Research and analysis

Online search behaviour: literature review

A review of consumers’ online search behaviour and how this affects competition in online markets.


Online search: Consumer and firm behaviour

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This review collects evidence from the available literature on how consumers search online and how firms operate as a result of this behaviour.

The review discusses:

  • how many options consumers consider when searching for different types of goods
  • which link positions they are most attracted to
  • how brand loyalty and online reviews shape consumer decisions

In relation to firms, it discusses the importance of differentiation in online markets and how firms use search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid search to gain visibility online.

The review then considers the implications of these findings for the Competition and Markets Authority in conducting future work.

Published 7 April 2017