Understanding Consumers' Patronage and Purchase Intention on Social Shopping Sites


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Xuepan ZHONG

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Awarding Institution
Award date16 Oct 2013


The Internet revolution and a generation of technological advancements have changed people’s lives in many respects. A lot of consumers have migrated their shopping experience from offline to online shopping engagement and they are increasingly relying heavily on the collective wisdom of their social networks as they seek shopping information and later make purchasing decisions. Along with this trend, social shopping sites have evolved, merging social networking technology and shopping. In recent years, social shopping sites have enjoyed very high user growth rates and have received considerable venture capital.

Though social shopping sites have developed very quickly and received much attention from practice, little attention has been paid to the innovative phenomenon of social shopping sites by researchers in the IS discipline, especially, the purchasing behavior on social shopping sites. Thus, this study aims to fill this gap and investigate the consumers’ patronage intention and purchase intention on social shopping sites.

It is often suggested that people like to shop online because of both the utilitarian and the hedonic value that they can receive. Researchers have also found that one of the most important motivations for consumers to go shopping is to socialize with others and satisfy their social needs. The social shopping sites can to some extent extend users’ social shopping activities to the online world. Thus, in this study, three types of shopping values are investigated. To understand their antecedents of shopping values, a research model was constructed based on the Stimulus-Organism-Response (SOR) framework, incorporating both social influence factors and website design factors as the stimuli. The three types of shopping value are included in the model as intervening processes that mediate the relationships between the stimulus to the behavioral responses of patronage intention and purchase intention.

A survey was conducted in this study, and a total of 349 responses have been collected from registered users of a social shopping site in China. Partial least squares technique was adopted to assess the research model through examination of both the measurement model and structural model. The results show that: 1) the social influence factors of perceived expertise, perceived similarity, perceived benevolence and perceived similarity as well as the website design factor of support for recommendations are all important antecedents of the utilitarian value associated with using the social shopping sites; 2) perceived expertise, perceived similarity, perceived benevolence and support for recommendations are predictors of hedonic value associated with using social shopping sites; 3) perceived similarity, perceived benevolence and support for social interaction are found to be positively associated with social value; 4) all three types of shopping value contribute to consumers’ patronage intention and purchase intention on social shopping sites.

In this thesis I make a theoretical contribution to research on social shopping sites, shopping values and social influence. I also shed light on the behavior of entrepreneurs on social shopping sites as the results can provide practical implications for the design and management of social shopping sites. Lastly, I discuss the limitations of the study and propose directions for future research.