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Social network online communities: information sources for apparel shopping

Huiju Park (Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA)
Hira Cho (Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, California State University, Northridge, California, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 7 September 2012




This study aims to understand how social network online communities affect information seeking behavior and decision making for apparel shopping.


An empirical study was conducted using a developed research model that hypothesized the effects of selected variables on information seeking behavior at social network online communities. The analyzed data were 186 samples collected from female college students who had more than three months of experience at a social network online community.


The results confirmed the positive relationship between commitment to a social network online community and information seeking behavior at the community. This relationship was expected to be moderated by individuals' sensitivity to group conformity. A visual inspection of the plot suggested a meaningful implication, but no significant statistical results were identified in a following test. Results also found commitment will be developed when the individuals are psychologically attached to the community.

Research limitations/implications

Generalization of the results in a larger population is cautioned because the collected data represent specific demographics.

Practical implications

Apparel retailers may want to utilize the results of this study to develop an online community representing the company brands. In order to increase members' psychological attachment and commitment to an online apparel brand community, key strategies should be focused on providing active and enjoyable interactions among the community members through unique/creative communication methods, fun experiences, and diverse off‐line events.


It was previously unknown how a social network online community influences apparel consumers' decision making, but this was investigated by the current study.



Park, H. and Cho, H. (2012), "Social network online communities: information sources for apparel shopping", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 400-411.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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