How do Consumption Values Influence Online Purchase Intention among School Leavers in Malaysia?

Author:Ramayah, T.
 
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1 Introduction

Shopping is a social experience and social networking enables consumers to interact (Pookulangara & Koesler, 2011). Today's consumers increasingly use technology as an effective tool for shopping on online platforms. The emergence of online shopping triggered by information technology (IT) has been revolutionary in the context of a global market setting (Sin, Nor, & Al-Agaga, 2012). In fact, online shopping has prompted the growth of internet-based commerce around the globe as it is convenient and appropriate for consumers (Javed, Nazam, Ahmad, Nadeem, & Qadeer, 2015). Additionally, the acceptance of Web 2.0 has opened the door to building a new world of collaboration and communication. According to Gopi and Ramayah (2007), the internet emerged as a result of the convergence between telecommunication and computers, which has transfigured business processes and operations. Scholars have credited internet retailing as one of the rapid emergent distribution channels for trade (Ramayah & Ignatius, 2005). In this regard, it is relevant to mention that internet retailing has grown exponentially around the globe (Verma, Sharma, & Sheth, 2015) and was expected to reach USD 1.7 trillion by the end of 2015 (San Lim, Omar, & Thurasamy, 2015). Borderless geography in cyberspace has created enormous opportunities for almost everyone around the globe and Malaysia as a developing country is no exception to this (Sin et ah, 2012). In Malaysia, scholars have observed a major directional shift from purchasing in physical stores to online purchasing in the retailing industry (Ling, Daud, Piew, Keoy, & Hassan, 2011). Despite the numbers of online purchases increasing across countries, scholars have put forward that the growth of online purchasing in Malaysia is still slow compared to the global trend (Samuel, Balaji, & Kok Wei, 2015; San Lim et ah, 2015). It is important to mention that online purchasing is carried out virtually, therefore placing more importance on consumers' purchase judgments (Park, Lee, & Han, 2007). In the context of purchase judgments, pundits have pointed to the significance of consumer value, which is also labelled as a global phenomenon (Sweeney & Soutar, 2001). Therefore, business managers in online shopping must understand consumer value, which is represented by consumption value (Woodruff, 1997), as theorised by Sheth, Newman, and Gross (1991). Conceptualisation of the consumption values of online purchasers will enable an understanding of online purchasing intention among internet users in Malaysia. Research shows that around fifty-eight percent of internet users consider going online to be a frustrating and overwhelming activity (Dai, Forsythe, & Kwon, 2014). In this context, several studies have been conducted to frame the online purchasing intention of the Malaysian populace. One such study involved identifying the factors that influence intentions to use internet stock trading platforms among investors in Malaysia (Ramayah, Rouibah, Gopi, & Rangel, 2009). Because a comparatively slow progression of online purchasing has been detected in Malaysia, it is worthwhile to carry out research on intention to purchase online in this context by bringing in the consumption value model. Therefore, the objective of this study is to reveal the possible relationship between the dimensions of the consumption value model and intention to purchase online. It is anticipated that statistically identifying the probable consumption values underlying the intention to purchase online will add scholastic merit to the field of consumer behaviour and e-commerce research. Specifically, this study will further deepen the knowledge on values that influence consumers' intentions in online shopping. In order to accomplish the objective, this paper will illustrate the theoretical background and conduct a literature review in the next section. Subsequently, this study proposes a research framework, which will be followed by the research methodology and findings. Finally, this paper ends with a discussion on the statistical findings.

2 Theoretical Background and Literature Review

Purchasing intention over the counter (OTC) in shopping centres and, recently, via online shopping, has become an interesting area for worthwhile research. Even though extensive research has been carried out to reveal the predictors and outcomes of intention to purchase, it is still considered to be a domain for further studies as it can be driven by a diverse range of psychological, philosophical, social, and economic factors. Intention has been defined by scholars as a perception of an individual leading to the performance of a specific behaviour or the subjective probability of the relationship between a person and action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1977; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). In the theory of reasoned action (TRA), the scholars concerned revealed the predictive relationship of attitude and subjective norms with intention (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). However, afterwards in an attempt to extend the TRA, the antecedent of intention was found to be the attitude towards the behaviour, the subjective norm, and the degree of perceived behavioural control, which is known as the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) (Ajzen & Driver, 1992). In another theoretical perspective, which is the technology acceptance model (TAM), Davis (1989) validated perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use as antecedents of intention. Meanwhile, Chau and Hu (2001) proposed a decomposed theory of planned behaviour (TPB), where TAM and TPB were integrated and perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, attitude towards behaviour, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control were modelled as the antecedents of intention. However, in the area of consumer research, one of the significant theories is consumption value theory, which depicts the value reasons for a certain consumer's choice.

The Consumption Value Model

Products and services are the core element in any business transaction (Johnson, Christensen, & Kagermann, 2008). Nowadays, the majority of business transactions are carried out through the internet, where online purchasing plays a vital role. There are many factors that influence consumers' intentions when making the decision to purchase a product or service. For example, in the domain of online purchasing, consumer value accounts for a significant part of academic research. (Childers, Carr, Peck, and Carson (2002); Kim (2002); Overby and Lee (2006)). Because retail consumers are value driven, it is important for the stakeholders concerned to focus their attentions on consumer value related issues (Sweeney & Soutar, 2001). There have been various attempts to define consumer value, with an assortment of thoughts from a number of perspectives in the customer oriented management domain, showing great interest in value in various research areas. For instance, Schechter (1984) defined value as all aspects, both qualitative and quantitative, as well as subjective and objective, that make up the whole shopping experience. Zeithaml (1988) defined value as consumers' overall assessment of the utility of a product based on perceptions of what is received and what is given, even though what is given and what is received varies between consumers. Later on, the notion of value was adjusted slightly with the proposition by Woodruff (1997), where it was defined as customers' perceived inclination for and assessment of those product features, quality performances, and results arising from their goals and intentions. Value is commonly seen as a key tool for understanding human behaviours and doing business (Sheth et ah, 1991; Sweeney & Soutar, 2001; Woodruff, 1997). However, 'why consumers buy' is one of the fundamental questions that are asked in consumer behaviour, as well as marketing and economics literature. In this regard, according to Turel, Serenko, and Bontis (2010), value components, such as emotional value, value for money, and quality, are used as the basis upon which consumers develop their choice behaviour and are captured in the consumption value perception. Sheth et al. (1991) amalgamated a theoretical framework drawn from economics, psychology, sociology, marketing, and consumer behaviour, which postulates that five consumption values influence consumers' choice behaviour. This perspective from Sheth et al. (1991) extends the concept of value illustrated by Bolton and Drew (1991) and Cravens, Holland, Lamb, and Moncrief (1988), as it enables values beyond monetary aspects to be considered. According to consumption value theory, consumer choice is a function of multiple consumption values (Turel et al., 2010), which leads to an understanding of actual consumer behaviour in a market choice situation (Sheth etah, 1991). In a similar manner, Engstrom, Styven, Wallstrom, and Salehi-Sangari (2015) illustrated that values make varying contributions to choices among consumers. For some time, one of the key influential factors in consumer choice was considered to be functional value (Sweeney & Soutar, 2001). However, Sheth et al. (1991) found that other value dimensions, such as social value, emotional values, conditional value, and epistemic value were also influential in some situations. According to Sheth et al. (1991) functional value is the perceived utility that is derived from a product's physical, utilitarian, or functional attributes. In the words of Long and Schiffman (2000), functional value is based on the intrinsic value of the product or service rather than on any extrinsic value. Social value is derived from an alternative association with an identified demographic, socioeconomic, cultural, or ethnic group (Sheth et al., 1991). Consumers who are driven by social value are expected to choose in accordance with groups to which they belong, identify with, or aspire to belong (Long & Schiffman, 2000). As illustrated by Sheth et al. (1991)...

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