Consumers online information search: a cross-cultural study between China and Western Europe


Consumers in China increasingly turn to the Internet to acquire commercial information. This trend is expected to continue since Internet penetration and consumer spending keep growing steadily. Based on 32 hours of interviews with students and business professionals in China, and a questionnaire completed by a sample of 1140 Chinese and Belgian students, we find a number of significant differences between Chinese and Western Europeans in their online search process for information prior to a purchase. The differences occur in frequency, goal, types of information sought, types of websites used, website usage patterns, and contribution of user opinions. We explore explanations for these differences by digging into cultural, behavioral, economic, technical, and other fundamental differences between China and Western Europe. Our findings have important implications for marketing practitioners in China, especially for multinational corporations that enter China and that are not familiar yet with the Chinese environment.status: publishe

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This paper was published in Lirias.

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