The Relationship between Personality Traits and Online Shopping Motivations

Article excerpt

With the rapid development of electronic commerce, the Internet has become a major shopping vehicle. Various motivations are important in determining consumers' willingness to shop online (To, Liao, & Lin, 2007). Previous researchers have found that the factors that influence shoppers to engage in Internet shopping include convenience, selection, availability of information, lack of sociality, cost saving, customized products, adventure, sociality, fashion, value, and authority (To et al., 2007). Many researchers have explored individual motivations by identifying conceptual factors to elucidate Internet purchase behavior. However, few have examined online purchase motivations.

Personality traits may be a source of motivation, as personality is considered to be a crucial factor in various contexts (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Teng, Huang, & Tsai, 2007). By determining the influence of personality traits on individual motivations to shop on the Internet, one can examine what influences online shopping behavior. However, the relationship between personality traits and online shopping behavior has seldom been explored (Bosnjak, Galesic, & Tuten, 2007). The aim in this study was to investigate the relationship between personality traits and online shopping motivations.


As the most popular typology of personality traits, the Big Five model measures the most salient aspects of personality (Yamagata et al., 2006). The model addresses openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (Avery, 2003; McCrae & Costa, 1987). Those with a high degree of openness are typically curious, creative, and imaginative (Bakker, Van Der Zee, Lewig, & Dollard, 2006). Conscientious people are often organized, efficient, systematic, self-disciplined, and prepared for the future (Major, Turner, & Fletcher, 2006). Extraverts are inclined to favor social activities and intense personal interactions (Bakker et al., 2006). Those with a high level of agreeableness tend to be cooperative, considerate, and generous (Saucier, 1994). Neurotic persons typically express negative emotions when in stressful situations (Van Heck, 1997). Although the Big Five play a crucial role in predicting workplace outcomes (such as job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior), their effect on online shopping motivations has remained largely unexamined. Since these five factors have been proven to be positively related to motivations in online gaming contexts (Landers & Lounsbury, 2006), investigating the relationship between personality traits and online shopping motivations is important for increasing our understanding of this growing phenomenon.

To et al. (2007) identified 11 motivations for Internet shopping based on both utilitarian and hedonic perspectives. In this study we selected five motivations that were likely to be associated with the five personality factors, namely, adventure, idea, sociality, lack of sociality, and convenience. To et al. (2007, p. 777) defined adventure as encountering something novel and interesting, and experiencing joy of exploration during the process of shopping. Idea has been defined as the fact that on the Internet, shoppers can find, evaluate, and understand the information about brands, products, and new trends and receive pleasure in the process. Sociality refers to the fact that Internet shoppers can share information and shopping experiences with those who have the same interest online. Lack of sociality refers to the fact that on the Internet, shoppers do not have to worry about bargaining with sales people, boring their companions, or worrying about others around them. Finally, convenience, in terms of online shopping, can be defined as a comfortable and convenient shopping environment which is not limited by time, space, or weather.


Openness has been characterized in relation to curiosity (Bakker et al. …