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Measuring E-Commerce Concentration Effects When Product Popularity is Channel-Specific

33 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2014 Last revised: 29 Aug 2014

Gonca Soysal

University of Texas at Dallas, Naveen Jindal School of Management

Alejandro Zentner

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Date Written: August 15, 2014

Abstract

This paper uses household-level panel data from three large apparel retailers to examine how e-commerce affects the concentration of sales across products. In our data there are remarkable differences between the products that are popular in online versus offline channels. When the relative popularity of products differs by channel, as in our data, we demonstrate that the traditional long tail metrics used in the literature provide biased results regarding changes to the concentration of sales caused by the growth in online sales. We propose an alternative metric that allows us to measure concentration effects when product popularity varies by channel. Our results demonstrate that ignoring differences in product popularity across channels can lead to erroneous conclusions regarding whether e-commerce increases or decreases the concentration of sales across products. Examining how the migration of consumers from brick and mortar to online channels affects the anatomy of their purchases is important for guiding managerial practice.

Keywords: E-commerce, long-tail

Suggested Citation

Soysal, Gonca and Zentner, Alejandro, Measuring E-Commerce Concentration Effects When Product Popularity is Channel-Specific (August 15, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2424840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2424840

Gonca Soysal (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas, Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

2601 North Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Alejandro Zentner

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

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