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Antecedents of Microblogging Users’ Purchase Intention Toward Celebrities’ Merchandise: Perspectives of Virtual Community and Fan Economy
Over the last few decades, cross-fertilization between marketing and fandom studies in a mediated world has been rare, hindering the knowledge development for marketing practitioners in the Chinese fan economy context. The purpose of this study is to find and establish a conceptual framework that includes Online Interaction (OI), Parasocial Relationships (PSR) and virtual fan communities on Weibo, and how these contributory factors embedded in the interplay process of digital fandom practices in terms of enhancing fans’ Purchase Intention (PI) and media consumption behaviours toward the celebrities’ merchandise.
Using an online survey instrument, this research collected 294 completed responses from fans who had online interactions with celebrities and engagement of virtual fan communities on Weibo. Key results and findings provided a clear framework of four antecedents based on the conceptual model and indicated that the high intensity of OI led to higher levels of the perception of PSR and the Sense of Virtual Community (SOVC). Increased PSR and the SOVC can be seen as significant positive predictors of the PI (a part of consumer identity construction as a fan) also. This study revealed the underlying mechanism of an emerging marketing genre, also provide useful implications of audiences’ digital marketing practices for marketers, celebrities and policymakers.
Keywords:Online Interaction (OI)；the Sense of Virtual Community (SOVC)；Parasocial Relationships (PSR)；Purchase Intention (PI)；Fan Economy
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