Factors motivating South Africans to shop for apparel online.

Barnes, Tamaryn.
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ABSTRACT J.P. Morgan (2011) issued their annual e-commerce report stating that they expect global e-commerce revenues to reach USD 680 Billion in 2011, an 18.9% increase on 2010. This figure is indicative of the growing importance of e-commerce as a viable sales channel in the global economy. South Africa (SA) is still in the early phases of e-commerce adoption with low e-commerce penetration as indicated by Statistics SA (2010). However, World Wide Worx (2010) forecasts an e-commerce boom of 4.6 million local internet users ready to shop online by 2013. Hence, it is becoming increasingly important for online retailers in SA to understand what is driving consumers to shop online if they hope to capitalise on this profitable new sales channel. There is a shortage of academic research within the field of e-commerce, which this study hopes to begin addressing. The purpose of the research is to provide insight into what is motivating South African consumers to adopt online shopping and more specifically, within the apparel sector. The research problem is to investigate online apparel shopping in SA by using the Monsuwé et al. (2004) framework which outlines key attitudes and exogenous factors that may drive consumers’ intentions to shop online. The literature review has attempted to take into account existing academic and commercial research within the scope of the research problem and to provide a holistic picture of all the factors driving attitudes and adoption intent to shop online for apparel within the SA market. The research methodology utilised was quantitative with a positivist approach. An online survey was utilised to capture responses from 1359 SA online users. Structural equation modelling was utilised to represent, estimate and test the network of relationships driving consumers’ attitudes and intent to shop online in SA. The research findings to an extent achieved this purpose. The results indicate which factors are likely to be driving consumers’ attitudes and their intent to shop online in SA. The results indicate how these motivating factors differ between consumers who have shopped online, shopped for apparel online and those that have never shopped online. The resulting models, Figure 4-1, 4-2 and 4-3 are very useful to the e-commerce community as they provide a framework that online retailers can consider when reviewing the adoption of online shopping. The research finding can be used, to some extent, by online retailers to drive intent to shop online amongst consumers especially within the apparel sector. Key findings within the research indicate that a link exists between e-commerce theory and traditional in-store retail theory, which deserves commercial attention. E-commerce has been viewed to an extent as a completely different commercial vehicle with its own set of rules. This research indicates that this is not entirely true. It indicates that the hedonic motives, which have driven consumers to shop for centuries, remain relevant in the online sales channel. Online retailers need to integrate enjoyment into the shopping experience as it translates directly into intent to shop online. Thus, in conclusion, this study has the ability to positively influence the adoption of online shopping and hence the growth of e-commerce within SA. It is not only valuable to apparel retailers but offers unique insight to the entire SA e-commerce community.
MBA 2012
Consumer behavior, Teleshopping, Internet marketing, Clothing trade.