Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Device Switching in Online Purchasing: Examining the Strategic Contingencies

Verhoef, Peter C.
Wiesel, Thorsten
Volume: 82
Number: 5
Pages: 1 - 19
Month: September
ISSN-Print: 0022-2429
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2018
Keywords: mobile, device switching, online conversion, cross-device, perceived risk

The increased penetration of mobile devices has a significant impact on customers’ online shopping behavior, with customers frequently switching between mobile and fixed devices on the path to purchase. By accounting for the attributes of the devices and the perceived risks related to each product category, the authors develop hypotheses regarding the relationship between device switching and conversion rates. They test the hypotheses by analyzing clickstream data from a large online retailer and apply propensity score matching to account for self-selection in device switching. They find that when customers switch from a more mobile device, such as a smartphone, to a less mobile device, such as a desktop, their conversion rate is significantly higher. This effect is larger when product category–related perceived risk is higher, when the product price is higher, and when the customer’s experience with the product category and the online retailer is lower. The findings illustrate the importance of focusing on conversions across the combination of devices used by customers on their path to purchase. Focusing on the conversions on a single device in isolation, as is usually done in practice, significantly overestimates conversions attributed to fixed devices at the expense of those attributed to mobile devices.