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Determinants of Online Buying Behaviour of Social Media Users: A Survey of University of Buea Students

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Online shopping is a phenomenon that is growing rapidly and is relatively new as compared to the traditional brick-and-mortar store. The world is facing a digital change and businesses are seeking new ways to reach their customers and create favourable environments to effectively carryout online purchase. This study therefore examines the factors that affect consumer online buying behaviour. Three theories guided this investigation: the Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989), Diffusion of Innovations (Rogers, 1995), and Uses and Gratifications theory (Katz & Blumler, 1974). The study focuses on students of the University of Buea who carryout online shopping. The study findings indicate that: consumers mostly buy fashion items (74.3%), electronics (44.7%), cosmetics (37.3%), house equipment (34%); consumers would repeat purchase from a marketer if they trust and are satisfied with the product and service quality (81.1%) hence, they will also encourage others to buy, while if they are dissatisfied, they will not repeat purchase from the online store. Advertisement (76.1%), attractive pricing/ discount (71.7%), product quality (71%), service quality (64.1%), convenience (72.3%), available income/money (49.6%), word of mouth recommendation (41.9%), and personal motivation (62.7%) constitute the major factors that affect consumer online buying behaviour. Results of the hypotheses show that: H1= (X2= 9.950; df= 16; p=.869); H2= there is a significant relationship between trust and satisfaction and consumers online buying behaviour (X2 = 270.765; df= 16; p = .000); H3= social, economic, and market factors significantly affect consumer online buying behaviour  (X2 = 106.328; df= 16; p = .000). The study recommends online marketers to develop their marketing strategies giving priority to customer orientation. They should be particularly focused on the ease of use of online shopping services.

Keywords: Online Shopping, Consumer Buying Behaviour, Customer/Consumer, Online Trust, Satisfaction, Technology, Buea.



This chapter provides an overview of the area of research for this study. It consists of the background to the study, statement of the problem, research questions, hypotheses, objectives of the study, significance of the study, the scope and summary.

1.1 Background to the study

In the 21st century, trade and commerce have been so diversified that the adoption of new platforms and online shopping have increased significantly throughout the world (Johnson, Gustafsson, Andreassen, Lervik, & Cha, 2001). The emergence of online shopping developed with the emergence of the Internet; the Internet has been used for various purposes and has become a part of humans. It has evolved into a new distributive channel for various products. Carrying out online purchase has become one of the main reasons to use the Internet, combined with the search of products and finding information about them. At first, social media platforms only functioned as an advertising tool for companies, providing information about their products. It quickly moved on from this simple utility to actual online shopping transaction due to the development of interactive web pages and secure transmissions. The history of e-commerce is closely intertwined with the history of the internet. Online shopping only became possible when the internet was opened to the public in 1991. was one of the first e-commerce sites in the US to start selling products online and thousands of businesses have followed since then. The convenience, safety, and user experience of e-commerce have improved exponentially since its inception (Miva, 2011). Researchers found that having products that are appropriate for e-commerce was a key indicator of Internet success. Many of these products did well as they are generic products which shoppers did not need to touch and feel in order to buy.

E-commerce is increasingly becoming a marketing strategy for many businesses nowadays. According to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Center for Communication Policy (2001), online shopping has become the third most popular Internet activity. It has changed the way goods are purchased and sold, resulting to the exponential growth in the number of online shoppers. Online shopping has been shown to provide more satisfaction to modern consumers seeking convenience and speed (Yu & Wu, 2007). E-commerce provides consumers with more choices, more information and more ways to buy. On the other hand, some consumers still don’t feel comfortable making a purchase online because of lack of trust in these online stores which might be as a result of low product quality, inability to meet up with deadlines, internet fraud and poor customer service.

The evolution of the Internet in recent years has made businesses to incorporate digital technology in their marketing efforts in order to ease communication and e-commerce with their customers/prospects. In Cameroon, Africa and the World, numerous online businesses have been established to reach a wider customer base in order to sell their products and satisfy customer needs. Some of these online shops include: Sellam Quick, KiKUU, Kamyu, Eko market hub, Evefreys, Carimo, Nourishka, Jumia, Amazon with product categories sold such as fashion (clothing, shoes, accessories, human hair), electronics, furniture and kitchen equipment, toys, cosmetics, groceries. Online businesses have equally added Mobile Money (MoMo) transfer as a payment method for online purchases, which might be a more convenient and effective method of payment. This method of payment is relatively new as compared to bank transfers and Express Union transfers.

This evolution is as a result of the increase of Internet penetration rate in Cameroon. In January 2020, Cameroon had 7.8 million people connected to the internet, according to a report published by Hootsuite and We Are Social- two organisations responsible for monitoring flows on social networks and the internet. With this number of internet users, it is reported that internet penetration rate in Cameroon reached 30% in January 2020. Year-on-year, according to the same source, there has been an increase of 7.8%, thanks to the arrival on the web of 570,000 new Cameroonian Internet users over a period of twelve months. Also, according to the report released by Hootsuite and We Are Social, more than 59% of Cameroonian Internet users connect to the web via smartphones. At the same time, only 39.4% have access to the Internet via computers and 1.3% via tablets. Also, with 3.7 million social media users, the number increased by 360,000, that is, an additional 11% between April and January 2020. Social media penetration in Cameroon stood at 14% in January 2020.

This study therefore seeks to examine the factors that affect online buying behaviour of social media users, a survey of the University of Buea students.

 1.2 Statement of the problem

Marketers do not have adequate knowledge on the factors that affect consumer online buying behaviour (Ryan & Jones, 2009). Kotler and Keller (2011) state that consumer buying behaviour is the study of the ways of buying and disposing of goods, services, ideas or experiences by the individuals, groups and organizations in order to satisfy their needs and wants. They highlight the importance of understanding consumer buying behaviour and the ways in which the consumer chooses their products and services which can be extremely important for businesses as this provides them with an edge over competitors. They may use the knowledge obtained through studying the consumer online buying behaviour to set their strategies towards offering the right products and services to the right customers reflecting their needs and wants effectively.

Marketers are constantly seeking to gather rich insights on consumers because marketing campaigns start with an understanding of the consumer buying behaviour. This knowledge helps them reach their customers through the right channels at the right time, target them with the right messages, and ultimately influence their buying decisions. Since online shopping is the new medium of shopping with new demands from consumers, all consumers have their own desires and demands for products such that it is very crucial for all online retailers to identify and know about their online consumers (Hasslinger, 2007). Understanding the consumer buying behaviour through studying and identifying their needs lead to huge long-term benefits for businesses.

In recent years, the online environment has been flooded with millions of users and every one of them is a potential customer for any business. The digital world is fast developing and businesses are looking for favourable ways to engage and sell their products to consumers. To effectively meet up with consumer needs and carry out sales, marketers have to identify and understand those factors that affect consumer online buying behaviour. In view of this problem statement, the study therefore seeks to address the following questions:

  1.3 Research questions

This study is guided by 3 research questions

  1. What type of products do consumers purchase online?

  2. How do trust and satisfaction contribute to consumer loyalty in online buying?

  3. What social, economic and market factors affect online buying behaviour?

1.4 Hypotheses

H1. Consumers buy more fashion items than electronics, furniture and cosmetics.

H2: Trust and satisfaction have a significant influence on consumer online buying behaviour.

H3: Social, economic and market factors significantly affect consumer online buying behaviour.

1.5 Objectives of the Study

1.5.1 General Objective

The main objective of this study is to examine the factors that affect consumer online buying behaviour.

1.5.2 Specific objectives

  1. To investigate the type of products purchased by consumers through online shopping.
  2. To study the degree to which consumer trust and satisfaction affect consumer loyalty.
  3. To examine the social, economic and market factors that affect online buying behaviour.
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