Consumer Behavior for Search and Experience Goods

Consumer Behavior for Search and Experience Goods

Within the assessment of a consumer’s behavior on the Internet a distinction will be made between ‘search goods’ and ‘experience goods’. A search good is a product or service that has characteristics than can easily be looked up and evaluated before it is being purchased. An experience good is a product where the characteristics such as quality and price are more difficult to observe in advance.

Additionally it is important to see what is depth and breadth of search. Depth of search is the time a consumer will spend finding information on one single page, where as breadth of search is the number of pages someone will visit.

Free-riders problem might arise when consultation about the product and the retail showrooms are not sold separately from the physical product. Internet can worsen these problems.

There are many different results considering the both types of search.

  • There is no significant difference between search and experience goods concerning looking at the total time that one consumer spends on search for product information online.

  • People that are searching for experience goods will view fewer pages but spend relatively more time at each page before purchase.

  • Communication mechanisms (e.g. Consumer feedback and experience simulations) will increase the time spent on that page, though only for experience searches.

  • Generating feedback to consumers increases the possibility of a purchase, but this is greater for experience products than for search products.

  • Information free-riding is expected to happen less for experience products than search products.


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