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Variety Seeking, Purchase Timing, and the "Lightning Bolt" Brand Choice Model


Author Info

  • Pradeep K. Chintagunta

    (Graduate School of Business, Department of Marketing, University of Chicago, 1101 East 58th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637)


The "Lightning Bolt" (LB) model provides a comprehensive framework for accommodating the effects of habit persistence, unobserved heterogeneity, and state dependence on household brand choice behavior. This paper presents a discrete, dynamic brand-choice model that belongs to the LB class of models. We propose a method for incorporating the effects of variety seeking into the LB model formulation. The proposed formulation explicitly links brand choice and purchase timing behavior via the effect of state dependence. This state-dependence based linkage between brand choice and purchase timing comes about due to the attribute satiation notion associated with household variety seeking behavior. Empirical implementation of the model specification requires recognizing that interpurchase times, like brand choices, also depend upon marketing variables and household characteristics. A hazard model is specified to capture this relationship. Empirical results are presented using household-level data for two different products. Our results reveal the following. (1) State dependence effects decline over time. Hence, households' brand switching and repeat purchase probabilities vary over time, independent of any variation in marketing mix activities. (2) Accounting for the effects of marketing variables on interpurchase times may be important when empirically estimating the proposed model. While the nature of substantive implications is largely unchanged, the magnitudes of the different effects are nevertheless affected. (3) We find evidence for purchase reinforcement (and its effects declining over time), but no evidence for attribute satiation based variety seeking behavior. (4) A comparison of the model's predictive ability with those from two extant specifications reveals that the proposed model outperforms rival specifications.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 45 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 486-498

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:4:p:486-498

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Related research

Keywords: brand choice dynamics; hazard models; perceptual maps;


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Cited by:
  1. Desai, Kalpesh Kaushik & Trivedi, Minakshi, 2014. "Do consumer perceptions matter in measuring choice variety and variety seeking?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 2786-2792.
  2. Nanarpuzha, Rajesh, . "Modeling Situational Factors in Variety Seeking Behaviour: An Extension of the Lightning Bolt Model," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-12-04, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  3. Stephen Ryan & Catherine Tucker, 2012. "Heterogeneity and the dynamics of technology adoption," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 63-109, March.
  4. Matthew Osborne, 2011. "Consumer learning, switching costs, and heterogeneity: A structural examination," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 25-70, March.
  5. González-Benito, Óscar, 2004. "Random effects choice models: seeking latent predisposition segments in the context of retail store format selection," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 167-177, April.


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