Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Hispanics' Information Search and Patronage Intentions Online

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Hispanics' Information Search and Patronage Intentions Online

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

In the last decade, the Hispanic population of the United States has grown exponentially. The purchasing power of Hispanics in the United States exceeds $870 billion. However, little is known about Hispanics' information-seeking and online-purchase behaviors. This study attempts to fill the gaps in the existing literature. We develop a model of Hispanics' online information seeking and purchase behaviors using the Model of Online Pre-Purchase Intentions (MOPI) and test the new model via LISREL. As suggested by MOPI, the results confirm that Hispanics' intentions to search for information online and their prior purchase experience lead to intentions to purchase online. The study, based on a sample of Hispanic Americans, confirms that ethnic identification, perceived behavioral control, prior purchase experience, and household income play important roles in affecting Hispanics' online information seeking and purchase intentions. The findings also suggest that online stores should concentrate on young, affluent, and educated Hispanic Americans with high degrees of ethnic identification because they are more likely to purchase online. Conclusions and implications are discussed.

Keywords: Hispanic American, information search online, patronage online, e-tailing, ethnic identification

1. Introduction

The Hispanic-American population constitutes 15% of the U.S. population; it is younger and growing six times faster than the rest of the population [U.S. Census Bureau 2008]. The size of this burgeoning market segment is also reflected in its buying power, which is increasing at a much faster rate than non-Hispanics' buying power [Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2006] and exceeds $870 billion [Dodson 2007]. Furthermore, Hispanic Americans are surfing the Internet to buy products and services and/or to acquire information in record numbers. According to Fox and Livingston [2007], in 2006 more than 24 million or 53% of Hispanic Americans were Internet users. In addition, 77% of Hispanic-American Internet users surf the Internet to learn about brands, 75% to learn about specific features, and 72% to check prices [eMarketer 2006]. A recent study by media giant, Yahoo! Telemundo, also suggests that the Internet usage of Hispanic Americans is multifaceted [Contacto Magazine 2007]. In 2001, the average Hispanic American made six purchases online, spending a total of $547 per year [Valenzuela 2007].

Finally, Ambicultural [2008] reports that Hispanic-American Internet shoppers spend 7% more than the average non-Hispanic shopper. Clearly, the Web presents businesses with excellent opportunities to pursue the online Hispanic-American market. Still, little published research investigates the factors associated with online information search and online patronage of this important market. In addition, online behavioral differences caused by the level of identification with Hispanic culture remain under researched. Hispanic Americans, though they share a cultural background, are not a monolithic group; they display behavioral differences related to their identification with Hispanic values and beliefs [e.g., Desphande et al. 1986; Romero 2004; Telles and Ortiz 2008; Webster 1992]. While the countries of origin of Hispanic Americans are diverse, their level of adaptation to the U.S. mainstream culture, as displayed by their identification with the Hispanic culture, is a more important predictor of Hispanic Americans' consumer behavior [Kara and Kara 1996]. Additionally, significant differences on information search [Webster 1992] and behavioral intentions [Villareal and Peterson 2008] have been found between strong and weak Hispanic identifiers.

This study fills the gap in the existing literature by applying MOPI [Shim et al. 2001] while controlling for ethnic identification and certain demographic variables to understand online information search and the online patronage intentions of a national sample of Hispanic-American shoppers (see Figure 1). …

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