Author

Jung-Im Seo

Date of Award

5-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Laura Dunn Jolly

Committee Members

Nancy Fair, Allison Young, Ann Fairhurst, Mary Sue Younger

Abstract

Internet sales were less than 2 percent of total consumer spending in 2004 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004) and are projected to increase to 15-20 percent of total consumer spending by 2010 (The Economist, 2000). Some researchers note that the future of retailing depends on the Internet. The Internet is also an important tool for college students because it provides entertainment, socializing and study sources. Although college students were early adopters and heavy users of the Internet, there is a lack of theoretical and empirical research about college students' Internet shopping behaviors. It is important to study college students' Internet shopping behaviors because college students are moving into the adult world. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine college students' Internet shopping behaviors based on product involvement.

This study focused on college consumers' clothing shopping on the Internet. Clothing was studied because it ranks third in college students' spending on the Internet. This study employed the Engel, Blackwell, and Miniard (EBM) Consumer Decision Process model to describe purchasing decisions and Internet shopping behaviors of high and low involvement consumers.

Results are based on responses of 473 college students aged 18 and older. Involvement scores were used to develop low and high involvement groups. High involvement consumers were more likely to seek information on the location of stores and availability of product or service information than the low involvement consumers. While shopping on the Internet, high product involvement consumers scored higher on shopping orientation factors; brand consciousness, individuality, store choice alternatives, and Internet shopping preference, than low product involvement consumers. Moreover, high product involvement consumers were more influenced by commercial and personal information sources than the low product involvement consumers.

The level of product involvement was related to situational influences. The factor "convenience," a situational influence, was rated higher by the low product involvement consumers than high involvement consumers. However, the factor "Internet shopping advantages," a situational influence, was not different for the high and low involvement groups.

Consumers' previous Internet shopping experience increases future intent to purchase on the Internet. Consumers who had previous Internet purchase experience and high involvement had a higher likelihood of future Internet purchasing than consumers who had high involvement and did not have previous Internet shopping experience. Therefore, results indicated that different levels of clothing involvement led to different Internet purchasing behaviors.

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