Tunnel Vision: Local Behavioral Influences on Consumer Decisions in Product Search

47 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2010

See all articles by Gerald Häubl

Gerald Häubl

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law

Benedict G. C. Dellaert

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Bas Donkers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM); Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: June 12, 2009

Abstract

We introduce and test a behavioral model of consumer product search that extends a baseline normative model of sequential search by incorporating non-normative influences that are local in the sense that they reflect consumers’ undue sensitivity to recently encountered alternatives. We propose two types of such local behavioral influences that, at each stage of a search process, can manifest themselves both in which of the products inspected up to that point is deemed to be the most preferred one (the product comparison decision) and whether to terminate the search at that stage (the stopping decision). The first of these influences is that consumers respond excessively to the attractiveness of the currently inspected product, at the expense of all others (“focalism”). The second proposed behavioral influence is that consumers overreact to the difference in attractiveness between the current product and the one encountered just prior to it (“local contrast”). Converging evidence from two experiments, which combine to guarantee both high internal and high external validity, provides support for the proposed behavioral influences. Our findings demonstrate that consumers’ product comparison and stopping decisions in sequential product search are jointly governed by normative principles and by the proposed local behavioral influences.

Keywords: search behavior, consumer product search, decision making, behavioral decision theory, consumer behavior

Suggested Citation

Häubl, Gerald and Dellaert, Benedict G. C. and Donkers, Bas, Tunnel Vision: Local Behavioral Influences on Consumer Decisions in Product Search (June 12, 2009). Netspar Discussion Paper No. 06/2009 - 052, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1578302 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1578302

Gerald Häubl

University of Alberta - Department of Marketing, Business Economics & Law ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Benedict G. C. Dellaert (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Bas Donkers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Rotterdam, NL 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2411 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9169 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.eur.nl/en/people/bas-donkers

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 408 2411 (Phone)
+31 10 408 9169 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.eur.nl/en/people/bas-donkers

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
60
Abstract Views
759
rank
399,348
PlumX Metrics