The role of exploratory buying behavior tendencies in choices made for others

Chowdhury, T. G., Ratneshwar, S., & Desai, K. K. (2009). The role of exploratory buying behavior tendencies in choices made for others. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19(3), 517-525. link

The paper covers the concept of exploratory buying behavior tendencies (EBBT) as the consumer trait that is strongly associated with the variety-seeking behavior. The main question they address in the paper is: Can EBBT influence even choices made for others?

Factors examined in the study are:

  • EBBT scores
  • Diversity in consideration sets
  • Search motives: utilitarian search motives vs. hedonic search motives
  • Regulatory focus: promotion focus (when a decision maker strive to attain the outcome by means that are approach-oriented) vs. prevention focus (avoidance-oriented)
  • Budget constraint



  • High EBBT individuals have salience of hedonic search motives and consequently form more diverse consideration sets.
  • With a specific budget, high EBBT consumers are likely to diversify their gift choices by buying a greater number of relatively lower-priced items.
  • The effects of EBBT traits are attenuated when the regulatory focus of the person making decision is one of prevention rather than promotion.



  • This work finds that the dispositional, an individual difference variable, EBBT trait can extend its influence beyond a person’s own consumption to situation, while previous studies have focused on the situational variables in variety-seeking behavior. This approach shares my argument that individual’s innate pattern in geographical and physical movement can explain and predict that person’s information exploration behavior when online searching.
  • If I consider a user study examining individuals’ EBBT during the search task(s), I can use the methods describes here, such as:
    • EBBT scores developed by Baumgartner and Steenkamp (1996)
    • Survey asking participants to choose consideration sets
    • Questionnaire that assesses the salience of henonic search motives
    • Manipulation of regulatory focus adding different sentences in the end of scenario


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