The influence of website characteristics on a consumer's urge to buy impulsively

D. Veena Parboteeah, Joseph S. Valacich, John D. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

520 Scopus citations


With the proliferation of e-commerce, there is growing evidence that online impulse buying is occurring, yet relatively few researchers have studied this phenomenon. This paper reports on two studies that examine how variations in a website influence online impulse buying. The results reveal some relevant insights about this phenomenon. Specifically, although many participants had the urge to buy impulsively, regardless of website quality, this behavior's likelihood and magnitude was directly influenced by varying the quality of taskrelevant and mood-relevant cues. Task-relevant cues include characteristics, such as navigability, that help in the attainment of the online consumer's shopping goal. Conversely, mood-relevant cues refer to the characteristics, such as visual appeal, that affect the degree to which a user enjoys browsing a website but that do not directly support a particular shopping goal. The implications of the results for both future research and the design of human-computer interfaces are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-78
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Electronic commerce
  • Environmental psychology
  • Human-computer interface
  • Impulse buying
  • Scenario
  • Website characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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