Exploring Social Influence on Hedonic Buying of Digital Goods-Online Games’ Virtual Items


Jung-Kuei Hsieh
Ching-Yin Tseng


Marketers and scholars are interested in the development of digital goods because of the growing popularity and profitability of these goods. The online game environment provides a perfect setting for investigating hedonic buying of digital goods. Using social influence theory and the theory of sense of community, we developed a research model to investigate the influence of online and offline social groups on consumers’ purchase decisions. Partial least squares structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. The analysis yielded several findings. Online and offline social influences affect purchase intentions. Happiness has a complementary mediating effect on the relationship between online informational influence and purchase intention. Happiness also has an indirect-only mediating effect on the relationships between offline informational influence and purchase intention, and between offline normative influence and purchase intention. Sense of virtual community and sense of community moderate the effects of social influence on happiness and social influence on purchase intention for online and offline social groups, respectively. These findings extend our knowledge of social influence and digital goods and have implications for online businesses.

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Published Date: 

May, 2018

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