Sequential Decision-Making Strategies of Expert and Novice Consumers.

INTRODUCTION In stark contrast to the tremendous amount of theoretical work that has been conducted in the field of decision making, very little is known about how consumers actually make decisions. Given the current state of knowledge, it is practically impossible to predict which brand will be chosen by a consumer based on the amount of information available to that consumer. The literature of information search and acquisition is mostly normative (i.e., prescriptive): Additional information should be sought as long as the benefits of the information acquired outweigh the cost of its acquisition (e.g., Stigler, 1961). Behavioral research, which is more descriptive in nature, is more concerned with the question: How do people actually make decisions? Indeed, consumers seldom consider all relevant information prior to making a purchase. Instead, they use various strategies to decide when to stop acquiring product information and to commit to one brand.

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