Sellers versus Buyers : Differences in User Information Sharing on Social Commerce Sites

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

30 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-470
Journal / PublicationInformation Technology and People
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Purpose – Social commerce sites offer fertile ground for users to communicate product information. Given that such sites have the potential to transform the way of doing business, it is clearly important for academics to understand user information sharing on social commerce sites. Existing research has considered motivations as core elements of user information sharing in online communities. The purpose of this paper is to advance the theoretical understanding of user information sharing by investigating differences in motivations between the different user types of social commerce sites: sellers and buyers, and the impact on social commerce.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted an empirical study by analyzing data from a social commerce site in China, including panel data (n=892) and survey data (n=913).
Findings – This research showed that user type (i.e. sellers and buyers) plays an important moderating role in user information sharing: sellers exert a positive moderating effect on utilitarian and social motivations, while buyers are found to have a positive moderating effect on hedonic motivation.
Research limitations/implications - This study contributes to existing literature, not only by exploring the antecedents of user information sharing on social commerce sites from utilitarian, hedonic and social dimensions, but also by providing an evaluation of user types (i.e. sellers and buyers). The authors believe that the results of this study offer important and interesting insights for IS research and practice.
Practical implications – This study will enhance social commerce site managers’ understanding of better features for information sharing and differences in motivation between sellers and buyers. This could improve the effectiveness of encouraging strategies and help social commerce sites be more sustainable in the highly competitive contemporary environment.
Originality/value – Based on social exchange theory and motivation theory, this paper takes user types into account, and postulate that user type (i.e. sellers and buyers) plays a moderating role in the relationships between motivations (i.e. utilitarian, hedonic and social motivation) and user information sharing intention on social commerce sites.

Research Area(s)

  • Social networking (e.g. Facebook, second life, E-commerce (B2B/B2C/B2G/G2C), Virtual community, Information sharing, Social capital theory