DOI: 10.1002/agr.21918 ISSN: 0742-4477

Role of social network in fostering consumers' omni‐channel purchasing behavior towards infant milk powder retailers

Qingjie Zhou, Mingyue Du, Jiangyuan Hou
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Food Science


Social network plays an essential role in the consumers' omni‐channel purchasing behaviors (OPBs). In this context, this research delves into two questions. First, do consumers make the omni‐channel purchase decision of infant milk powder via social network? Second, which social network do consumers prefer about the different buying channel? To solve these problems, employing the Berry–Levinson–Pakes and distance‐metric models, we explore the impact of social network modes on the consumers' OPBs based on the home‐scan consumption data. These analyses provide compelling evidence for the positive impact of social network on consumers' OPBs. In particular, recommendation from friends accounts for 90.57% of the contribution to the increase in the online consumers' utility, whereas the voice from relative explains about 50% of the contribution to the offline consumers' utility, which is positively associated with consumer income. The regression results also demonstrate that (i) consumer trust has a significant moderating role in the consumers' OPBs and (ii) consumer trust has a larger moderating role in the consumers' OPBs relative to single‐channel purchasing behavior. We expect that this paper can contribute to the existing literature and provide marketers with important practical suggestions [EconLit Citations: Q11, Q13].