This paper examines the role that attitudes toward online product reviews (OPRs), perceived credibility of OPRs and perceived benefit of OPRs play as antecedents of consumers’ reliance on OPRs in purchase decisions. A conceptual model of relationships investigated posits that attitudes drive reliance and are in turn driven by perceived benefit and credibility of OPRs. The study also examines gender differences in the constructs and their inter-relationships.
Data from a structured self-administered survey of US consumers are used to estimate parameters of a structural equation model (SEM) of the relationships. Gender differences in the structural relationships are tested using multi-group SEM, while gender differences in reliance, attitudes, benefit and credibility are tested using independent-samples t-tests.
Results show a strong positive effect of attitudes toward OPRs on reliance on OPRs. In turn, perceived benefit and credibility of OPRs are strong positive drivers of attitudes toward OPRs, with benefit having a greater impact. Structural relationships among the constructs are invariant across the two gender groups. However, there is a statistically significant difference between males and females in reliance on OPRs, with males exhibiting a tendency to rely more on OPRs than females.
The study introduces two new constructs to the literature – reliance on OPRs and global attitudes toward OPRs – and provides initial conceptualizations and operationalizations. The specific results underscore the relevance and importance of further research on these constructs and their relationships with other OPR-relevant constructs. They also provide initial indications of gender differences in consumers’ perceptions of OPRs and relationships among these and reliance on OPRs that are worthy of additional research attention.
Mumuni, A., Lancendorfer, K., O’Reilly, K. and MacMillan, A. (2019), "Antecedents of consumers’ reliance on online product reviews", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 26-46. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-11-2017-0096Download as .RIS
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