Rethinking Decision Making in the Digital Society

How does digitization influence the purchasing decisions of consumers? We investigate the effects of digital consumer behavior on important phases of the decision-making process.



Decision making is a central research area in the social sciences and psychology. Accordingly, numerous studies provide information on how individuals make their purchasing decisions. However, previous studies primarily examined the phenomenon in an analogous context. At present, therefore, there is no systematic consideration of the question of the extent to which digitization is changing the consumer decision-making process.

Course of action

In a field experiment, the test subjects will make two concrete consumption decisions - once with and once without digital aids. The subjects will record their decision process in an electronic diary and then reflect on it. The study will also take into account contextual factors, such as the product category, the social relevance of the decision or the personality traits of the subjects.


The first central results of the project were presented at a symposium in September 2020. These include the realization that decision-making situations in which digital media play a central role, as well as situations in which digital media must not be used, can both lead to a lack of empowerment of the individual. This in turn, leads to decision regret. However, different mechanisms are are causing the lack of empowerment in both situations. Family and friends are a central instrument which is used in both scenarios to resolve the lack of empowerment.

Looking ahead

The comprehensive results of the project will be published in an academic article in 2021.