Consumer Vigilance and Choice Overload in Online Shopping

Fenghua Wang, Mohan Wang, Yujie Zheng, Jia Jin, and Yu Pan
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 25, Number 3, 2021, pp. 364-390.


Are there too many options in online shopping? Although extant studies have largely focused on the effects of choice overload, few shed light on choice overload in online shopping situations. In light of online shopping’s untouchable nature and sorting mechanisms, we argue that choice overload in online shopping is associated with consumer vigilance and assortment desirability. Across four experiments, we found that the size of the online choice set significantly influences consumers’ choice difficulty and choice deferral. We also discovered that consumer vigilance and assortment desirability moderate these relationships. Specifically, high vigilance increases the negative impact of assortment size on consumer decision, whereas assortment product desirability alleviates this consequence. We contribute to the literature by extending prior predictions of choice overload and proposing a framework involving choice overload, vigilance, and desirability for future research.