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Why do consumers resist digital innovations? An innovation resistance theory perspective

Manish Talwar (University of Mumbai Alkesh Dinesh Mody Institute for Financial and Management Studies, Mumbai, India)
Laura Corazza (Department of Management, University of Turin, Turin, Italy)
Rahul Bodhi (School of Business, UPES, Dehradun, India)
Areej Malibari (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, College of Engineering, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 28 February 2023




Despite the efforts of governments and firms, consumer resistance toward digital innovations in the retail finance space continues to manifest rather visibly. Yet, the causes of consumer resistance toward innovations such as online procurement of financial products continue to remain under-explored. The present study attempts to address this gap by examining barriers that may constitute Indian consumers' resistance to buying financial products marketed digitally, using insurance as an exemplar. Precisely, the study measures five classic innovation resistance theory (IRT) barriers constituting consumers' resistance toward procuring digitally marketed insurance and examines the influence of consumers' demographic characteristics, measured through age and gender.


The conceptual model, resting on the theoretical proposition of IRT, was tested using data collected from 420 smartphone users. Given that, the data did not satisfy the multivariate assumptions of normality, homoscedasticity and linearity, artificial neural network approach was used for analysis. The analysis served as the basis for determining the relative importance of the five barriers in influencing consumer resistance.


The results indicated that the image barrier was the most influential barrier impacting consumer resistance, followed by usage, tradition, risk and value barriers. Moreover, as revealed by the values of correlations, the direction of influence was positive. Notably, the relationship of all barriers except tradition with consumer resistance was found to be nonlinear.


The study makes a novel contribution in two ways – one by extending IRT to a new area, i.e., resistance to buying financial products online, thereby further enhancing its applicability, and the other by exploring consumer resistance to e-procurement of life and nonlife insurance, which to the best of the authors' knowledge, has not been examined so far despite the established exigency.



This work was supported by Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University Researchers Supporting Project number (PNURSP2023R151), Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Talwar, M., Corazza, L., Bodhi, R. and Malibari, A. (2023), "Why do consumers resist digital innovations? An innovation resistance theory perspective", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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