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Drivers of the long tail phenomenon: an empirical analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by O Hinz, J Eckert, Bernd SkieraBernd Skiera
The Internet makes it easy to offer large assortments of products, tempting managers to chase the “long tail”—that is, the phenomenon in which niche products gain a significant share of demand among all products. Yet few studies empirically examine the existence and drivers of this long tail phenomenon. This study uses a unique data set with 843,922 purchases from 143,939 customers that a monopolistic video-on-demand operator observed over 111 weeks after its launch of the service. The current analysis centers on the effects of increasing assortment sizes and improved search technologies on measures of the long tail, such as per customer demand, the share of products purchased from the assortment, the distribution of demand across products, and the concentration of demand. Increases in assortment sizes and better assortment quality lead to increases in demand per customer and a longer tail. The length of the tail (i.e., share of purchased products) is also driven by new customers and seasonal effects, such as school vacations, whereas the presence of high-quality blockbuster products shortens the tail. Different search technologies can shift demand toward niche products as well as toward blockbuster products.

History

Journal

Journal of management information systems

Volume

27

Pagination

43-69

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

0742-1222

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal, C Journal article

Copyright notice

2011, The Authors

Issue

4

Publisher

Routledge