Zooming in on Choice: How Do Consumers Search for Cameras Online?

60 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2014

See all articles by Bart J. Bronnenberg

Bart J. Bronnenberg

Tilburg University, CentER

Byeong Jun Kim

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST)

Carl F. Mela

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Date Written: October 16, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Bronnenberg, Bart J. and Kim, Byeong Jun and Mela, Carl F., Zooming in on Choice: How Do Consumers Search for Cameras Online? (October 16, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2511015 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2511015

Bart J. Bronnenberg (Contact Author)

Tilburg University, CentER ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5037 AB
Netherlands
+31 13 466 8939 (Phone)
+31 13 466 8354 (Fax)

Byeong Jun Kim

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) ( email )

Clearwater Bay
Kowloon, 999999
Hong Kong

Carl F. Mela

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7767 (Phone)

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