Consumer Information Search Revisited: Theory and Empirical Analysis

Posted: 29 Apr 1998 Last revised: 9 Mar 2011

See all articles by Sridhar Moorthy

Sridhar Moorthy

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Brian T. Ratchford

University of Texas at Dallas

Debabrata Talukdar

State University of New York at Buffalo - School of Management

Date Written: 1995

Abstract

A comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding consumers information search behavior is presented. Unlike previous research, our model not only identifies what factors affect consumers search behavior, but also how they interact with each other. In particular, it emphasizes the interactive effect of prior market perceptions on the search process. We argue that when consumers have brand-specific prior distributions, then the existence of relative uncertainty among brands is necessary for a search to be useful. Thus we explain why product class involvement or low search costs may not be sufficient to induce large amounts of search activity, and why there may be an inverse-U shaped relationship between search activity and experience. We test our theory on consumers search behavior for new automobiles, using data collected contemporaneously with the consumers actual decision process. Our data support our theory.

Keywords: Information search, price search

JEL Classification: D11, D12

Suggested Citation

Moorthy, Sridhar and Ratchford, Brian T. and Talukdar, Debabrata, Consumer Information Search Revisited: Theory and Empirical Analysis (1995). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 263-277. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4119

Sridhar Moorthy (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/~moorthy

Brian T. Ratchford

University of Texas at Dallas ( email )

2601 North Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Debabrata Talukdar

State University of New York at Buffalo - School of Management ( email )

Jacobs Management Center
Buffalo, NY 14260
United States

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