New technologies and purchase behaviour. An analysis of the determinant variables in M-shopping/Nuevas tecnologias y comportamiento de compra. Un analisis de las variables determinantes de la decision de compra a traves del movil.

Author:Bigne, E.
 
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  1. Introduction

    The growth in distance shopping and new technological trends offer new ways of influencing and retaining consumers (Martin and Quero, 2004). Practically all products can be purchased quickly, conveniently and from home (Burke, 1997; Forsythe and Shi, 2003; Martinez, Polo and Flavian, 1998; Ruiz and Sanz, 2007; Sivanad, Gesta and Sulep, 2004; Sharma and Sheth, 2004). The presence on the Internet via a website is a new route to generate value by the organisations (Cristobal, 2006; Martin and Quero, 2004).

    The most innovative methods such as Internet and mobile show significant growth rates (Sivanad, Gesta and Sulep, 2004; Yang, 2005) with a tendency for companies to use them alongside other sale systems (Jarvenpaa, Tractinsky, Saarinen and Vitale, 1999; Pavitt, 1997; Swaminathan, Lepkowska-White and Rao, 1999; Wu and Wang, 2004). A review of the literature has revealed a large number of studies on the in-home shopper profile (Darian, 1987; Korgankoar and Moschis, 1987; May and Greyser, 1989; Mulhern, 1997; Peterson, Albaum, and Ridway, 1989; Reynolds, 1974; Ruiz and Sanz, 2007; Wotruba and Pribova, 1995) and the Internet shopper (Dholakia and Uusitalo, 2002; Sim and Koi, 2002; Vrechopoulos, Siomkos and Duokidis, 2001), but in Spain there are hardly any studies on the M-shopper profile (Priede, Talon and Villace, 2005), possibly because this object of study is so new. Furthermore, previous research has shown that the distance shopper develops a positive attitude to innovation (Eastlick and Lotz, 1999; Goldsmith, 2002; O'Cass and Fenech, 2003) and to the adoption of technologies which offer similar benefits to those he or she already uses (Eastin, 2002; LaRose and Atkin, 1992; Rogers, 2003; Yang, 2005), and there is also a lack of research into this aspect.

    Mobile telephony is growing fast, in combination with the development of wireless technology (Hung, Ku and Chang, 2003). Thus while in 2003 there were 94.9 million M-commerce users throughout the world, forecasts for growth in 2008 stand at over 1.5 billion users (Wireless Week, 2004). If we focus on Spain, the number of automatic mobile telephony customers was already at 38.2 million in 2004 with an 89.4% penetration rate (CMT, 2005). It is worth noting that around 52% of end users are prepaid users (CMT, 2005), but the trend is downward as the result of improved contract conditions to gain user loyalty and the demand for personalised services (logos, images and ring tones).

    Despite the increasing number of representative field studies on mobile E-commerce applications and technologies and the different mobile operators and their services (Balasubramanian, Peterson and Jarvenpaa, 2002; Barnes, 2002; Coursaris and Hassanein, 2002; Kumar and Zahn, 2003; Leung and Antipaz, 2001; Netsize, 2005), there are still few studies which analyse the factors influencing purchase behaviour and Mobile E-commerce adoption processes (Coursaris and Hassanein, 2002; NG-Kruelle, Swatman and Rebne, 2002; Sivanad et al., 2004; Yang, 2005). This study, divided into two parts, aims to provide an in-depth study of mobile shopping. The first part is theoretical and includes the literature review and a consideration of the working hypotheses and methodology. The second part, based on an empirical study of a representative sample of 2,343 Spanish Internet users, defines the M-shopper profile and examines the influence of different sociodemographic and behavioural variables on purchase behaviour. The study analyses the influence of sociodemographic profile (gender, age and habitat), surfing experience (exposure to Internet and user experience) and distance shopping experience (Internet shopper seniority) on the mobile shopping decision.

  2. Literature review and hypotheses

    Sociodemographic profile

    If we focus on the demographic characteristics of home shoppers, in general, the higher the head of the household's level of education, income and job, the better the perception of distance shopping (Darian, 1987; Mulhern, 1997; Peterson et al., 1989; Reynolds, 1974; Wotruba and Pribova, 1995). One of the most successful systems of direct sales is Internet. In relation to the sociodemographic profile of the Internet shopper, the literature review reveals that the system's main users are young men, on a high income and university educated (Brennan, 2000; Dholakia and Uusitalo, 2002; Joines, Scherer and Scheufele, 2003; Vrechopoulos, et al., 2001).

    The study of how gender relates to the purchase decision has always been of interest in the academic world, since in many product categories, women make the purchase decision (Dholakia, 1999; Hawfield and Lyons, 1998). If we focus on distance shopping, the influence of gender on the specific behaviour of the collective of shoppers is complex and the literature review offers contradictory results. Thus, several authors state that women are the main users of direct shopping media (Darian, 1987; Peterson, Albaum and Ridgway, 1989; Wotruba and Pribova, 1995). However, the speed and efficiency of purchases through these channels also make them attractive to men (Citrin, Stern, Spangenberg and Clark, 2003; Cross and Madson, 1997).

    Thus, while men's purchase motivations are usually mainly utilitarian (Hofstede, 1999; Steenkamp, Hofstede and Wedel, 1999), social and personal motives (entertainment to break routine, the chance to socialise in a public place, interaction with other consumers, etc.) increase shopping satisfaction and encourage women to continue frequenting brick and mortar establishments. Many women consumers see shopping as a source of stimulation and inspiration and place special value on the act of shopping itself (Bellenger and Korgaonkar, 1980; James and Cunningham, 1987; Kim, 2002; Sim and Koi, 2002).

    In general, consumers think that interaction with sales personnel or the opportunity to socialise with other consumers is lower in virtual channels than traditional ones. On the other hand, virtual channels provide more utilitarian benefits (save time, costs etc...) than the traditional ones. (Rohm and Swaminathan 2004; Ruiz and Sanz, 2007; Trocchia and Janda, 2000). Given that men are mainly guided by utilitarian motivations and women by pleasure, men can be expected to place greater value on the benefits in terms of convenience and price provided by distance shopping channels such as the Internet and the mobile (Citrin et al., 2003; Markus and Kitayama, 1991).

    In view of the above, we posit the following research hypothesis:

    H1) Male internet users are more predisposed to M-shopping than female Internet users.

    Young people are more favourably disposed to change (Modahl, 2000; Mulhern, 1997) and therefore use mobile phones from a very early age (AIMC, 2005). They also have hedonistic and utilitarian motives for using Internet and mobiles. Young people consider mobile phones as a source of information, communication, entertainment and an alternative shopping channel (Bordeau, Chebat and Couturier, 2002; Yang, 2005). The attitude towards innovation and these differentiated needs are one of the main reasons for the growth in personal computers and mobiles in households (Modahl, 2000) since young people feel the need to use these media for something more than just education or work (Bordeau et al., 2002; Joines, Scherer and Scheufele, 2003).

    Thus, users of distance channels will probably be young, as some direct purchase methods involve the individual's capacity to understand the changes and complexities in the new technologies and develop a positive attitude towards them (Mulhern, 1997; Peterson et al., 1989; Wotruba and Pribova, 1995; Rogers, 2003). In contrast, the older segment of the population which has not been exposed to the new technologies at the workplace is very reticent about adopting the new shopping channels, they have no time restrictions and enjoy traditional shopping (Eastman and Iyer, 2004; May and Greyser, 1989).

    Following the literature review we consider the following hypothesis to be of interest;

    H2) Young people are more predisposed to M-shopping behaviour than other Internet users.

    Despite the fact that in its initial stages distance shopping developed mainly in rural areas (May 1989; Reynolds and Darden 1972), nowadays the new information and communication technologies are more prevalent in big towns and it is in the towns where use of new sales channels such as the Internet, television or mobile is developing (CMT, 2005; AIMC, 2005). One of the reasons for this may be that consumers who live in urban centres with technological infrastructures are more cosmopolitan and develop more favourable attitudes towards innovations and new distance shopping channels (Siegel, 2003).

    The literature review also shows that in small population centres distance shopping channels are less necessary as consumers do not mind going shopping because the shops are close by, they place greater value on personal communication and are subjected to less stress, fewer traffic problems, etc. (Bell, Ho and Tang, 1998; Sim and Koi, 2002). Thus for example, the study by Sim and Koi (2002), shows empirically that the ease of travelling to stores in Singapore is one of the main reasons why Internet has not displaced the traditional shopping channels there.

    One of the greatest benefits that mobile telephony provides the user is the mobile locator (Figge, 2004; Gonzalez, 1999), which means the individual can be sent messages he or she needs according to his/her geographical position (for example: at lunch time he/she could receive offers from the nearest restaurants). It is not surprising therefore that this application is used largely by consumers living in large towns, as they have the greatest offer of services (restaurants, leisure centres, etc.) which this medium can provide information on. Mobile terminals thus become an optimum medium for the consumer in large urban centres to receive instantaneous information in the...

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