (mattresses), Glossier (makeup), Away (suitcases), and many others have sprouted up to offer consumers freedom from choice: The companies have a few aesthetically pleasing and supposedly highly functional options, usually at mid-range prices. They’re selling nice things, but maybe more importantly, they’re selling a confidence in those things, and an ability to opt out of the stuff rat race. . . .

One-thousand-dollar mattresses and $300 suitcases might solve choice anxiety for a certain tier of consumer, but the companies that sell them, along with those that attempt to massage the larger stuff economy into something navigable, are still just working within a consumer market that’s broken in systemic ways. The presence of so much stuff in America might be more valuable if it were more evenly distributed, but stuff’s creators tend to focus their energy on those who already have plenty. As options have expanded for people with disposable income, the opportunity to buy even basic things such as fresh food or quality diapers has contracted for much of America’s lower classes.

For start-ups that promise accessible simplicity, their very structure still might eventually push them toward overwhelming variety. Most of these companies are based on hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital, the investors of which tend to expect a steep growth rate that can’t be achieved by selling one great mattress or one great sneaker. Casper has expanded into bedroom furniture and bed linens. Glossier, after years of marketing itself as no-makeup makeup that requires little skill to apply, recently launched a full line of glittering color cosmetics. There may be no way to opt out of stuff by buying into the right thing.

Question 6 : Which of the following hypothetical statements would add the least depth to the author’s prediction of the fate of start-ups offering few product options?

  1. An exponential surge in their sales enables start-ups to meet their desired profit goals without expanding their product catalogue
  2. With the motive of promoting certain rival companies, the government decides to double the tax-rates for these start-ups.
  3. With Casper and Glossier venturing into new product ranges, their regular customers start losing trust in the companies and their products.
  4. Start-ups with few product options are no exception to the American consumer market that is deeply divided along class lines.

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Explanatory Answer

The question asks us to choose the statement that, if true, would add the least depth to the author's prediction about start-ups. That is, we need to choose the option which goes against the author's prediction.

What is the author’s prediction about start-ups offering few product options? He predicts that these start-ups would be forced to offer variety due to the steep growth expectations of investors. That is, profit motive drives the push towards new product options. If start-ups are able to meet the desired profit goals without expanding their product range, then the author's prediction is no longer valid. So, option 1 is a possible answer choice.

Consider option 2. If the government doubles tax for these start-ups, the pressure on them to make a profit increases. This actually supports the author's prediction. So, it is ruled out.

If option 3 is true, that is, if regular customers of these start-ups lose trust in them, sales will decline and hence there would be more pressure on them to expand their range to make profit. This option too supports the author's prediction.

That start-ups with few product options are 'still just working within a consumer market that’s broken in systemic ways' is an argument used by the author to make his point about the narrowness of choice for certain consumer segments. This does not in any way go against the author's prediction about these start-ups being forced to expand their product range.

So, the option that adds least depth—goes against—the author's prediction is option 1.

The question is " Which of the following hypothetical statements would add the least depth to the author’s prediction of the fate of start-ups offering few product options?"

Hence, the answer is An exponential surge in their sales enables start-ups to meet their desired profit goals without expanding their product catalogue

Choice A is the correct answer.


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