When the eyes say buy: visual fixations during hypothetical consumer choice improve prediction of actual purchases
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Consumers typically overstate their intentions to purchase products, compared to actual rates of purchases, a pattern called “hypothetical bias”. In laboratory choice experiments, we measure participants’ visual attention using mousetracking or eye-tracking, while they make hypothetical as well as real purchase decisions. We find that participants spent more time looking both at price and product image prior to making a real “buy” decision than making a real “don’t buy” decision. We demonstrate that including such information about visual attention improves prediction of real buy decisions. This improvement is evident, although small in magnitude, using mousetracking data, but is not evident using eye-tracking data.
KeywordsMousetracking Eye-tracking Hypothetical bias Prediction
JEL ClassificationD12 D90 C91
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