Inducing shoppers’ impulsive buying tendency in live-streaming: Integrating signaling theory with social exchange theory

Xi Luo, Jun Hwa Cheah, Xin Jean Lim, T. Ramayah, Yogesh K. Dwivedi

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Purpose: The increasing popularity of live-streaming commerce has provided a new opportunity for e-retailers to boost sales. This study integrated signaling theory and social exchange theory to investigate how streamer- and product-centered signals influence customers’ likelihood of making an impulsive purchase in the live-streaming commerce context. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was designed and distributed to the target respondents in China using purposive sampling. A total of 735 valid responses were analyzed with partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Findings: Both streamer-centered signals, i.e. streamer credibility and streamer interaction quality, were discovered to significantly influence product-centered signal, i.e. product information quality. Additionally, streamer interaction quality was found to have a significant impact on streamer credibility. Furthermore, it was observed that customer engagement played a significant mediating role in the relationship between product information quality and impulsive buying tendency. Moreover, the paths between product information quality and customer engagement, as well as the connection between engagement and impulsive buying tendency, were found to be moderated by guanxi orientation. Originality/value: Despite the prevalence of impulsive purchases in live-streaming commerce, few studies have empirically investigated the impact of streamer and product signals on influencing customers’ impulsive purchase decisions. Consequently, to the best of our knowledge, this study distinguishes itself by offering empirical insights into how streamers use reciprocating relationship mechanisms to communicate signals that facilitate impulsive purchase decisions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternet Research
Early online date24 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2024


  • Customer engagement
  • Impulsive buying tendency
  • Live-streaming commerce
  • Signaling theory
  • Social exchange theory

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