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To Buy or Not to Buy

To Buy or Not to Buy: How Increased TV Watching Impacts E-commerce

Knowledge@Wharton

It’s a well-known fact that the rise of the Internet has led to a decline in the amount of television people watch. With only so many hours in the day to dedicate to leisure activities, it should be no surprise that growth in one should take a toll on the other. But it’s also the case that we live in the age of the multi-tasker: Smartphone in one hand, TV remote in the other, a book in our lap, and food on the table in front of us, we rarely focus all of our attention on just one thing anymore.

All of which leads to an interesting question: Does e-commerce decline on days when TV viewership surges? Or, on the other side of the coin, will people spend more money shopping online if, for example, the big game turns into a boring blowout, or when reruns dominate the airwaves? In a new research paper, “TV’s Dirty Little Secret: The Negative Effect of Popular TV on Online Auction Sales,” Wharton operations and information management professor Shawndra Hill, Oliver Hinz of the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and Ju-Young Kim of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, dug into the data to learn the answer.

In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Hill explains their results, showing that watching TV does appear to substitute for online shopping to a measurable degree.

(watch video & read more)

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