Search Revisits

48 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2020

See all articles by Chu (Ivy) Dang

Chu (Ivy) Dang

The University of Hong Kong

Raluca Ursu

New York University - Stern School of Business

Pradeep K. Chintagunta

University of Chicago

Date Written: June 13, 2020


Why do consumers revisit previously searched products (“search revisits”) before making a purchase decision? Using a detailed click-stream data set from a popular hotel meta-search engine that uniquely identifies the information (photos, reviews, prices etc.) consumers obtained on every product search, we show the following. Search revisits are common, with half of all search sessions where consumers searched two or more hotels including at least one revisit. Surprisingly, most revisit behavior is not driven by consumers’ desire to look at additional information about a product, as assumed in prior work. Rather, in 70% of all revisits, consumers look at a subset of the same information that they saw on previous searches. Also, products revisited for additional information are frequently purchased. In contrast, revisits for the same information are typically short, involve more expensive and lower quality products, and are unlikely to lead to a purchase. Based on these findings, we then investigate a number of explanations for the occurrence of search revisits. Our results are consistent with consumers revisiting either to obtain more information on options they prefer or (more frequently) to eliminate inferior options from their consideration sets (thereby saving on future decision costs). We end by discussing the implications of these and other findings for modeling consumer search behavior and by deriving managerial implications of consideration set elimination for marketing mix decisions, such as ad re-targeting.

Keywords: consumer search, search revisits, consideration sets, click-stream data, re-targeting

Suggested Citation

Dang, Chu (Ivy) and Ursu, Raluca and Chintagunta, Pradeep K., Search Revisits (June 13, 2020). NYU Stern School of Business, Available at SSRN: or

Chu (Ivy) Dang

The University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Raluca Ursu (Contact Author)

New York University - Stern School of Business ( email )

Tisch Hall
40 W 4 St.
New York, NY NA 10012
United States

Pradeep K. Chintagunta

University of Chicago ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-8015 (Phone)
773-702-0458 (Fax)

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