Cross-Cultural Study of Online User Behavior in Fashion E-Commerce: A Comparison of Britain and China

Cross-Cultural Study of Online User Behavior in Fashion E-Commerce: A Comparison of Britain and China

Fanke Peng (University of Canberra, Australia), Ni An (Southwest University, China) and Alessandra Vecchi (University of the Arts London, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2599-8.ch054
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Abstract

Adopting the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) – perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use (Davis, Bagozzi, & Waeshaw, 1989) and Customer Buying Decision Process (Engel, Kollat, & Blackwell, 1968), this research examines the role of culture in influencing online shopping use, comparing differences across two continents and countries: Britain and China. Qualitative data obtained through the semi-structured focus group interviews was analysed using content analysis, which involves examining the accumulated data for ideas and constructs that have been pre-determined. The TAM held for the U.K. This project also explores whether the relationships hold for the emerging Chinese market.
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Introduction

Online apparel shopping developed rapidly, and the study of online shopping behavior is always evolving accordingly. The importance of user behavior study for technology adoption and buying decision has long been established (Engel, Kollat and Blackwell, 1968; Davis, 1989; Griffin et al., 2005; Smit, Van and Voorveld, 2014; Kharitonov, 2014). The current quantitative research focused on the application of cognitive and affective involvement as antecedents to technology acceptance model (TAM) (Smith, Deitz, Royne, Hansen, and Grunhagen, 2011). The objective presented in this chapter has been to link TAM with buying decision process for a cross-cultural study of online user behavior.

In recent years, the Chinese market is the fastest growing market. The top 10 countries, ranked by online retail sales (in billions of US dollars) worldwide 2015, are China ($562.66), US ($349.06), UK ($93.89), Japan ($79.33), Germany ($73.46), France ($42.62), South Korea ($36.76), Canada ($28.77), Russia ($20.30) and Brazil ($18.80) (eMarketer 2015). Furthermore, recent statistics by Forrester Research Inc, eMarketer, and The Centre for Retail Research predict that online retail revenue accounted for 5.9% of the total retail market worldwide in 2014, or $1.316 trillion. By 2018, that share will increase significantly to 8.8%. More and more Chinese e-commerce sites attracted attention globally, such as Ali Express, Taobao and Tmall.

China and the US are by far the world’s leading ecommerce markets, together worth more than 55% of global online retail sales in 2014. China’s predicted growth over the next five years will widen the gap between the two countries, and China is expected to exceed $1 trillion in retail ecommerce sales by 2018, accounting for more than 40% of the worldwide total. The US is expected to maintain its position as the second-largest retail ecommerce market in 2018, totalling nearly $500 billion in sales, while it is predicted that the UK will account for about one-quarter of that figure, landing in a distant third place (eMarketer, 2015).

According to Retail Week Reports, the UK Fashion Retail Sector was valued at over £46 billion in 2014. The direct value of the UK fashion industry to the UK economy was £26 billion in 2014; up from £21 billion in 2009, showing an increase of 22% in nominal terms (British Fashion Council, 2014; Oxford Economics, 2014). UK online fashion sales in 2014 were estimated over £7.5 billion (Retail Week Report, 2015). The market for online fashion continues to see robust growth for the following reasons: consumers becoming more accustomed to shopping online; increased participation in shopping via smartphones and tablets, which has helped to bolster sales for apparel shopping anytime and anywhere; and a combination of different channels available to consumers to shop for clothes. Retailers have to ensure that shopping is truly seamless and that they give customers a consistent shopping experience whatever channel they choose to use (Mintel, 2015; CIO, 2015).

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