Who do We Listen to More: Opinion Leaders or Friends? The Social Function of Conformity Behavior in Social Commerce

Jia, Yanli
Liu, Libo
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Online social information (e.g., product ratings and product purchase) is widely available on the social commerce sites and is believed to affect user purchase decisions. Drawing from the prior research on online conformity, we examine any differential impact of the online social information generated by opinion leader versus friends. By analyzing a large-scale data collected from a social commerce site, we found that user purchase decisions are influenced by the online social information both by opinion leaders and by friends. However, the information by friends has greater effect in comparison to that by opinion leaders. In addition, our results indicated that female users demonstrate greater tendency to conform to friends than opinion leaders, but not for male users. This study contributes to the existing literature by explaining how different types of social information influence users’ purchase decision and identifying the moderating role of gender on it. The results offer important and interesting insights to research and practice.
conformity behavior, gender, herding, opinion leader, social commerce, user purchase decision
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