The Influence of Online Social Ties on Consumers' Purchase Intentions

by Amanda; Netterström Tropp

Institution: Jönköping University
Year: 2015
Keywords: purchase intentions; social ties; eWOM; homophily; Social Sciences; Economics and Business; Business Administration; Samhällsvetenskap; Ekonomi och näringsliv; Företagsekonomi; IHH, Företagsekonomi; IHH, Business Administration
Record ID: 1351079
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-26692


<strong>Background: </strong>The advice and opinions given by consumers online have been proven to have a positive influence on consumers purchase intentions. It has previously been established by researchers that consumer-created information is more trustworthy compared to information provided by a seller. As a result, consumers’ eWOM has taken over the stage on the internet. Social media has in comparison to traditional media brought communication to a new level in terms of engaging consumers online. For instance, bloggers nowadays are assumed to be viewed as peers that can generates social ties between a blogger and a blog reader due to a blogger’s credibility. Thus, the power of peer communication is of relevance when considering persuasion in real life as well as online. <strong>Purpose: </strong>The purpose of this study is to examine how eWOM can be a powerful tool through social ties between the source and the receiver when it comes to generating consumers’ purchase intentions. The authors intend to contribute with an understanding of how different sociodemographic factors of homophily and source credibility can potentially have a direct or indirect influence on the persuasion process online. To understand the process of how consumers are persuaded through eWOM the authors examine the relationship between Swedish blog readers and Swedish bloggers and the process of how the readers are absorbing and using the bloggers’ message. <strong>Methodology & Method: </strong>This study was conducted using a qualitative methodology approach. The primary data was collected through interviews and observations. Ten interviews were implemented on the selected sample consisting of women living in Sweden, who are in the ages of 16-25 and read famous Swedish lifestyle blogs. Furthermore, the favourite blogs of the interviewees were observed by the researchers in order to complement the interviews. <strong>Conclusion: </strong>From this research the authors have found that homophily creates social ties between the blog reader and the blogger, and therefore this underpins that the likelihood of persuasion is higher if several factors of homophily exists. However, the factors of homophily are not sufficient on its own to establish a relationship between eWOM and purchase intentions. Rather, source credibility is considered to be the major factor that determines the extent of purchase intentions.