Relative Importance of Online Versus Offline Information for Internet Purchases: The Effect of Product Category and Internet Experience
19 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2008
Date Written: August 26, 2008
Across three studies we examine the relative importance of online versus offline information for internet purchases. Study 1 reveals that the relative importance of online information is higher for utilitarian products (computer hardware and software) than for hedonic products (books, music, and movies). Study 2 shows that, in the case of online purchases, the relative importance of online information decreases with increasing consumer internet experience. Consequently, offline information becomes relatively more important for consumers with high levels of internet experience. In addition, the relative importance of online information is higher for utilitarian products than for hedonic products, supporting study 1 results. Study 3 suggests a possible mechanism for the effect of internet experience on decreasing importance of online information, showing that consumers' trust of online search engine information decreases with increasing internet experience. We conclude with implications of our results for firms that sell products on the internet.
Keywords: online purchases, online behavior, information importance, internet experience
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