The existence and extent of consumers' external search effort has been deliberated by consumer behaviour theorists for several decades. Research has largely focused on durable goods such as automobiles for which there is a high monetary risk. This study considers a non‐durable product, wine, where there are several hundred alternatives. Furthermore, knowledge of the product's attributes are difficult to assess by visual inspection of the product. Thus it is presumed that consumers would conduct a search for information prior to their purchase, in particular making use of expert opinion by reading wine reviews and books. Results show that there is very little external search effort undertaken prior to entering the store. Furthermore, the two highest ranked information sources, point of sale material and labels, are only rated somewhat important. Overall there is no one overriding information source but several sources cumulate to provide the information consumers require.
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