Shopping in a virtual world: An analysis of young users' experiences

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The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to analyze how user experiences with their avatar impact on intention to shop in Second Life (SL) and 2) to identify particular user motivations that influence their intention to shop in SL. 119 Midwest USA college students responded to a survey after completing a course assignment introducing them to SL and shopping in a virtual world. The results indicated that users' satisfaction with the look of their avatar had a significant impact on their intention to shop in SL, but it was not important that their avatar was similar to their actual look. When shopping in SL, it was more likely that users would buy products for their avatar that were significantly different than similar products purchased for themselves in the real world. While users reported various motivations for using SL, the highest motivation that influenced their intention to shop in SL was to play and interact with other online community members. Implications were addressed for retailers who operate in a virtual world environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Avatar
  • Intention
  • Motivation
  • Second life
  • Virtual world


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