Zooming in on Choice: How Do Consumers Search for Cameras Online?
60 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2014
Date Written: October 16, 2014
We describe online consumers’ search behavior for differentiated durable goods using a data set that captures a highly detailed level of consumer search and attribute information for digital cameras. Consumers search more extensively than commonly reported, engaging in 14 searches on average prior to purchase. Individual level search is confined to a small part of the attribute space. Even early search is highly predictive of the characteristics of the camera eventually purchased. Further, search paths through the attribute space are strongly state dependent and display “lock-in” as search unfolds. Finally, the first-time discovery of the chosen alternative usually takes place toward the end of the search sequence. We discuss these and other findings in the context of optimal search strategies and discuss the prospects for consumer learning during search.
Keywords: Consumer search and choice, online purchase, search dynamics, digital cameras
JEL Classification: D12, D83, M3, L68
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