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How Dependent Are Consumers on Others When Making Their Shopping Decisions?


  • Makoto Nakayama

    (DePaul University, USA)

  • Yun Wan

    (University of Houston - Victoria, USA)

  • Norma Sutcliffe

    (DePaul University, USA)


Consumers now have a variety of shopping information sources online and offline in making purchase decisions. How has the Web changed the perceptions of consumers regarding the relative importance of different shopping information sources? Applying the attribution principle and the least effort principle, the authors hypothesize the relative importance of self-evaluation and three types of recommendations from others (word-of-mouth or WOM, expert opinion, and electronic WOM or eWOM). The data collected from 549 consumers show that the perceived importance of WOM remains equal to or even higher than that of self-evaluation for credence goods (product quality unknown even after purchase and use) and the so-called digital goods without Web access. However, the importance of self-evaluation increases when consumers have both Web access and non-Web sources of shopping information. The Web appears to make self-evaluation by consumers more important than inputs from others.

Suggested Citation

  • Makoto Nakayama & Yun Wan & Norma Sutcliffe, 2011. "How Dependent Are Consumers on Others When Making Their Shopping Decisions?," Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations (JECO), IGI Global, vol. 9(4), pages 1-21, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:igg:jeco00:v:9:y:2011:i:4:p:1-21

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