Proceedings of the 2018 2nd International Conference on Management, Education and Social Science (ICMESS 2018)

Research on the Influence of Reference Group Types on Consumers' Purchase Decisions from the Perspective of Social Networks

Hong Jin, Yunting Miao
Corresponding author
Hong Jin
Social networks; Member groups; Non-member groups; Consumers’ purchase decisions
After years of research, foreign scholars have confirmed that the reference group has a significant impact on consumers' purchase decisions and brand preferences. In recent years, some scholars have considered that due to the impact of traditional culture, domestic consumers are more subtle in their expressions than Western consumers who pursue individuality. China has a close human relationship and a high degree of socialization. What’s more, consumers have a stronger mindset. Therefore, the influence of reference groups in the Chinese market environment is greater than that of Western societies. The research on the influence of reference groups in the context of Chinese social networks is of great importance and particularity, but domestic research is obviously insufficient. This paper examines domestic and foreign research on reference groups and consumer online shopping decisions. From the perspective of social networks, this paper discusses the impact of two reference group types on consumer purchasing decision-making among the member groups and non-member groups including aspiration reference groups, dissociative reference groups, and neutral reference groups. In subsequent studies, empirical methods will be used to further verify the impact of reference groups on purchase decisions. Reference groups play an important role in practice, and companies should pay more attention to reference groups when developing marketing strategies.
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