Discussion paper

DP18848 Consumer Search: What Can We Learn from Pre-Purchase Data?

Researchers are increasingly able to observe consumers' behavior prior to a purchase, such as their navigation through a store or website and the products they consider. Such pre-purchase (or search) data can be valuable to researchers in a variety of ways: as an additional source of information to estimate consumer preferences, to understand how firms can influence the search process through marketing mix variables, and to analyze how limited information about products affects equilibrium market outcomes. We provide an overview of these three research areas with a particular emphasis on online and offline retailing.


Honka, E, S Seiler and R Ursu (2024), ‘DP18848 Consumer Search: What Can We Learn from Pre-Purchase Data?‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18848. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18848