Why Consumers Hesitate to Shop Online: Perceived Risk and Product Involvement on Taobao.com

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Heralded as one of the fastest-growing regions in e-commerce sales, Asia has received increasing attention from online retailers as a promising e-commerce market. Therefore, to provide better insight into Asian online marketplaces, this study focuses on Taobao.com (hereafter referred to as “Taobao”), a major Chinese online marketplace, and attempts to shed light on consumers’ perceptions of Taobao. More specifically, this study examines (a) what consumers in China think about Taobao as an online marketplace when purchasing high- or low-involvement products; (b) what types of risk are associated with each product; and (c) how online consumers’ risk perceptions consequently influence both their trust toward Taobao and their purchase intention. Multidimensional perceived risks (financial, privacy, product, security, social/psychological, time) were considered in the research. Participants were 217 Chinese university students. The results indicate that product risk and social/psychological risk were negatively associated with consumers’ trust and purchase intention, regardless of their degree of product involvement. Interestingly, financial risk was positively related to trust and purchase intention. Findings are discussed with managerial implications, followed by limitations and future studies.

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Journal of Promotion Management

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