Online buying behavior in Saudi Arabia and New Zealand: a comparative case study

Alsuwat, Mohammed Owaidh
Brian, Cusack
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Master of Computer and Information Sciences
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Auckland University of Technology

The internet has become an indispensable part of daily life, and businesses realize that the internet can be another channel for e-commerce that reaches local and global consumers.

This research is an examination of three hypotheses that demonstrate the significance of the user-interface, the online payment system and consumers relationships within their social environments as elements that may impact on an individuals’ decision to buy online.

H1. There is a positive relationship between the quality ofonline shopping websites and customers’ decision to purchase online in Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. H2. Relationships and the experience of others is an important factor that has an impact on the customer behavior and decision making to buy online.
H3. There is a positive relationship between the existence of good online payment systems and the tendency of the consumers to shop online.

This study is an exploration of the factors that influence e-shoppers’ purchases using a comparative case study with interviews that explore the post-experience perceptions of a sample set of online shoppers. The researcher takes the view that consumers from different cultures recognize different factors affecting their consumer attitudes. This research is a comparison of online buying behavior in Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. Due to the underdeveloped state of online shopping in Saudi Arabia despite it being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the research was motivated by a desire to identify the factors that may give rise to this situation.

It was deemed impractical to study all factors, so the researcher focused on factors that affect consumers’attitudes. The selection process was based on the belief that consumers are the most important agents in the e-commerce process. An exploratory, qualitative research method is adopted to gain an in-depth understanding of the factors that affect consumers’ behavior in purchasing online. A semi-structured interview was designed and 12 participants were interviewed (four participant from New Zealand, four participants from Saudi Arabia and the last four are from Saudis living in New Zealand). A content analysis was undertaken with the assistance of the qualitative software NVIVO 9.2 to answer the questions designed for this thesis project.

The key findings of this research are thatthe elements tested in the hypotheses were not as important to the selected participants (sample selected for the study). The evidence showed that privacy and security issues, late delivery service and credit cards fees were the most important factors for the New Zealand case study, whereas the key factors in the Saudi case study were the failure of the postal system, digital illiteracy (ignorance of this service) and a lack of motivation to purchase online. Future studies using a large quantitative sample are recommended to build on these exploratory findings. It is hoped that this research will provide a guideline to improve the state of online shopping in Saudi Arabia by taking advantage of the information provided by this research.

E-commerce , Online shopping , Saudi Arabia , Online customers , Factors
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