Rice expert available to discuss Amazon’s shift on sales tax

David Ruth
713-348-6327
david@rice.edu

Amy Hodges
713-348-6777
amy.hodges@rice.edu

EDITORS NOTE: A high-definition video with commentary from Jones is available in the “related links” section of this release.

HOUSTON — (June 29, 2012) — Online retailing giant Amazon.com has long thumbed its nose at the majority of state tax collectors, but it recently yielded to pressure from state governments facing significant budget shortfalls. Over the next 18 months, the company will more than double the amount of states it collects taxes from, beginning with Texas July 1.

Utpal Dholakia, a professor of management at Rice University, is available to comment on the shift by the online retailer and anticipated consumer reactions.

“In the short term, consumers tend to react very adversely to this type of decision,” Dholakia said. “They sense the difference in prices paid and are faced with a bit of sticker shock. They may buy less or postpone purchasing.”

Despite the initial shockwave to buyers, Dholakia said consumers tend to return to their former buying behavior once they get used to new prices.

“My guess is they’re going to see a similar type of thing happen – a drop in sales followed by stabilization and a return to the way things were,” he said.

Dholakia’s research on online consumer behavior has appeared in the Journal of Marketing Research, Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Marketing and other professional journals. To access his previous and current research papers, click here.

To schedule an interview with Dholakia, contact Amy Hodges, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amy.hodges@rice.edu.

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Related materials:

This release is available online at http://news.rice.edu/2012/06/29/rice-expert-available-to-discuss-amazons-shift-on-sales-tax/.

Utpal Dholakia webpage: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~dholakia

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_Rp-23tilY&feature=youtu.be

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About Amy Hodges

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.