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Antecedents of Chinese millennial consumers' purchase intentions via following influencers' recommendations

The sports goods industry

Written by Xiangru Meng, Yue Xiao

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Marketing & Sales




Thesis: In recent years, with the rapid development of e-commerce in China, various online media and digital social platforms have attracted more users, and online marketing has gradually replaced traditional marketing strategies. The increasing frequency of online shopping by Chinese consumers (especially millennials) provides huge opportunities for online celebrity marketing. Influencers with large followings have been used by many companies as online marketing tools. In order to explore the reasons why Chinese millennial consumers buy the products recommended by Internet celebrities, based on the theory of ternary influence (TTI), after consulting academic literature, the theoretical framework of this research and various factors have been formed, such as China Culture should consider different industries, personal influence streams, environment and social environment. Influencer marketing is one of the latest developments in marketing (Sammis, Lincoln & Pomponi, 2015). It is based on the development of Internet technology. On the one hand, the Internet is a system with distinctive features, such as multi-dimensional channels, the ability to aggregate distribution, transactions, and communication, and can coexist and compete with traditional retail channels (Burke, 1997). On the other hand, technological development has transformed the media landscape from traditional tools to social media. Traditional tools, such as newspapers, radio, and television, are all about delivering information. However, social media is about connecting with and communicating with the audience (Drury, 2008). In recent decades, more and more consumers have used large networks to obtain product information on social media (Stubb, Nyström, and Colliander, 2019). The prosperity of social media platforms has allowed them to reach a large number of consumers (Keller & Berry, 2003). In addition, influencer marketing is a way to promote products or brands by sharing information from sponsored brands with their followers on social media (Sammis, Lincoln & Pomponi, 2015). Influencer marketing uses influential individuals to push brands to a larger market and influence purchasing decisions, not just for a group of consumers (Woods, 2016). Paid partnerships between brands and influencers are usually realized in the form of sponsored content, which brings economic benefits (De Veirman et al., 2017). Therefore, influencer marketing is regarded as a low-cost and efficient tool, which can gain wide-ranging influence both in the industry and among a wide range of people (Brown & Hayes, 2008). A study conducted by marketing agency Tapinfluence and Nielsen in 2016 found that the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing is 11 times that of traditional digital marketing types (Nielsen & Tapinfluence, 2016). In addition, influencer marketing is not a type of marketing aimed at spreading and promoting content (Lee, 2018). Instead, it attempts to promote advertising content created or recreated by influential individuals, called influencers, who are considered more reliable and credible than traditional marketing advertisers (Hesse, 2015). Compared with other types of celebrities in the world, influencers are a group of opinion leaders, neither celebrities nor completely normal people (Johansen & Guldvik, 2017). Based on empirical tests, Thwaites believes that the effectiveness of influencers is related to their personality. The theory holds that visual images contain more information than clear oral arguments, and the quality of influencers is likely to be passed on to the recognized Product on (2012)). However, in practice, the influencer's choice should match the relevance of the current brand (Thwaites et al., 2012). When the relevance is consistent with the brand image or brand association, the influencer will strengthen the association with the existing associations of these brands (Till, 1998). To be precise, because of the popularity of internet celebrities, consumers will inevitably have a preconceived knowledge and a priori attitude towards internet celebrities before buying. They will not accept them until they think the image of internet celebrities is good. Recommendations of influencers (Mccormick, 2016). Therefore, it is important to take a positive attitude towards influential people. However, in other studies, the consistency of consumer self-image and influencer image plays an important role in the recognition process (Choi and Rifon, 2012). Today, influential people post their daily lives and various forms of advertisements online, and interact with their fans by reposting or replaying fan comments. Even many influential people communicate with their followers through online live broadcasts on social platforms (Mccormick, 2016). Furthermore, influence marketing has grown with the development of the Internet worldwide, and there is no significant difference in China. According to the China Internet Influence Marketing Development Insight Report (CIIMR), (2018), as of May 2018, influencers have more than 588 million fans, a year-on-year increase of 25%. The number of Internet celebrities with more than 100,000 fans continued to grow, an increase of 51% year-on-year. Head influencers with more than 1 million followers increased to 23%. One of the reasons for the growth of influencers is the increase of followers. In Chinese marketing, Internet celebrity marketing has gone through three different stages of development. The first one was from 1997 to 2003 or so, represented by online writers. At that time, Internet celebrities used humorous, special, and different ways from popular literature, and they were loved by many people. In the era of influence marketing 2.0, influencers have not only gained recognition from followers. Read Less