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The dark side of AR usage on customers’ online purchase

Shuman Zheng (Business Department, Nankai University, Tianjin, China)
Dongjin Li (Business Department, Nankai University, Tianjin, China)

Nankai Business Review International

ISSN: 2040-8749

Article publication date: 21 September 2022

Issue publication date: 16 March 2023




The usage of augmented reality (AR) in online shopping websites provides a “try-on” experience for consumers. AR technology combines the virtual and real world. Previous studies have addressed AR usage’s benefits to consumers’ online shopping experience. However, this study aims to explore the dark side of AR usage in consumers’ online purchasing process.


The authors conduct six experiments to examine whether AR usage leads to adverse effects on consumers’ purchase intention and explain the mechanism of its dark side.


The result shows that AR usage in online shopping websites reduces consumers’ purchase intention. The authors further reveal that the usage of AR leads to more vital psychological ownership of the product, and psychological ownership positively relates to cognitive conflict. Cognitive conflict explains the negative influence of AR usage on purchase intention.


First, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to explore the impact of embedded AR function of websites on consumers’ decision-making process. Also, it is the first study on the application of AR in a real shopping scene, which makes the study of AR close to reality. Second, psychological ownership is introduced in this study. Although there are many types of research on psychological ownership, few scholars have explored it in AR research. Third, most studies stress the advantages of using AR during purchase; this research demonstrates that embedding AR function in a shopping website may negatively affect purchase intention.



Thanks are due to Professor Dongjin, Li for valuable academic guidance.


Zheng, S. and Li, D. (2023), "The dark side of AR usage on customers’ online purchase", Nankai Business Review International, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 128-160.



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