Exploring Online Consumer Behavior

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Running head: ONLINE CONSUMER BEHAVIORS

Exploring online consumer Behaviors

John A. Smith & Jane L. Doe

Liberty University

Abstract
Internet usage has skyrocketed in the past few decades, along with this increase comes the increase in internet shopping by consumers. This research examines the behaviors, motivations, and attitudes of this new form of consumer entity. Online consumer behavior has been studied for over 20 years and will undoubtedly be the source of many future researches as internet consumerism expands. This paper will examine the following research questions: (1) How do factors previously researched affect the online purchasing behavior of consumers and (2) what are the significant consumer behaviors both positive and negative that affect internet consumerism? By identifying these factors and variables, new strategies can be formulated and both consumer and supplier can gain knowledge and understanding of behaviors which exist. The purpose of this research paper is to integrate the varied research information together and draw coherent linkages to how consumer thoughts, attitudes and motivational behavior affect online buying, thus building a broader framework of analysis in which to build upon.

Introduction

The Internet has been accessible to the public for over twenty years. It came upon the scene and has exploded in popularity like few things have ever done in the history of the world. Since the introduction of the World Wide Web, the interest in the value of commerce and individuals has been growing. Skeptical at first, online consumerism has steadily increased and along with it has come some positive and negative behaviors. The purpose of this research is to understand how individual behaviors affect online consumerism. According to Lars Perner, consumer behavior is defined as “the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society” (2008). By identifying the behaviors that support buying online and those which do not, businesses can help to increase profits and will help to assure their share of the market, as electronic trade may well out-step traditional buying in the not to distant future. There are many variables to consider when outlining behaviors of Internet consumerism. According to Delia Vazquez and Xingang XU, online consumer behavior is affected by three main things: “attitudes towards online shopping, motivations, such as price, convenience and hedonic motivations, and online information search” (2009, p.409). If a person is positive about the experience of shopping on the Internet then that attitude will affect the outcome of purchasing online. Also online consumers feel more in control when they can search with relative ease, prices and special offers. This price comparison is in itself, a great motivational tool. The fact that more information is available online concerning products also allows the consumer to feel that better information, will lead to better decision making on their part. Research was conducted through a self-given online questionnaire. Important data was collected concerning the scale items of attitude, motivations and searches of information. The group consisted of students in three different age categories. The first were between 15 and 24. The second group was between 25-34 years old. The last group fell between the ages of 35 and 44. The 35-44 year old group was rated as first in Internet buying. The 25-30 year olds were next, followed by the younger group. A further study was done through the use of email and administered...
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