Increasingly, researchers have come to acknowledge that consumption activities entail both utilitarian and hedonic components. Whereas utilitarian consumption accentuates the achievement of predetermined outcomes typical of cognitive consumer behavior, its hedonic counterpart relates to affective consumer behavior in dealing with the emotive and multisensory aspects of the shopping experience. Consequently, while utilitarian consumption activities appeal to the rationality of customers in inducing their intellectual buy-in of the shopping experience, customers’ corresponding emotional buy-in can only be attained through the presence of hedonic consumption activities. The same can be said for online shopping. Because the online shopping environment is characterized by the existence of an IT-enabled web interface that acts as the focal point of contact between customers and vendors, its design should embed utilitarian and hedonic elements to create a holistic shopping experience. Building on Expectation Disconfirmation Theory (EDT), this study advances a research model that not only delineates between customers’ utilitarian and hedonic expectations for online shopping but also highlights how these expectations can be best served through functional and esthetic performance, respectively. Furthermore, we introduce online shopping experience (i.e., transactional frequency) as a moderator affecting not only how customers form utilitarian and hedonic expectations but also how they evaluate the functional and esthetic performances of e-commerce sites. The model is then empirically validated via an online survey questionnaire administered on a sample of 303 respondents. Theoretical contributions and pragmatic implications to be gleaned from our research model and its subsequent empirical validation are discussed.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 31 August 2019
- Expectation disconfirmation theory
- Utilitarian expectations
- Hedonic expectations
- Transactional frequency
- Esthetic performance
- Transactional functionalities