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Everything is just a click away Online shopping efficiency and consumption levels in three consumption domains

Online shopping makes consumption increasingly easy. It may lead to more sufficiency-oriented goods and services being bought (e.g. second-hand clothing), but also comes with the risk of overconsumption due to rebound- and induction effects. This study examines whether perceived behavioral efficiency gains of online shopping are associated with higher consumption levels of new, as well as sufficiency-oriented goods or services.

In a cross-sectional three-study design, self-reported consumption levels of clothing (N = 883), digital devices (N = 860) and leisure travel (N = 976), purchase intentions and perceived behavioral efficiency gains of online-shopping were measured. Moderation analyses tested whether purchase intentions and efficiency gains predicted higher consumption levels.

Online shopping was perceived to have lower behavioral costs than in-store purchase, except for alternative transport booking (e.g. bus, train). Perceived behavioral efficiency gains of online shopping were not linked to higher clothing consumption levels, but they were linked to higher consumption levels in case of digital devices and travels.

Depending on the consumption domain, online shopping efficiency fosters both consumption levels of sufficiency-oriented and new products. Heterogeneous findings suggest that context and motivation are essential factors for the influence of online environments.