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The Impact of Social Crowding on Consumers’ Online Mobile Shopping: Evidence from Behavior and ERPs

Authors Cai D, Zhu L, Zhang W, Ding H, Wang A, Lu Y, Jin J

Received 16 November 2020

Accepted for publication 27 February 2021

Published 16 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 319—331

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S292360

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman


Danfeng Cai,1,2,* Lian Zhu,3,* Wuke Zhang,2,4 Hao Ding,2,4 Ailian Wang,5 Yao Lu,1 Jia Jin5

1College of Science & Technology, Ningbo University, Ningbo, People’s Republic of China; 2Academy of Neuroeconomics and Neuromanagement at Ningbo University, Ningbo, People’s Republic of China; 3School of Journalism and Communication, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 4Business School, Ningbo University, Ningbo, People’s Republic of China; 5Laboratory of Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences, School of Business and Management, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Jia Jin Email [email protected]

Purpose: Social crowding refers to the extent of social presence and proximity to others. A large number of studies have explored the effect of social crowding on consumers’ feelings and behaviours in real shopping scenes, whereas few studies have examined the potential marketing effect of social crowding on online mobile consumption behaviour despite mobile commerce’s increasing popularity in recent years. The current intends to explore the effect of social crowding on online mobile purchase and its underlying neural basis.
Methods: The current study employed a questionnaire survey and an implicit panic buying experiment, in which the participants were asked to press the button as soon as possible to buy the showed product. A 2-level social crowding (low vs high) × 2-level feedback of panic buying (success vs fail) design was employed to test the negative impact of social crowding on consumers’ online mobile purchase intention by using electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings.
Results: Behaviorally, participants showed higher purchase intention in low social crowding environment compared with the high crowding condition. The event-related potentials (ERPs) results indicated that consumers had a higher affective/motivational evaluation (reflected in a smaller feedback-related negativity (FRN) amplitude) regarding the successful rather than the failing feedback in the low social crowding condition. However, this difference was not detected in the high social crowding condition. Meanwhile, more attentional resources (reflected in a greater P300 amplitude) were directed toward processing the feedback outcomes in the low rather than the high social crowding condition.
Conclusion: The current study provided neurophysiological response that social crowding negatively influences consumers’ online purchase intention. Some implications for theory and practice were also discussed.

Keywords: social crowding, online purchase intention, ERP, FRN, P300

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