Passion for Online Shopping: The Influence of Personality and Compulsive Buying

Article excerpt

In this study the relationships among personality traits, harmonious passion, obsessive passion, compulsive buying behavior, and online shopping dependency are examined. An empirical survey of 403 student respondents from a Taiwanese university was conducted. Results show that both harmonious passion and obsessive passion can lead to online shopping dependency; passion is related to compulsive buying behavior, compulsive buyers are more online-shopping-dependent than other consumers. It was also found that three personality traits - openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness - can lead individuals to develop a passion for online shopping activities. These findings may be useful for discussing the influence of personality traits on online shopping activities.

Keywords: harmonious passion, obsessive passion, compulsive buying, online shopping dependency.

With the growing population of internet users, more and more people choose to shop online. Some internet users shop online frequently; such individuals may be "passionate" about online shopping.

Vallerand et al. (2003) divided passion into two categories: harmonious and obsessive. Individuals with harmonious passion can stop the passionate activity voluntarily, that is, they can quit or terminate the activities whenever they wish. However, individuals with obsessive passion cannot do it so easily. What might lead individuals to develop either harmonious passion or obsessive passion for online shopping activities? The present study was designed to address that question.

According to Wang and Yang's (2007) investigation, online consumers with obsessive passion purchased more than those with harmonious passion. As d'Astous (1990) indicated, compulsive buyers purchased extremely frequently. The motivation for compulsive consumers to purchase products is reduction of their negative emotions rather than a strong desire to own the product (O'Guinn & Faber, 1989). The aim of the present study was to understand the relationship between obsessively passionate consumers and compulsive buying behaviors.

Personality traits are stable characteristics which may explain some significant parts of human behaviors. Understanding the influence of personality traits on individuals' passion for online shopping activities will be useful in discussing the determinants of online shopping behavior. However, the linkage between personality traits and online shopping behavior is an underdeveloped research issue (Bosnjak, Galesic, & Tuten, 2007). Because little focus has been placed on the influence of personality traits on shopping activities in previous studies, the aim in the present study was to explore the relationship between personality traits and online shopping passion.


Passion has been defined as a strong inclination for individuals to take part in a particular activity (Vallerand et al., 2003). In other words, individuals with passion devote significantly more time and energy to a particular activity than those without passion. When individuals are passionate about online shopping activities, they are likely to spend significant time and energy shopping online.

Ball-Rokeach and DeFleur (1995) indicated that media dependency might occur when a medium satisfies individuals' needs or allows them to achieve their goals. Dependency may occur when individuals use a particular medium habitually (Rubin & Windahl, 1986). Further, the intensity of dependency may grow, since the medium satisfies individuals' goals (Ball-Rokeach, 1985; Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1995). Therefore, in the present study it is suggested that online shopping dependency might occur while individuals continue to shop online. According to the discussion above, the following hypothesis was developed.

H1: Individuals with passion are dependent on online shopping activities.

The two types of passion, harmonious and obsessive, that Vallerand et al. …


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