An of import country of enquiry under consumer behavior research is that of compulsive ingestion which includes compulsive purchasing, pathological gaming, kleptomania and eating upsets ( O’Guinn and Faber, 1989 ) . The focused country of research for the thesis is that of compulsive purchasing. Roberts and Jones ( 2001 ) has pointed out that the prevalence of compulsive purchasing has been increasing with each coevals. Earlier compulsive purchasing was thought to run from 1-6 % ( O’Guinn and Faber, 1989 ) among grownups. However, research workers have shown the estimations to run from 6 % -12.2 % . ( Hassay & A ; Smith, 1996 ; Roberts and Jones, 2001 ) . Hence this makes it an of import of country of research for both faculty members and practicians.

Compulsive purchasing fundamentally refers to a consumers proneness to repetitive purchasing that is caused due to a deficiency of impulse control over their purchasing behavior. ( Kukar-Kinney et al.,2008 ) O’Guinn and Faber ( 1992 ) , has described compulsive purchasing as “ chronic, insistent buying that becomes a primary response to negative events or feelings ” . It has been indicated that compulsive purchasing typically begins in late adolescence or early maturity ( O’Guinn and Faber, 1989 ; Christenson et al. , 1994 ; Magee, 1994 ; Schlosser et al. , 1994 ) . Research has besides shown that the bulk of compulsive purchasers are adult females wherein they indulge themselves in vesture, places, accoutrements etc. ( O’Guinn and Faber, 1989 ; Scherhorn et al. , 1990 ; McElroy et al. , 1995 ) .There has been research surveies that has investigated the ancestors and incidence of compulsive purchasing amongst adolescence and immature grownups ( Roberts, 1998 ; Calleja and Clark,2008 ; Xu,2008 ) . Besides, old research has covered the factors that influences compulsive purchasing such as demographics, psychological, familial, sociological, civilization and environment ( Roberts,1998 ; Valence et al.,1988 ; Manolis et al.,2008 ) . Furthermore, factors such as philistinism, societal influence, position, emotions etc have been studied under the context of compulsive purchasing by assorted research workers ( Xu,2008 ; Saraneva and Saaksjarvi,2008 ; Manolis et al.,2008 ) . Having said this, all of the above mentioned researches have taken into consideration the typical retail environment puting. With an addition in assorted types of shopping environments, it becomes imperative to understand the nature of compulsive purchasing in a different surrounding. One of the most approaching retail surrounding is the cyberspace. As Gurley ( 2000 ) postulates, an mean consumer uses the cyberspace for browse or for shopping. An increasing and big figure of houses are working and making assorted concern chances on the cyberspace ( Cheun and Liao, 2000 ) . Udo ( 2001 ) has pointed out the really many grounds as to why consumers prefer shopping online, which are- the degree of privateness, clip efficiency, easiness of usage, convenience, enjoyment, old experience, company repute etc. In relation to compulsive purchasing and online shopping, Kukar-Kinney et Al. ( 2008 ) has examined the motives by which consumers buy obsessively on-line compared to a physical retail context on a general context. Having said this, the research that has been done on this country is really limited. There is a immense research spread over cyberspace compulsive purchasing. Issues such as “ Does internet promote compulsive purchasing ” or “ the relationship between compulsive purchasing and internet dependence ” or “ is compulsive purchasing fuelled by on-line auction sites ” etc have received small or no research. In order to turn to the above inquiries, it becomes imperative to understand the power of the cyberspace over compulsive purchasing. Hence the chief research inquiry that will be addressed for the thesis would be “ How influential is the cyberspace over compulsive purchasing. ” This piece of research would assist in adding onto the cognition of consumer behavior research. The intent of the survey is to look into compulsive purchasing over the cyberspace and whether the cyberspace aggravates the degree of compulsive purchasing in an person. This country of research would be a farther beginning of literature for faculty members wherein it would be easier to work on the research spread mentioned earlier. Hence it would enable in expandingthe bing consumer behavior cognition as a whole. Furthermore, this research would besides be relevant for practicians ( clinicians, retail merchants etc ) as it would give them an apprehension of compulsive behavior at an advanced degree. It could assist clinicians understand compulsive purchasing from a different position ( i.e. the cyberspace ) and likely assist them in coming up with agencies by which cyberspace compulsive purchasing can be reduced since they get an apprehension of its influence. Finally, being a constituent of negative consumer behavior, compulsive purchasing research can potentially lend to a society ‘s well-being which is an of import standards for the utility of any research. ( Shoham and Brencic,2005 )


The primary intent of this survey is to derive an apprehension of how the cyberspace besides changes a consumers shopping behavior in a manner that it becomes compulsive. Some of the chief aims would be: –

To understand the extent to which cyberspace can do compulsive behavior in consumers. This helps in understanding the impact cyberspace has on consumers shopping behavior.

To analyze the factors that causes consumers to shop obsessively over the cyberspace. Although motives to shop online have been identified in old research, it has been focussed on other geographical countries. Hence this research serves as a comparing to old research as UK consumers would be focussed chiefly.

Estimate the incidence of compulsive purchasing in an online scene compared to a brick and howitzer shop. It enables the apprehension of the importance of cyberspace as a retail environment and how it promotes compulsive purchasing in consumers. Besides, it points out the convenience degree consumers prefer while shopping online in comparing to a physical shop.

To analyze the inclination of a consumer to purchase obsessively when there are price reductions and fringe benefits available online. This promotes understanding the function of publicities and price reductions on compulsive purchasing as it is besides classified as one of the motives to shop on-line obsessively.

To discourse the deductions of the survey ‘s findings and suggest waies for future research attempts. A thorough analysis of the consequences is made every bit good as research spreads are identified for future research.

Hence, the above aims form the foundation for the research that is to be conducted.


In this subdivision, a reappraisal of literature is foremost made followed by hypotheses conceptualisation which farther leads to a pictural representation of the hypotheses.

For some consumers, shopping can go more than diversion and merriment. Compulsive shoppers are classified as those consumers who are addicted to shopping and engage in it really often ( Boundy, 2000 ) . For these consumers, shopping has become a portion of their life style and it is strongly related to their emotional ends. Compulsive shoppers ‘ emotions are stronger and more volatile than those of regular shoppers, and act upon their self-pride ( DeSarbo and Edwards, 1996 ; Roberts, 1998 ) . Emotions such as joy, expectancy, and bang during this activity can rapidly alter into negative emotions such as guilt, depression, and dissatisfaction hence go forthing the consumer rather defeated and vulnerable ( Christenson et al. , 1994 ) .

Compulsive purchasing can typically be defined as the inability to keep an impulse i.e. an impulse upset. Every person falls prey to impulse purchasing some twenty-four hours or the other. However, when the impulse becomes insistent or when the single exhibits inordinate purchasing behavior, so this can be paralleled to compulsive purchasing behavior. ( Pomerleau and Pomerleau 1987 ; Faber and O’Guinn 1988 ) . The component of self-esteem seems to be of extreme importance for compulsive shoppers. It has been proved that compulsive Spenders have comparatively lower self-pride compared to normal shoppers whose behavior is non compulsive. ( Hanley and Wilhelm,1992 )

Although assorted theories have been proposed earlier for the etiology of compulsive purchasing, the most common theoretical theoretical accounts are focussed on familial, biological, sociological and psychological influences. ( Faber 1992, Hirschman,1992, Roberts, 1998 ) . Besides, one of the most common facets found by research workers that fuelled the compulsive behavior in an person is the entree and easiness of usage of recognition cards. ( Roberts 1998, Park and Burns, 2005 ) Assorted surveies have found that compulsive purchasers tend to shop and buy appearance-related merchandises such as vesture, places, jewelry and cosmetics ( O’Guinn and Faber, 1989 ; Christenson et al. , 1994 ; Schlosser et al. , 1994 ; McElroy et al. , 1995 ; Lee et al. , 2000 ; Yurchisin and Johnson, 2004 )

In relation to the involvement in compulsive purchasing, the importance of Internet retailing is rather marked ( Grewal et al.,2004 ) . Reports have indicated that 70 % of consumers are now utilizing the cyberspace for purchasing things. ( Plunkett Research Limited, 2007 ) . In the U.S, the entire retail Internet sale was estimated to run from 136b $ to 175b $ . ( U.S. Census Bureau,2007 ) . In fact, the Internet retail environment has been found to promote on-line purchasing ( Black et al,1999 ) . This determination is attributed to the easiness of roll uping many points in a individual shopping cart every bit good as the easiness of paying such as express check-out. In another research conducted by Kukar-Kinney et Al. ( 2009 ) , the findings indicate that as compulsive purchasing inclination increased, the consumers were more motivated to buy online in comparing to a brick and howitzer shop. Some of the motives listed for purchasing online obsessively are the consumer ‘s ability to purchase unseen, the ability to avoid societal interaction every bit good as the feelings associated with the whole on-line purchasing experience.

Gay ( 1999 ) quotes Dr. April Benson who says that compulsive shopping depends a batch on the manner things are presented. She justifies this with an illustration of E-bay indicating out that the choice on E-bay is so unbelievable to look at that it feels like one is traveling to a confect shop! Hence online shows play a major function in the compulsive nature of shoppers. Besides the article quotes Dr. Damon who implies that sometimes consumers resort to the cyberspace when they are down and stop up passing much more than they would hold spent in a physical shop. Tang ( 2005 ) posits that an on-line retail environment promotes competitiveness in footings of happening the right deals. Hence the shopping behavior becomes habit-forming in a manner that consumers end up purchasing things that they have no or really small usage of.

As mentioned earlier, compulsive shopping is more common amongst adult females than work forces. However with alteration of clip, it has been found that most work forces prefer shopping online in comparing the high street ( Sims,2008 ) . Hence, it would be interesting to happen out if adult females still outdo work forces in their e-compulsive purchasing behavior. Therefore,

H 1 predicts that the influence of cyberspace on compulsive purchasing is greater for adult females than for work forces.

Few research workers have identified some of the determiners of online shopping behavior as anterior cyberspace experience and the current cyberspace use ( Lohse et al.,2000 ; Eastin,2002 ) . Besides, positive rational shopping motivations have been significantly predicted by the sum of cyberspace use ( Larose et al.,2001 ) . This implies that the more a individual is prone to internet use, the more he/she will indulge in on-line shopping. Hence in relation to these anterior surveies: –

H2 predicts that people who are addicted to Internet are prone to shop more ‘compulsively ‘ than people who are non. If this consequence is proven, so it could function as one of the grounds as to why on-line retail gross revenues have been increasing every bit mentioned earlier.

Previous research has indicated that in a retail scene, compulsive shoppers are attracted to promotional offers and volume price reductions. Besides, it has been identified that on-line retail gross revenues have increased due to the handiness of price reductions, publicities, and on-line auctions sites. ( Kukar-Kinney et al. , 2009 ) . As mentioned earlier, since there has been a displacement in purchase behavior from a retail mercantile establishment to that of the cyberspace, which leads to the following two hypothesis.

H3 predicts that on-line price reductions make consumers shop more obsessively than retail shop price reductions.

H4 predicts that consumers are more satisfied when they buy obsessively on-line than from a physical shop.

If both these consequences are proved, so it is an indicant to assorted retail merchants and other practicians that they should concentrate on doing their product/service easy accessible and they must expose in a manner that is attractive to their consumers.

The above 4 hypotheses will help to a better apprehension of compulsive purchasing behaviors in shopping in an on-line environment. Figure 1 depicts a conceptual theoretical account of the hypotheses through which the research will be carried frontward.


The research that is to be conducted can be considered to be more of an academic research as it promotes new cognition of compulsive purchasing in an online environment within the context of dependence to the cyberspace. The general philosophical position of the research will be swayed towards a realist attack. The major subject of the research is to happen out whether extended usage of cyberspace aggravates compulsive purchasing in consumers. Hence it is more of a causal relationship that will be established with this research. As Lee and Lings ( 2008 ) has mentioned that realists value causal dealingss and they even try to understand why certain associations are observed, which in this instance is internet dependence and compulsive purchasing. Realism advocates that there are certain constructs that have independent being, therefore doing it non-compulsory to be discernible. For illustration, hypothesis 4 measures the satisfaction degree for compulsive purchasers who shop on-line versus those who shop from a physical shop. Satisfaction is non something that can be observed, nevertheless it can be measured in relation to the frequence of shopping a consumers exhibits in the peculiar retail environment. Hence, in consideration of all the elements ( hypotheses ) that will be researched upon, a realist attack seems to be more disposed for this research.

The general research design would mirror a cross-sectional design whereby studies would be conducted via questionnaires in order to garner information from the respondents. This explorative research will utilize both quantitative and qualitative attacks for credibleness intent and hence is double. First quantitative attack will be used whereby synergistic methods would be employed for roll uping the information. Questionnaires would be distributed in individual and over the cyberspace. The questionnaire will include the compulsive purchasing graduated table ( Valence et al.,1988 ) which will be a major constituent in placing compulsive purchasers from the normal purchaser. The cogency and dependability of this graduated table has been established antecedently ( Faber and O’Guinn, 1989 ) . This graduated table would measure 3 dimensions of compulsive purchasing behavior which are the inclination to pass, station purchase guilt and responsiveness. Besides, the questionnaire will hold inquiries which would research the extent of cyberspace use in consumers. Finally the questionnaire would hold inquiries based on the incidence of compulsive purchasing over the cyberspace. The questionnaire would chiefly use the usage of seven-point Likert graduated table which creates more dependability comparing to a 5-point graduated table ( Allen and Seaman, 2007 ) . The graduated table will run from “ most likely ” to “ least likely ” for both cyberspace and retail compulsive purchasing. In footings of the sample, for convenience intent, pupils from Aston University would be surveyed. Besides, since the research is specific in footings of compulsive purchasing on the cyberspace, the same size to be considered would be big. Hence both undergraduates and graduate students would be interviewed. Apart from the convenience facet, it has besides been found out in old research that immature grownups are more prone to compulsive purchasing, therefore doing this group of university pupils rather disposed for the research. The questionnaires are to be completed over a period of 2 hebdomads. Once this is done, compulsive purchasers amongst the respondents can identified from the questionnaires. Following, is the qualitative attack, whereby a focal point group will be conducted amongst the identified compulsive purchasers. Although, most of consequences can be analysed from the questionnaire itself, the focal point group would be assisting to farther penetrations on the issue of compulsive purchasing over the cyberspace such as why consumers feel the demand to shop obsessively, what motivates so to make so etc. Audio tapes will be used for entering the treatment in the focal point group. Besides, secondary reading would be used throughout the research in order to cast more visible radiation on this country.

In footings of the quantitative information analysis, one time the information from the questionnaire is analysed it will be entered into the SPSS package with the necessary codifications which will assist in analysis through assorted tools. A descriptive analysis is so made in order to measure the effectives of the acquired informations via the assorted variables mentioned in the questionnaire such as age, gender etc. For eg frequence tabular arraies and pictural representations via agencies of saloon graphs or pie chart can do to understand the distribution of work forces versus adult females in their compulsive purchasing behavior. This can so be analysed under cross-tabulations. The research hypotheses, which are all one-tailed, would so be tested utilizing correlativity analysis. More specifically for hypothesis Pearson correlativity will be used. Multiple arrested development analysis will besides be used doing compulsive purchasing the dependant variable and the on-line scene as an independent variable. The arrested development analysis will be utile to gauge the influence of the cyberspace over compulsive purchasing. Besides, independent sample t-test will be conducted by first comparing the agencies of compulsive purchasing in work forces and adult females which is specific to hypothesis 1. Traveling on to the qualitative analysis, for the focal point groups, one time the sound tapes are decently analysed, interpretative ideas can so be summed up about online compulsive purchasing behavior. Hence, with the aid of the audio tapes, the group treatment every bit good as the tone of the treatment can be re-experienced whenever required which is one of the chief benefits of focal point groups. ( Gordon and Langmaid,1988 )


In decision, the proposed research of the influence of cyberspace over compulsive purchasing behavior would assist in adding on to the behavior of consumer research. The chief purpose of this is to supply information on compulsive purchasing behavior on a different retail environment as most of the old research has considered this subject within the context of a physical shop merely. This study has provided the reader a brief literature reappraisal on compulsive purchasing as a whole in order to better understand the context of the research that is to be conducted. The conceptual theoretical account depicted in table 1 would be the anchor of this piece of research. With the aid of the proposed methodological analysiss, the consequences of this survey should be able to come up with some absorbing guess on consumer ‘s inclination to exhibit on-line compulsive purchasing. Furthermore, this research should ideally pave the way for future survey on compulsive purchasing with a heavy accent on the Internet.