The Concept of Flow in Online Consumer Behavior

  • Irene Esteban-Millat
  • Francisco J. Martínez-López
  • David Luna
  • Inma Rodríguez-Ardura
Chapter
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)

Abstract

The concept of flow has become increasingly relevant in the field of online navigation and specifically in explaining consumer behaviour in electronic markets. Not only can it be used to characterize the user’s interactive relationship with virtual environments, but it can also have a positive and desirable impact on the individuals’ consumption experiences and also on the performance of the companies’ websites which induce flow state in their customers. The purpose of this conceptual article is to analyse in-depth the concept of flow and elucidate its relevance to the context of online consumer behaviour. It contains a comprehensive and critical analysis of the literature and highlights the potential for businesses to generate flow experiences in their online environments. It also identifies the ambiguities and inconsistencies regarding the conceptualisation and operationalisation of flow in online commercial websites. Finally, we stress the importance of conducting further research in this area, with particular focus on the role of flow within the prevailing social web context.

Keywords

Flow E-commerce Internet Online consumer behavior 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Esteban-Millat
    • 1
  • Francisco J. Martínez-López
    • 2
  • David Luna
    • 3
  • Inma Rodríguez-Ardura
    • 4
  1. 1.Open University of CataloniaBarceloneSpain
  2. 2.University of Granada; and Open University of CataloniaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Internet Interdisciplinary InstituteOpen University of CataloniaCataloniaSpain

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