Zooming in on choice: How do consumers search for cameras online?

Bart Bronnenberg, Jun B. Kim, Carl Mela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


We describe online consumers' search behavior for differentiated durable goods using a data set that captures a detailed level of consumer search and attribute information for digital cameras. Consumers search extensively, engaging in 14 searches on average prior to purchase. Individual level search is confined to a small part of the attribute space. Early search is highly predictive of the characteristics of the camera eventually purchased. Search paths through the attribute space are 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-712
JournalMarketing Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • consumer search and choice
  • online purchase
  • search dynamics
  • digital cameras


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