THE INFLUENCE OF REFERENCE GROUPS ON MILLENNIALS’ SOCIAL COMMERCE BUYING BEHAVIOUR
Journal: Malaysian E Commerce Journal (MECJ)
Roland Goldberg, Angela Kotze
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
The rise in popularity of online shopping coupled with the increasing amount of time spent by consumers on social media platforms have given rise to a new form of e-commerce known as social commerce. Social commerce entails the buying and selling of products and services on social media platforms. Millennials are some of the most frequent users of social media and therefore avid users of social commerce platforms. Due to its social nature, purchase decisions made on social commerce platforms are prone to influence from reference groups. Organisations are investing increasing amounts of capital to identify and use reference groups to improve their marketing endeavours. However, very few are effectively influenced by referents when making purchase decisions. Thus, it is important to identify the reference groups that have an influence on a consumer group’s buying behaviour, and to determine the influence exerted by such groups. The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of reference groups on the buying behaviour of Millennials on social commerce platforms. A qualitative approach was followed by means of an exploratory research design. Judgement sampling was used to identify a total of 26 participants from whom data was gathered by means of conducting three focus groups. Data was analysed by means of the Morse and Field approach using ATLAS.ti. The results indicate that Millennials’ primary reference groups are family and friend, influencers and experts. Referents exert a prominent influence on Millennials’ decisions to make use of social commerce platforms. Millennials do not observe referents’ buying behaviour, mimic referents style, purchase products to identify with referents and do not seek approval from reference groups when making a purchase decision on a social commerce platform.