The time-harried shopper: Exploring the differences between maximizers and satisficers

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Schwartz and his colleagues have proposed individual differences in consumer decision goals. Maximizers are those who always strive to make the best possible decision, whereas satisficers are those who are usually willing to settle for a "good enough" option. In this study, we explore the influence of the maximizing trait in situations where consumers have to make quick purchase decisions. The context for our empirical study is online gift purchases made under a time constraint. The results support our predictions that maximizers (vs. satisficers) engage in more prepurchase browsing behavior and also perceive more decision time pressure. Furthermore, these effects are moderated by the size of the available choice assortment. The results also show that maximizers are more likely to change their initial time-constrained choices if given the opportunity to do so. We discuss the implications of the research for the study of individual differences in consumer behavior and also for customizing retail sales and Internet marketing tactics based on buyer segmentation.