Patterns of Individual Shopping Behavior

  • Krumme C
  • Cebrian M
  • Pentland A
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Much of economic theory is built on observations of aggregate, rather than individual, behavior. Here, we present novel findings on human shopping patterns at the resolution of a single purchase. Our results suggest that much of our seemingly elective activity is actually driven by simple routines. While the interleaving of shopping events creates randomness at the small scale, on the whole consumer behavior is largely predictable. We also examine income-dependent differences in how people shop, and find that wealthy individuals are more likely to bundle shopping trips. These results validate previous work on mobility from cell phone data, while describing the unpredictability of behavior at higher resolution.

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  • Coco Krumme

  • Manuel Cebrian

  • Alex Pentland

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