Antecedents of Chinese consumers' adoption of online auctions: An extended TAM study
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Catalyzed by eBay's success, e-auctions quickly became one of the major C2C transaction forms globally. eBay China began as an arm of eBay U.S. in 2003. Simultaneously, a local C2C online shopping platform, Taobao.com, was initiated. However, by 2007 Taobao had occupied over eighty percent of the market and its rival eBay was left with 8% of the market. eBay, which has a long history, mature online auction transaction processes/programing, and success in over 30 countries around the world, lost to its local rival, Taobao. It is important to determine the factors potentially continuing the success of Taobao, which did RMB 1 trillion in sales in 2012. Thus, the present study examined the factors that influenced Chinese consumers' adoption of e-auctions.
The present study identified antecedent factors affecting Chinese consumers' adoption of e-auctions. The antecedent factors explored were security, connection speed, time consumption, economic gain, playfulness, and social motives. The effects of these factors on variables of the extended Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (trust, enjoyment, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and attitude) were examined to help explain consumers' adoption of e-auctions.
An online survey regarding e-auction adoption was developed by the author and administered through a market research agency in China to Chinese college students who had experience with e-auctions. A total of 210 useable responses were collected. Confirmative Factor Analysis (CFA) was conducted to assess the measurement model, and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to test the hypotheses.
The results showed that the security features of e-auction websites not only enhanced consumers' trust toward the websites, but also reduced their effort in the operations of payment, which increased their perceived ease of use of e-auctions. Connection speed had a positive effect on consumers' overall experience on e-auction websites, enhancing their perceived ease of use, enjoyment, and trust of e-auctions. Economic gain had a significant impact on consumers' perceived usefulness of e-auctions. Playfulness played a significant role in consumers' perceived usefulness and enjoyment of e-auctions. Social motives positively affected perceived usefulness, enjoyment and trust of e-auctions. Contrary to expectation, the time consuming trait of e-auctions did not have a significant effect.
These results provide insight into best practices for designing e-auction websites in China. First, a well-established infrastructure with a secure environment and fluent connections is a must for e-auction players. In addition to the economic benefits brought about by the online auctions, playfulness and social interactions from an e-auction experience had a significant impact on perceived hedonic value, and affected consumers' perceptions and attitudes toward e-auction websites. E-auction websites can consider incorporating more forms of social interaction such as an online forum or micro-blogs for consumers to share their experience. These experiences help create a consumer community which includes like-minded potential sellers and buyers. Variables of the extended TAM were proven robust in explaining acceptance of e-auctions. SEM results indicated enjoyment, associated with hedonic value, is more important than usefulness, associated with utilitarian value, in affecting consumers' attitude.
This present study contributes to the growing body of research on Chinese consumers' adoption of e-auctions. This study uncovered additional influential antecedents (i.e., connection speed, playfulness, and social motives) to the adoption of e-auctions, enhancing the understanding of Chinese online shoppers. The present study also validated the extended TAM in an Asian country.