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How closely should you eye your online shopping cart? | PBS NewsHour

Although online prices are “stickier” than economists might guess, the proliferation of dynamic pricing means online prices might soon start swinging more often. Photo by Johnnie Davis via Getty Images.

Online shopping has been convenient for more than just shoppers, who no longer need to leave their computers. For retailers, the Internet allows them to change prices in an instant. And yet, they don’t. Or at least they haven’t yet adopted this as a widespread practice.

That surprised economists. A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper analyzed daily prices of more than 27,000 online retailers and more than 50,000 goods from May 2010 to February 2012, using information from a global shopping site with multiple sellers (think pricegrabbers.com or Google Shopping.) The data the researchers used also provided click rates, or how often a shopper looks at a particular product, to find if more popular products change price more often.

The results? Online prices do change more often, but still experience major stickiness despite fewer physical barriers.

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How closely should you eye your online shopping cart?

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