Energy efficiency of consideration sets and choices: The impact of label format

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Purpose – This research examines how the design of the online energy label can be improved to stimulate consumer choice of energy-efficient household products in web stores. Based on general evaluability theory (GET), we propose new label formats that aim to improve the evaluability of the label information for consumers and test their influence during two distinct stages in the online decision-making process: consideration set formation and final choice.

Design/method/approach – Two large-scale controlled online experiments are conducted with over 10,000 consumers in 10 European countries. The experiments test label alternatives in simulated online store environments, mimicking the two distinct decision stages, for four product categories to enhance generalizability. The data are analyzed using random-intercept linear and logistic regression models to account for their multi-level structure.

Findings – The results show that the impact of the online energy label on consumers’ online decision-making depends on both the label format and the decision stage (consideration vs. choice), but in a different way than expected. The findings reveal that the current online energy label is significantly outperformed by a label that provides reference information by incorporating the scale range. This alternative label is particularly effective in the consideration
set formation stage, and among consumers who consider energy efficiency a relatively unimportant choice criterion.

Research limitations/Implications – Online energy labels encourage consumers to consider and choose more energy-efficient products, especially if scale range information is included. The present results stress the importance of presenting this information early on in the online decision process. They also show that, particularly at this early stage and particularly for consumers who find energy efficiency a relatively unimportant choice criterion, label format matters.

Practical implications – Our findings provide important input for policymakers in the context of the ongoing revision of the EU energy label. They also help online retailers make decisions about when and how to present product information on their websites.

Originality/value – This study contributes to the literature on product labelling by examining the effects of relatively unexplored types of reference information in two distinct stages of the consumer decision-making process. To our knowledge, this study is the first to test the effectiveness of the online energy label.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2484-2505
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • energy labelling
  • online retailing
  • multi-stage decision-making
  • attribute evaluability


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