Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Consumer Heterogeneity, Perceived Value, and Repurchase Decision-Making in Online Shopping: The Role of Gender, Age, and Shopping Motives

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Consumer Heterogeneity, Perceived Value, and Repurchase Decision-Making in Online Shopping: The Role of Gender, Age, and Shopping Motives

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Forrester Research Inc. forecasts that online retailing sales will grow from $263 billion in 2013 to $414 billion in 2018, representing a 9.5 percent compound annual growth rate [Internet Retailer 2014]. By that time, electronic commerce (EC) is expected to account for 11 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. It is believed that the majority of the growth in EC results from existing online shoppers who are spending more time and money in a wider variety of categories [Centre for Retail Research 2014]. As a result, the success of business-to-consumer (B2C) companies relies on their ability to attract customers to revisit the online stores and develop long-term relationships. However, B2C companies often face the fundamental challenge of how to acquire and maintain these consumers [Eid 2011; Lu et al. 2012; Wu et al. 2014].

Consumers' perceived value is the core construct and foundation in all relational exchange activities [Wu et al. 2014], and is a critical factor influencing repeat buying action in online shopping contexts [Chiu et al. 2014]. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the factors affecting consumers' perception of value. Wu et al. [2014] have shown that benefits and sacrifice coalesce perceived value. However, the linear relationships between benefits/sacrifice and perceived value might be contingent upon consumer characteristics, such as gender and age. For example, females and males have different need structures and decision models when shopping online [Zhou et al. 2014]; they may react to the same benefits differently resulting in differences in their perceived value, which in turn can result in a different repurchase intention.

EC has been accepted by a diverse population of users with heterogeneous backgrounds, in terms of age, gender differences, prior knowledge, cognitive styles, and shopping motives. These human factors are key issues for the development of Web-based applications such as EC, which leads to a significant growth into research in that area over the past decade [Chen & Macredie 2010]. Yet, less attention has been drawn to how these human factors differentially affect perceived value in the context of repeat online shopping. A clear understanding of the effects of these human factors and their interplay would allow online vendors to develop tailored strategies for improving repeat sales.

By proposing a conceptual framework based on the means-end chain theory (MEC), this study attempts to explore how two primary consumer characteristics ( gender and age), interact with an important situational variable, i.e. shopping motive, to affect the linear relations between benefits/sacrifice and perceived value from the consumer's perspective. We especially focus on gender and age in the study for the following reasons: (1) the existing literature on gender and age differences related to computer usage found that there are significant impacts of gender and age on attitudes and behaviors related to computers [Yoon & Occeña 2015]; (2) gender and age are two of the most widely recognized and investigated individual factors in EC contexts [Lian & Yen 2014]; (3) understanding gender and age differences is practically of importance because these characteristics can be easily identifiable in marketing practice and accessible in consumer segment strategies, and these differences can hold across cultures [Zhou et al. 2014]. Therefore, gender and age should be considered as two significant factors that can influence or moderate the relationships between relational benefits (i.e. product quality and e-service quality) and perceived value in EC.

This study contributes to the consumer behavior and e-commerce literature in the following perspectives. First, this research provides a response to scholars' call for in-depth investigations into understanding individual differences in online consumer behavior research [Meyers-Levy & Loken 2015; Zhou et al. 2014]. …

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