Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 31 Number 4 2015 pp. 182-212

Bundling Effects on Variety Seeking for Digital Information Goods

Adomavicius, Gediminas, Bockstedt, Jesse, and Curley, Shawn P


Prior research with consumable goods has consistently found that consumers have a preference for greater variety when selecting items simultaneously as a bundle, rather than as a sequential series of individual decisions. However, digital information goods have a number of important differences from consumable goods that may impact variety-seeking behavior. In three experiments, we address two general research questions. First, as a precursor to studying digital goods, we disentangle the role of bundle cohesion (i.e., item relatedness) from the role of timing (simultaneous vs. sequential choice) as factors in variety seeking with consumable goods. Next, based on differences between digital and consumable goods, we theorize differences in the behavioral effects of bundle cohesion and timing on variety preferences for digital goods. The results show a reduction of influences upon variety-seeking behavior with digital goods, providing important implications for the sellers of such goods in contrast to what has been suggested for consumable goods. Therefore, a key takeaway is that, for digital goods such as music, the use of consumer-driven bundling variations does not suggest an advantage in terms of their ability to affect consumers’ variety-seeking behavior.

Key words and phrases: variety seeking, digital goods, information goods, bundled goods, simultaneous choice, sequential choice, bundle cohesion