The Influence of Visual Social Media, Online Customer Reviews, and Personal Communication on Young Adults’ Purchase Intention: A Mixed Methods View into Consumer Socialization

Jennifer Johnson Jorgensen, Rita Kean


Due to an increase in visually-oriented online social media websites and other user-generated content, such as online customer reviews, young adults are learning and using consumer-related knowledge differently than in the past. Traditionally, individuals emulated their consumption style after behaviors modeled by family, peers, and traditional forms of mass media.  Since the popularity of visual social media and online customer reviews have gained a stronghold on young adults, it was hypothesized that individuals gain consumer knowledge of products through visual social media and other user-generated customer reviews. Explanatory sequential mixed methods were used to investigate which resources young adult consumers consult when searching for product information. Survey results indicate that young adults rely on visual social media and online customer reviews for information about products. Family members and peers were consulted for products as well, with findings from individual interviews indicating that mothers were the most influential resource.

Keywords: Consumer socialization; Online customer reviews; Visual social networking websites

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