Search costs and adaptive consumers: short time delays do not affect choice quality

Axel Sonntag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Using online price comparison and shopping platforms makes experiencing slow connections, lags and waiting times for information an unfortunate reality. However, little attention has been paid to analyzing the effects of such delayed display of information on product choice behavior. This article explores the effect of time delays in a multi-attribute choice laboratory experiment by not providing information immediately when requested but after short time delays. Increasing these waiting times reduced the amount of information looked-up but did not affect choice quality. Higher time delays made decision-makers use more deliberate search processes, whereas low time delays induced inefficient over-searching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64–79
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Early online date5 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • search costs
  • time delays
  • multi-attribute consumer product choice
  • outcome quality
  • process tracing
  • choice-based conjoint analysis

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