Study  |  06/01/2023

Clicking against the Clock – How Time Pressure and Regret Influence Our Behavior in Online Shopping

In a new podcast episode, Timm Opitz explains how time pressure and regret can influence our search behavior in the world of online shopping. He sheds light on his research project titled “Time Pressure and Regret in Sequential Search”, which investigates the impact of urgency and regret on optimal search behavior by conducting experiments in a controlled environment.

Collage of the lettering podcast with image of a microphone and portrait photo of the researcher Timm Opitz
Timm Opitz speaks in the science podcast series Game Changer

In the podcast, he also shares some strategies we can use to overcome the influence of urgency and regret in our shopping behavior.

Timm Opitz is Junior Research Fellow and doctoral student in the economics department Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research of the Institute. His research focuses on entrepreneurship, behavioral market design, and developmental psychology.

Perceived urgency and regret are common in many sequential search processes. Sellers often pressure buyers in search of the best offer, both time-wise and in terms of potential regret of forgoing unique purchasing opportunities. Theoretically, these strategies result in anticipated and experienced regret, which systematically affect search behavior and thereby distort optimal search. In addition, urgency may alter decision-making processes and thereby the salience of regret.

To understand the empirical relevance of these aspects, Timm Opitz and his coauthors study the causal effects of regret, urgency, and their interaction on search behavior in an experiment. Empirically, they find that anticipated regret does not affect search behavior either with or without time pressure, while experienced regret leads to systematic adjustments in search length. Urgency reduces decision times and perceived decision quality, but does not generally alter search length. Only very inexperienced customers buy earlier when pressured. Thus, consumer protection measures against pressure selling tactics can help inexperienced consumers in particular.

Go directly to the Podcast.

Click here to access the full publication:

Klimm, Felix; Kocher, Martin G.; Opitz, Timm; Schudy, Simeon A. (2023).
Time Pressure and Regret in Sequential Search
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 206, 406-424