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Does gender really matter? Exploring determinants behind consumers' intention to use contactless fitness services during the COVID-19 pandemic: a focus on health and fitness apps

Yonghan Zhu (School of Public Policy and Administration, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)
Rui Wang (School of Economics and Business Administration, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)
Rongcan Zeng (School of Law, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)
Chengyan Pu (School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 18 March 2022

536

Abstract

Purpose

This research created a theoretical framework based on theory of consumption values (TCV) and theory of perceived risk (TPR) to investigate the determinant factors behind consumers' intention to use health and fitness apps during the COVID-19-related lockdown. In addition, based on selectivity hypothesis theory (SHT), this study also explored how gender differences moderate the relationships between the determinants and consumers' behavioral intention.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 613 respondents completed a self-reported online questionnaire. Structural equation modeling was conducted to test the role of potential determinants in influencing consumers' behavioral intention. Hierarchical multiple regression was performed to examine the moderating effect of gender.

Findings

The findings of this research revealed that physical appearance, general health, enjoyment, affiliation and condition have positive influences on consumers' behavioral intention, while privacy risk and security risk exert negative impact on consumers' behavioral intention. More importantly, the moderating results indicated that only affiliation, privacy risk and security risk have stronger influences on female, while other predictors showed the same effects on both genders.

Practical implications

Fitness providers should embrace health and fitness apps as a new contactless tool to offer services during and after the COVID-19-related lockdown. Fitness providers and app developers need to focus more on the utility and quality of their health and fitness apps. In addition, they should add more gamification elements to health and fitness apps because these elements could increase consumers' hedonic experience especially during the lockdown. Third, the security systems in health and fitness apps should be continuously updated to decline privacy risk during and after the COVID-19-related lockdown. Lastly, when female consumers are targeted during the lockdown, fitness providers should make more efforts to imbue health and fitness apps with more social features and improve the level of security.

Originality/value

Although the importance of contactless technologies has been highlighted ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been very little research on the usage of health and fitness apps during the lockdown based on TCV and TPR. Meanwhile, the moderating role of gender differences in this context remains underexplored. This research is one of the early attempts to fill in these gaps. The findings of this study will enhance the theoretical framework regarding the acceptance and use of health and fitness apps; it also challenges the generalizability of SHT in the context of the COVID-19-related lockdown. Moreover, several important implications for the health and fitness industry during and after the COVID-19 pandemic were suggested.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors greatly appreciate the valuable and professional suggestions given by editor and reviewers. Particularly, the authors thank Professor Younghoon Chang's suggestions and help. The authors also deeply appreciate Internet research editorial office.

Citation

Zhu, Y., Wang, R., Zeng, R. and Pu, C. (2022), "Does gender really matter? Exploring determinants behind consumers' intention to use contactless fitness services during the COVID-19 pandemic: a focus on health and fitness apps", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2021-0454

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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