Title: Are digital influencers social change catalysts? Empirical findings from the online apparel industry

Authors: Muddasar Ghani Khwaja; Umer Zaman; Athar Hameed Butt

Addresses: Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Islamabad Campus, Pakistan ' Endicott College of International Studies (ECIS), Woosong University, South Korea ' Azman Hashim International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia

Abstract: Digital influencers have evolved the thinking and buying patterns of consumers on the social media platforms. The unorthodox approach of attracting the masses has considerably increased online purchase intentions. Especially during the global pandemic COVID-19, consumer's high inclination towards online buying has been regarded as a natural phenomenon. Therefore, it remains eminent to determine that what factors boost buying intentions of the consumers during pandemic. In this regard, sequential mediation role of brand engagement, brand attitude and brand expected value were taken into consideration for precise examination of consumer online buying journey. Conceptually knitted associations were determined using positivist doctrine. The data was collected from 287 online apparel shoppers. Structural equation modelling (SEM) technique was executed for determining cause and effect relationships among the constructs. The study provides new evidences about digital influencers' role and their impact on consumers' online buying behaviours during pandemic. The results affirmed strong causal relationships among the hypothesised paths.

Keywords: perceived influence; COVID-19; brand attitude; purchase intentions; brand engagement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2022.122442

International Journal of Technology Marketing, 2022 Vol.16 No.1/2, pp.145 - 167

Received: 22 Feb 2021
Accepted: 15 Jul 2021

Published online: 25 Apr 2022 *

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