Understanding How Chinese Consumers Engage in Electronic Word-of-Mouth Communication (eWOM) on Social Media: A Comparison Study Between Opinion Leaders and Non-Opinion Leaders

Understanding How Chinese Consumers Engage in Electronic Word-of-Mouth Communication (eWOM) on Social Media: A Comparison Study Between Opinion Leaders and Non-Opinion Leaders

Yuan Wang (The University of Maryland, College Park, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2020040103

Abstract

Examining a sample of 510 Chinese movie consumers, this study found that social benefits, utilitarian, venting negative feelings, and entertainment are the main reasons that motivate consumers to engage in eWOM activities. In addition, though social media offers consumers an equal access to participate in eWOM communication, people with higher opinion leadership can make better use of ICTs. They showed stronger trust on eWOM information, more willing to seek for and contribute eWOM content, and gratifying more from participating in eWOM activities on social media.
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Literature Review

eWOM Communication and the Movie Industry

eWOM information, which plays an important role in influencing consumers’ purchase decisions, has received considerable attention from both academics and integrated marketing communication (IMC) practitioners (Higie & Feick, 1987; Sundaram & Webster,1998). As a special form of word of mouth (WOM), electronic word of mouth (eWOM) evolves along with the development of the internet and new information communication technologies. eWOM is defined as “any positive or negative statement related to the usage or characteristics of particular products, services, or companies made by consumers through Internet-based technology.” (Litvin et al., 2008; Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004). It often takes a form as online reviews, online opinions and online recommendations (Cantallops & Salvi, 2014).

Although eWOM communication has attracted attentions from academics and industries for decades, limited studies have examined eWOM communication in the movie industry. Movie, as an accessible form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by consumers from all walks of life, has won huge popularity under the context of experience economy (Yeap et al., 2014). Several studies have highlighted the critical roles of eWOM information in consumers’ movie consumptions. For example, Reinstein and Snyder (2005) found that positive review will increase the number of consumers purchasing a movie, especially for narrow release movies. Chintagunta et.al (2010) analyzed the relationship between box office ticket sales data for 148 movies released in the United States and review data from the Yahoo! Movies website, their results showed that the valence of reviews is a main driver of box office performance. However, the scope of previous studies is somewhat limited. On the one hand, the mainstream of eWOM researches focus on understanding the effects of eWOM information, limited studies have examined the motivations that drive eWOM participation. On the other hand, most eWOM studies are conducted in western contexts, there is a dearth of literature that examines eWOM communication in a Chinese context. To fill these gaps, the current study aims to examine what motivates Chinese movie consumers to engage in eWOM communication at social media platforms.

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