Paul A. Pavlou
ABSTRACT: This paper aims to predict consumer acceptance of e-commerce by proposing a set of key drivers for engaging consumers in on-line transactions. The primary constructs for capturing consumer acceptance of e-commerce are intention to transact and on-line transactionbehavior. Following the theory of reasoned action (TRA) as applied to a technology-driven environment, technology acceptance model (TAM) variables (perceived usefulness and ease of use) are posited as key drivers of e-commerce acceptance. The practical utility of TAM stems from the fact that e-commerce is technology-driven. The proposed model integrates trust and perceived risk, which areincorporated given the implicit uncertainty of the e-commerce environment. The proposed integration of the hypothesized independent variables is justified by placing all the variables under the nomological TRA structure and proposing their interrelationships. The resulting research model is tested using data from two empirical studies. The first, exploratory study comprises three experiential scenarioswith 103 students. The second, confirmatory study uses a sample of 155 on-line consumers. Both studies strongly support the e-commerce acceptance model by validating the proposed hypotheses. The paper discusses the implications for e-commerce theory, research, and practice, and makes several suggestions for future research. KEY WORDS AND PHRASES: Consumer behavior, perceived ease of use, perceivedrisk, perceived usefulness, technology acceptance, transaction intentions, trust. The outlook for business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic commerce depends not only on consumer acceptance of Internet technologies as viable transaction means, but on consumer recognition of Web retailers as reliable merchants. In light of this, a comprehensive model describing the factors that drive consumers to accepte-commerce and on-line transactions would be useful for both academicians and practitioners, in that it would help them to better understand consumer on-line behavior in the emerging B2C e-commerce environment. In order to provide a solid theoretical basis for selecting influential driving factors, this paper integrates two important streams of literature under the nomological structure of thetheory of reasoned action (TRA) [3, 33, 71]: (a) the technology acceptance model (TAM) [24, 25, 26], and (b) the literature on trust and risk [7, 29, 30, 47, 53, 58, 59]. TAM’s value in technologydriven contexts has been consistently important [11, 41, 65, 77], so employing it in the technology-driven context of e-commerce is a rational undertaking. Similarly, employing trust and risk perceptions inthe uncertain context of ecommerce is also reasonable. Drawing upon these literatures, this paper theoretically develops and empirically validates a research model that predicts consumer acceptance of e-commerce. The spatial and temporal separation between consumers and Web retailers and the unpredictability of the Internet infrastructure generate an implicit
International Journal of ElectronicCommerce / Spring 2003, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 69–103. Copyright © 2003 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved. 1086-4415/2002 $9.50 + 0.00.
1/27/2003, 12:24 AM
PAUL A. PAVLOU
uncertainty around on-line transactions . First, there is the risk of monetary loss, since consumers have to rely on electronic information and thus become vulnerable to incomplete ordistorted information provided by Web retailers and third parties . Second, there is the risk of loss of privacy associated with providing (whether intentionally or involuntarily) personal information to Web retailers [23, 32]. Hence, B2C e-commerce is associated with an important delegation of authority that consumers surrender during on-line transactions. In sum, the open nature of the...