The Role of Social Media Usage and Engagement on Purchase Intentions for Fashion Brands

The Role of Social Media Usage and Engagement on Purchase Intentions for Fashion Brands

Marsela Thanasi-Boçe, Jusuf Zeqiri, Selma Kurtishi-Kastrati
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJESMA.300269
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This study aimed to examine the impact of fashion brand attachment on customer’s purchase intention and the role of social media usage and engagement on this relationship. The data were collected through surveys distributed randomly to 404 social media users in Albania during April 2020. PLS-SEM was used to analyze the relationships between Fashion Brand Attachment (FBA), Social Media Usage (SMU), Social Brand Engagement (SBE), and Purchase Intentions (PI). SMU integrated the social media activity during the coronavirus pandemic, motives, and frequency use of various platforms. The overall model revealed a positive impact of FBA in SBE and PI, indicating that customers with a stronger attachment to fashion brands show a higher commitment to purchase and recommend them to others. The results highlighted that SMU does not contribute directly to generate committed buyers, but moderates the FBA-SBE relationship, indicating an indirect influence on the intentions to purchase fashion brands.
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The fashion industry generates $2.5 trillion globally in annual revenues and is one of the biggest industries in the world. As a result, it greatly boosts employment (Mckensey, 2019).

The nature of communication in the fashion industry (Anwar, 2017) has dramatically changed in the last two decades due to the evolution of the internet and new technologies (Godey et al., 2016). The social component introduced with the development of Web 2.0 has turned customers into active participants of the business process (Chan and Astari, 2017). This new communicative setting has led to companies developing a presence on social media aiming to strengthen their relationships with customers.

Social media has been identified as an effective mechanism for realizing firms’ marketing aims; the mechanism is especially useful for facilitating communication with customers and relationship management (Alalwan et al., 2017). However, authors posit that there is a scarcity of social media research in some areas of marketing such as relationship marketing and marketing performance (Amanda et al., 2016). Furthermore, research results have been unclear regarding the impact of social media on brand loyalty building (Ahmad et al., 2020). Geissinger and Laurell’s study (2016) showed that the general and diverse setting of fashion-oriented social media applications seems to exhibit few brand activists and loyalists. Instead, users of social media are seeking a variety of fashion brands rather than developing loyalty for specific brands. Fashion retail varies depending on the country due to many factors, such as shopping motivations, preferences, behaviors, and social media usage (Parker and Wenyu, 2019).

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has caused economic recession all over the world in 2020, and it has highly affected the fashion sector. According to Mckinsey survey results (2020), 75 percent of shoppers in Europe and the United States were pessimist about their financial situation in the upcoming months. As a result of uncertainty and abiding social distancing recommendations, consumer behavior has changed.

Dublin-based Digital Marketing Institute (2020) reported that the brick-and-mortar shopping revenues of more than two-thirds of firms in the fashion industry experienced a decline in revenues during the first quarter of 2020. COVID-19 has redefined the customer experience; it has led to a massive consumer shift toward online shopping as a safe and convenient alternative. As a result, it has created an environment that demands an intensification of digital efforts (Jain and Mishra, 2020).

Brand engagement in social media is broadly discussed in the literature, but the social media engagement in the relevant studies are poorly conceived (Schultz and Peltier, 2013). Understanding social media usage patterns as an antecedent of social brand engagement and its role in consumer purchasing behavior is of great importance for brand managers when designing effective social media marketing strategies. Therefore, the study conceptualized social media usage by integrating three components; the frequency of use, the motives for engagement in social media, and the social media activity level during the coronavirus pandemic.

Considering the gaps in the literature, the research objectives of this study are the following.

First, to investigate the direct effect of fashion brand attachment (FBA) on customers’ purchase intentions (PI) and fashion brand engagement in social media (SBE). Second, to test whether social media usage (SMU) during the pandemic does have moderating effects on the FBA-PI and FBA-SBE relationships. Third, to examine the FBA-PI relationship in a social media setting.

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