Investigating decision factors in mobile application purchase: A mixed-methods approach

Hee Woong Kim, Atreyi Kankanhalli, Hyun Lyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The growth of the smart devices market and the development of mobile applications (Apps) for them have given rise to an App economy. Sales of mobile applications are a key revenue source in this economy, with the expected worldwide market growth of US $75 billion by 2017. Despite the trend, many mobile Apps fail to attract customers, yet there has been a lack of research and understanding of the factors that affect the decisions to buy them. This study is thus motivated to examine the factors that people consider in their buying decisions of mobile Apps for their smartphones. This mixed-methods investigation first adopts an exploratory and qualitative approach to identify the purchase decision factors based on interviews with consumers. It then undertakes a quantitative, confirmatory study using a survey to test the model derived using mental accounting theory and the findings of the exploratory study. The results show the direct and indirect effects of five factors – word of mouth about App, App usefulness, monetary value of App, App trialability, and App enjoyment – on the intention to purchase an App. In this manner, this study advances our understanding of the decision-making factors leading to the purchase of mobile Apps. It also facilitates developers and marketers to promote the sales of their Apps for revenue generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-739
Number of pages13
JournalInformation and Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Atreyi Kankanhalli received her B.Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, the M.S. degree from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, and the Ph.D. degree from the National University of Singapore. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Information Systems at the National University of Singapore. She had visiting stints at the London School of Economics, University of California Berkeley, and Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. She has considerable work experience in industrial R&D and has consulted for several organizations including World Bank and Bosch SEA. She conducts research in the areas of knowledge management, virtual teams and communities, and IT in service sectors (egovernment and healthcare), supported by government and industry grants. Her work has appeared in the MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of AIS, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, International Journal of Human Computer Studies, Communications of the ACM, Decision Support Systems, and the International Conference on Information Systems and HICSS among others. Prof. Kankanhalli has been awarded the Infocomm Development Authority Gold Medal, IBM Faculty Award, and the ACM SIGMIS 2003 Best Doctoral Dissertation award among others. She has been listed among the leading IS researchers globally and in the Asia Pacific region. She serves or has served on a number of IS conference committees and on the editorial boards of the MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and Information and Management, among others.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management

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