Hedonic and utilitarian search for electronic word-of-mouth and implications on purchase value
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School of Economics | Master's thesis
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AbstractOnline information search is often seen as a highly utilitarian task but consumers' increasingly diverse ways of using the Web have brought forth more hedonic information search patterns. At the same time, the impact of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) on consumer purchase decisions is increasing. The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences between hedonic and utilitarian eWOM search patterns in the light of purchase value. Using survey data from 1660 customers of two travel agencies and structural equation modeling, the study finds that hedonic information search promotes the utilization of eWOM in buying decisions and that eWOM has a greater influence on buying among high-spenders. The findings suggest that hedonic information seekers form an important and valuable customer group and, thus, should be at the focus of online marketing and selling. Companies should encourage customers to search for valuable and experiential eWOM content and create metrics to identify consumers that do so based on their online information search behavior.
online information search, electronic word-of-mouth, hedonism, utilitarianism