An Analysis of Consumer Search Behaviour in the US and Germany using Online Panel Data

Holland, C. P., Jacobs, J. A.

Consumer search is analysed in a cross-sector study of six markets in the US and Germany using online panel data. Three constructs are used to measure the search process: the online consideration set, time spent per brand and use of price comparison engines. The online consideration sets range from 2.3 to 3.1 in the US and from 2.3 to 2.6 in Germany, regardless of the use of price comparison engines. These results are significantly smaller than expected compared to pre-Internet studies and theory predictions. However, they are consistent with the few published results that used online panel data. It is shown that the online consideration set is a function of market structure. Time spent per brand is not related to market structure and is likely to be determined by product-market factors such as product complexity, product involvement and risk. The use of price comparison engines is inversely related to product complexity. The theoretical and managerial implications of the research results are explained and the potential of using online panel data for future research into online consumer behaviour and strategy is outlined.

Consumer Search Behaviour; Online Panel Data; Market Structure; International and Multi-Sector Research

Publication type
Research article in proceedings (conference)

Peer reviewed

Publication status
accepted / in press (not yet published)


Academy of Management

Philadelphia, USA