A Study of Online Purchasing Intention During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Lebanese Context

A Study of Online Purchasing Intention During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Lebanese Context

Nasser Fathi Easa (Alexandria University, Egypt) and Soumaya Mounir Kaakour (Beirut Arab University, Lebanon)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJOM.2021070102
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Abstract

This study aims to investigate the impact of selected factors (website quality, website brand, trust, SNS usage through mobile application, eWOM, and mobile phone addiction) on online purchase intention during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also investigates the mediating impact of trust on the association between website quality, website brand, and online purchase intention. Data were collected from 226 Facebook users in Lebanon. The hierarchical regression analysis was used to evaluate the impact of these factors on online purchase intention. The results show that only website brand and mobile phone addiction were significantly related to online purchase intention. It was also found that trust does not have a mediation effect on the relationship between website brand and online purchase intention. However, trust can be considered as a partial mediator of the relationship between website quality and online purchase intention. Finally, practical implications are discussed. Then directions for future research are presented.
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1. Introduction

The widespread pandemic created by COVID-19 generated a health crisis and forced governments to impose a lockdown strategy and to declare a state of emergency. These protective actions created an opportunity for online businesses to grow, as well as for online shopping to increase, which influenced online purchase intentions (Mason et al., 2020). Even though online purchase intention has been widely investigated (Ahn et al., 2007; Chang et al., 2016; Cheng & Huang, 2013; Daliri et al., 2014; Haikal, 2018; Pujadas-Hostench et al., 2019; Prasertsith et al., 2015; Quinton et al., 2008; San Martín & Herrero, 2012; Sokolova & Kefi, 2020; Van der Heijden et al., 2003), however, a very limited number of attempts have considered the factors affecting online purchase intention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The growth of using online purchasing has highlighted some obstacles for online shopping (Duroy et al., 2014; Dagher et al., 2014). The process of online shopping is conducted differently than the traditional one, as it can be more innovative and sophisticated, thus creating different consumer perceptions.

Online shoppers might be influenced by the quality of websites as the path to purchase online by providing information related to the product, before the purchase transaction is executed (Chang & Chen, 2008). The website brand may be another element that entices a consumer to buy, as long as the product meets the performance shown on the website as the original.

Trust is considered a main element in online purchase process (Njite & Parsa, 2005). Dealing with the online purchases entails several types of risk related to product quality, brand, online delivery service, delay in delivery and payment or fraud (Ba & Pavlou, 2002). According to Grabner-Kraeuter (2002), these risks occur for online purchases due to a lack of regulation, but not for offline purchases where a direct connection and clear regulations exist. Therefore, trust is a crucial element for customers in e-commerce (Corbitta et al., 2003).

Social media has an impact on users through a set of internet applications and websites that appear on technological evolutions of Web 2.0 (See-to & Ho, 2013). Social networking sites (SNS) are the trendiest category on social media to ensure interactions among people (See-to & Ho, 2013). Moreover, marketers usually provide information related to their consumers’ needs and interests through a variety of platforms on social networking sites (Baalbaki et al., 2007). There is lack of customer satisfaction with the information reliability, responsiveness and privacy of information posted on social media (Easa, 2019).

Due to the spread use of electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM), gaining information can be more flexible from acquisitions (Baalbaki et al., 2007), which has a significant impact on both consumers and marketers. Consumers widely base their purchase decisions on reviews and feedback found on social media. Customers’ confidence increases if accurate information about desirable products for online purchases can be ensured (Baalbaki et al., 2007). Therefore, the impact of eWOM in social media on online purchase intentions was considered in the literature (See-to & Ho, 2013).

Corporations have provided numerous new sorts of cell phone services (Morosan, 2014), such as online applications, free internet access, and customized cloud-based cell phone entertainment. However, the previous studies missed the consumer-related research (Kim & Law, 2015; Liang et al., 2017). Therefore, this research investigates the effects of customers’ mobile phone addictions on online purchase intentions.

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