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E‐commerce adoption in the retail sector: empirical insights

Ralitza Nikolaeva (School of Business Administration, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 April 2006




To investigate the determinants of e‐commerce adoption in the retail sector using duration analysis.


The study proposes a conceptual model based on technology adoption and population ecology models. It identifies specific determinant factors organized under three areas: perceived benefits, organizational readiness, and external influences. Duration analysis is applied to data on 392 retailers.


Organizational readiness and external influences were the main driving factors of the adoption decision. There is no strong support for the perceived benefits construct. This suggests that e‐commerce adoption was to a great extent responsive to external pressures.

Research limitations/implications

Major limitations include insufficient data. Future research can collect other types of data. Other extensions include the investigation of the effect of e‐commerce adoption, the construction of a formal theoretical model, and the collection of data from other countries.

Practical implications

The study provides guidelines to entry anticipation. It appears that many retailers mimetically responded to the online entry of other retailers. Managers should be also aware of the suitability of e‐commerce adoption to their organization. In order to be proactive, firms can put more emphasis on internal factors and rely less on outside signals in their strategies.


The paper investigates the e‐commerce adoption decision among retailers using a unique database collected from public sources, avoiding potential subjectivity bias. It traces the timing of e‐commerce adoption incorporating both fixed and time‐varying covariates.



Nikolaeva, R. (2006), "E‐commerce adoption in the retail sector: empirical insights", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 34 No. 4/5, pp. 369-387.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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