Original Research - Special Collection: Contemporary Issues in Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems

Digital consumer perspectives on data access in an emerging market

Semona Pillay, Ilse Struweg
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 25, No 1 | a1645 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v25i1.1645 | © 2023 Semona Pillay, Ilse Struweg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 January 2023 | Published: 04 July 2023

About the author(s)

Semona Pillay, Department of Marketing Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ilse Struweg, Department of Marketing Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Various data access types influence online purchasing in South Africa, contributing to a digital divide. Literature on consumers’ perceptions of data access and its influence on online consumer decision-making is scant.

Objectives: This study explores South African consumers’ perceptions of data access and its influence on online consumer decision-making.

Method: Plowright’s Framework for Integrated Methodology (FraIM) guided the study’s methodological choices. Through purposive sampling, 25 participants who purchased online 6 months before data collection participated in four virtual focus group discussions. Tesch’s eight steps guided the data analysis procedure.

Results: Access to data lies on a continuum from limited to sufficient data access, impacted by location, infrastructure, affordability, time spent online, data usage and device, and supporting factors. Limited data access impedes online consumer decision-making, whereas sufficient data access supports online consumer decision-making. With better data access, consumers can spend more time online deliberating risks by searching for information, reading reviews, comparing alternatives, tracking purchases and influencing other consumers to purchase online.

Conclusion: A lack of data access impedes, while sufficient data access supports online consumer decision-making.

Contribution: This study adds to the limited knowledge of data access and its implications for decision-making in South Africa. Using the FraIM in a marketing-related study provides novel methodological insights for future research.


Keywords

data access; digital divide; decision-making; online buying; emerging markets; framework for integrated methodology (FraIM); digital consumers; internet access.

JEL Codes

D11: Consumer Economics: Theory; L96: Telecommunications; M31: Marketing

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Metrics

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