Saudi Consumers Attitudes Towards Online Shopping: An Attempt Towards Building Online Shopping Framework in KSA

Saudi Consumers Attitudes Towards Online Shopping: An Attempt Towards Building Online Shopping Framework in KSA

Raja Yahya Alsharief (Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/IJOM.2017010102
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Online shopping in the Arab world countries including Saudi Arabia is still very immature in relation to online shopping in developed and/or western countries. However, online shopping data and available statistics illustrate a very good growing trend in online shopping in KSA. This paper aims to develop a framework to understand and evaluate consumers' attitudes towards online shopping in Saudi Arabia. The paper start by examining the different factors affecting consumer attitudes towards online shopping in related literature, then it examines the literature related to consumers' attitudes towards online shopping in Saudi Arabia. Finally, and based on the results of the literature, it develops a framework to understand and evaluate consumers' attitudes towards online shopping in Saudi Arabia. The paper also provides direction for future research in the field.
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1. Introduction

The history of information technology witnessed a significant event with the beginning of the Internet with its ever-growing popularity (Koyuncu and Lien, 2003). Such super-fast growth rate of the internet occurs because of its power and comfort as a medium of communication, entertainment and education and particularly, as a mean of electronic commerce and conducting business electronically (Koyuncu and Lien, 2003). Moreover, the Internet has been marked with special recognition for introducing E-commerce by businesses targeting specific people to sell their products and services. Consumers today enjoy a huge number of online products at online stores only because of the Internet (Demangeot and Broderick, 2010).

Contemporary, cumulative sums of companies have been using the Internet and other electronic media in performing their marketing efforts, giving the chance for Electronic Marketing (as a new marketing phenomenon and philosophy) to raise in a very dramatic and dynamic way in our day-to-day business activities (El-Gohary, 2010a). Meanwhile, E-commerce has got a point to turn on when World Wide Web was introduced in the internet (Lee et al., 2009) with a historical rate of growth and popularity. Businesses were able to develop web pages for their products without investing too much in physical stores (Eighmey, 1997) with online stores that remains open 24/7/365 to the consumers around the entire world (Demangeot and Broderick, 2010).

However, as illustrated by El-Gohary (2009) and El-Gohary et al (2008), the review of the relevant literature revealed that one of the main obstacles in the literature is the unclear way of dealing with the concept and definition of E-Marketing. According to El-Gohary (2009), most of the researchers misused the term E-Marketing; the majority of researchers are using the terms: Electronic Marketing (E-Marketing), Internet marketing, Electronic Commerce (E-commerce), Electronic Business (E-business) as equivalents or a deferent wording for the same meaning, which is incorrect because they are deferent. Furthermore, El-Gohary (2009) argues that Electronic Marketing has a broader scope than internet marketing while in contrast Electronic Commerce and Electronic Business have a wider and broader scope than Electronic Marketing. Figure 1 illustrates the different arguments provided by El-Gohary et al (2008) and El-Gohary (2010a).

Figure 1.

Differences between Internet-marketing, E-Marketing, E-commerce and E-Business Source: El-Gohary (2009)


Meanwhile, the availability of online shopping has dramatically altered the mode of home shopping which has been based on televisions, videotext and paper catalogues (Goldsmith and Flynn, 2004). Therefore, online shopping is not restricted to time or geographic limitations. Again, as there is no space problems in online stores, E-retailers can arrange as many products as they want to display at their online stores. Moreover, prices at online store can be offered less than physical stores to increase competition (Seock and Norton, 2007). Nevertheless, Internet shopping has significantly affected consumers’ buying behaviour. Consumers today, need not to give much effort for choosing alternatives, searching for information, comparing product (good, services, etc.) different features and deciding to purchase as all these are one click away at online stores (Raamat et al., 2008). Furthermore, online shopping is preferred for its: low prices, higher level of convenience, individual care, services quality and easy access to different product information (Seock and Norton, 2007). However, there are some limitations for online shopping; among which is that online consumers cannot feel, see, or touch the product(s) before they purchase them online. Taking this issue in mind, clever online retailers offer the best quality products with customised customer service (as well as customers reviews) so that they do not lose existing consumers rather attract new consumers (Park and Kim, 2003).

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