nep-mkt New Economics Papers
on Marketing
Issue of 2023‒02‒27
one paper chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Shopping with Voice Assistants: How Empathy Affects Individual and Family Decision-Making Outcomes By Alex Mari; Andreina Mandelli; René Algesheimer

  1. By: Alex Mari (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich); Andreina Mandelli (SDA Bocconi School of Management, Bocconi University, Milan,); René Algesheimer (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants (VAs) such as Amazon Alexa increasingly assist shopping decisions and exhibit empathic behavior. The advancement of empathic AI raises concerns about machines nudging consumers into purchasing undesired or unnecessary products. Yet, it is unclear how the machine’s empathic behavior affects consumer responses and decision-making outcomes during voice-enabled shopping. This article draws from the service robot acceptance model (sRAM) and social response theory (SRT) and presents an individual-session experiment where families (vs. individuals) complete actual shopping tasks using an ad-hoc Alexa app featuring high (vs. standard) empathic capabilities. We apply the experimental conditions as moderators to the structural model, bridging selected functional, social-emotional, and relational variables. Our framework collocates affective empathy, explicates the bases of consumers’ beliefs, and predicts behavioral outcomes. Findings demonstrate (i) an increase in consumers’ perceptions, beliefs, and adoption intentions with empathic Alexa, (ii) a positive response to empathic Alexa holding constant in family settings, and (iii) an interaction effect only on the functional model dimensions whereby families show greater responses to empathic Alexa while individuals to standard Alexa.
    Keywords: Voice assistant; Voice commerce; Empathy; Shopping behavior; Service robot acceptance model; Social response theory; Voice app
    JEL: E24 J01 J21 L83
    Date: 2023–02

This nep-mkt issue is ©2023 by Marco Novarese. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.