Exploring Factors Influencing Users’ Acceptance of Mobile Phone Commerce based on Flow Experience

Abstract

With the continued prosperous development of mobile phone commerce in recent years, it has become a very large component of mobile internet market and is increasingly linked with people’s daily life. Therefore, mobile phone commerce has caused widespread concern in academic circles and is becoming a popular research field of electronic commerce. However, there are still two major problems in the current researches analyzing the factors which influence the users’ acceptance of mobile phone commerce: First, lack of consideration of mobile phone features; second, explaining the acceptance factors mainly through TAM (technology acceptance model), lack of consideration of the users’ inner experience. In order to solve these problems, we adopt an empirical study and introduce the concept of flow experience, combined with the technology acceptance model theory and mobile network characteristics, and then establish a complete research model. On one hand we analyze factors which influence flow experience and TAM variables; on the other hand we analyze how flow experience and TAM variables influence mobile phone users’ intention to use. We combine the two parts as a comprehensive study to analyze factors which influence the users’ acceptance of mobile phone commerce.

In this paper, we use multiple regression analysis to validate the research model and hypotheses. Through the analysis, our study demonstrates that using the concept of flow experience and the technology acceptance model is very effective in mobile phone commerce environment. The level of challenge and involvement have a direct and significant positive effect on flow experience; Convenience, personalization and perceived ease of use have a direct effect on perceived usefulness; Flow experience and perceived usefulness have a direct positive effect on consumers’ intention to use mobile phone commerce.

The detailed design of this research

Research Model

Conceptual Model

Methodology

To further test the research hypotheses and conceptual model, a sample survey methodology is employed. This study adopts a quantitative approach to survey 211 people in China to examining the factors which could influence their intention to accept mobile phone commerce. Respondents use five-point Likert scales (1 = ‘strongly disagree’; 5 = ‘strongly agree’) to respond to the items in the following measures. Since the measurement scales are based on the literature in English, back translation (Brislin, 1970) is conducted where the original English version is first translated into Chinese and then translated back into English. The final English version is shown in the following table:

Variable

Measurement

Reference

Convenience

I’m not limited by time while accessing mobile phone commerce services with a mobile phone.

A.Serenko & N.Bontis(2004)

I’m not limited by place while accessing mobile phone commerce services with a mobile phone.
I can utilize mobile phone commerce services when other activities are restricted.

Personalization

Mobile phone commerce services are personalized.

A.Serenko & N.Bontis(2004)

I can get personalized information through mobile phone commerce services.
Mobile phone commerce service providers could offer me personalized service based on my need.

Perceived Usefulness

Using mobile phone commerce can increase the efficiency of my daily life.

Davis(1989)

Vijayasarathy L R(2004)

Karahanna and Straub (1999)

Hung et al. (2003)

Wu and Wang (2005)

Using mobile phone commerce can help me accomplish tasks in my daily life more easily.
Using mobile phone commerce can provide me with valuable information on my daily life.

Perceived Ease of Use

Using mobile phone commerce is very simple.

Davis(1989)

Gefen D, Karahanna E, Straub D W(2004)

Venkatesh and Davis (1996)

I find mobile phone commerce easy to use.
It would be easy for me to become good at using mobile phone commerce.

Skill

I am very skilled at using mobile phone commerce.

Novak et al.(1998)

Koufaris(2002)

I know more about using mobile phone commerce than most people.
I know how to perform what I want with mobile phone commerce.

Challenge

Using mobile phone commerce challenges me to perform to the best of my ability.

Novak et al.(1998)

Koufaris(2002)

Using mobile phone commerce provides a good test of my ability.
Using mobile phone commerce stretches my ability to the limits.

Involvement

We would like to know how interested you are in mobile phone commerce. Please use the series of descriptive words listed below to indicate your level of interest in mobile phone commerce (on a scale of 1-5):Unimportant – ImportantIrrelevant – RelevantUnappealing – Appealing

McQuarrie and Munson (1992)

Koufaris(2002)

Flow

I’m absorbed intensely when I use mobile phone commerce services.

Ghani et al.(1991)

Hoffman & Novak(1996)

Koufaris(2002)

It feels like time flies when I use mobile phone commerce services.
I would forget about other activities temporarily when I use mobile phone commerce services.

Intention to Use

Using mobile phone commerce will be valuable to me.

Hsu and Lu(2003)

Karahanna and Straub (1999)

I will frequently use mobile phone commerce in the future.
I will try to use mobile phone commerce in my daily life.

Data Analysis and results

Validity (EFA) and reliability are tested. The result demonstrates high convergent validity, discriminant validity and reliability (after removing the third item in ‘Flow’). From the regression analysis, we can draw the following conclusions:

(1)   Flow experience and perceived usefulness both have a directly significant impact on people’s intention to use mobile phone commerce. Perceived ease of use has a directly significant impact on perceived usefulness. These conclusions confirm the previous related researches and prove that adopting flow theory and TAM in the context of electronic commerce, especially mobile phone commerce, is feasible and very effective. In addition, perceived use of use is assumed to be related to intention to use, however this hypothesis is not empirically supported. This result also confirms previous researches on TAM that believe perceived usefulness is more important than perceived ease of use in predicting people’s intention to accept a new technology (Davis, 1989; Hu et al. 1999; Koufaris, 2002; Yang, 2005).

(2)   Mobile network characteristics (convenience and personalization) have a directly significant impact on perceived usefulness, while not related to perceived ease of use. Based on the definition of convenience and personalization, these factors mainly help improve quality of people’s life and facilitate their work by improving efficiency and saving time, which emphasize the usefulness of mobile phone commerce not the ease of it. If a person thinks a new technology or system as highly convenient and personalized, he or she is more likely to believe it is important and useful. But it doesn’t mean using this technology or system is easy to this person. Future studies could further empirically verify this hypothesis to confirm this conclusion.

(3)   Challenge and involvement both have a directly significant impact on flow experience. This result also confirms previous researches on flow theory. However, skill is not related to flow based on the analysis result. This is because the measure of skill levels is based on respondents’ own perception. Since the study is based on the survey not experiment, people couldn’t experience mobile phone commerce personally, therefore they might not have a strong sense of flow while they are answering questions. So their judgment to their skill may not be precise.

Limitation

Based on the review of research methods and conclusions of this study, there are two limitations:

(1)   The respondents participating in this survey are primarily university student (N=207, 98.1%). Although they are very familiar with mobile phone internet (about 98.6 % of them have used it), the sample data should be more representative by inviting more people with various background. For example, the range of the participants’ age is from 18 to 30 (N=211, 100%), indicating lack of consideration of the users at other age. If the sample data are rich enough, the analysis result could obtain a higher generalizability.

(2)   There are only a few people who have used mobile phone commerce (N=61, 28.9%) among all respondents. The respondents who have never used mobile phone commerce are required to answer the questions based on similar experience of using electronic commerce, or their own judgment and rules of behavior, which might cause bias. Therefore it is quite necessary to make sure the respondents have ever been involved in mobile phone commerce services before they answer the questions.

Suggestion

As mobile phone commerce is still developing at a high rate, the users might not very familiar with this emerging technology. As to empirical studies, researchers must make sure the participants have a full understanding of mobile phone commerce so that the quality of the data collected will be higher, leading to better analysis results. Therefore researchers could set up a real experiment environment based on their needs, such as asking subjects to visit a specific mobile phone commerce website and purchase a product with the voucher provided, so that participants could fully experience the characteristics of mobile phone commerce services in the whole process. The participants could thus have a clear intuition and they are more intended to demonstrate the exact idea when taking part in the survey.

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