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The nature of e-commerce demands the study of consumer behavior that responds to various cultural preferences. Culture has been identified as an underlying determinant of consumer behavior, and this extends to e-commerce. This research investigates this phenomenon for the Egyptian consumer.

This study highlights the roles of trust, uncertainty avoidance, Internet store familiarity, and reputation as the main factors affecting the perception of the consumer toward e-commerce.

The study results support the significant role of the Internet store's perceived familiarity and reputation as the main antecedents of online trust. The relationship between trust and perceived familiarity and reputation are found to be culturally high for high uncertainty avoidance of the consumer. Also the study highlights the significant effect of trust on the attitude towards and the willingness to buy from an e-commerce site. Furthermore, it provides an understanding of the cultural drivers of e-commerce.

Table of Contents


1.1 History of E-commerce 5


2.1 Effect of Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions on E-commerce 8

2.1.1 The Internet shopping environment 9

2.1.2 Cultural Effects 10

2.1.3 Uncertainty Avoidance: Is Internet shopping too risky? 11

2.1.4 Individualism-Collectivism: Can I trust you? 12

2.1.5 Conclusion 15


3.1 Definition 16

3.2 Goal 17

3.3 Localization 18

3.4 Meaning in Mediated Action 19


4.1 The Theory of Reasoned Action 21

4.2 The Theory of Planned Behavior 22

4.3 Online Purchasing Behavior 22

4.4 Attributes 24


5.1 A Tale of Two Nations (U.S and Thailand) 26

5.1.1 The U.S. and Thailand - Some Key Differences 26

5.2 Another study between UK and Greece 30


6.1 Perceived Familiarity (PFAM) 35

6.2 Perceived Reputation (PREP) 36

6.3 Trust (TRST) 36

6.4 Attitude (ATT) 36

6.5 Willingness to Buy (WTB) 37

6.6 Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) 37

6.7 Data Analysis and Results 38

6.7.1 Data Cultural Groups 38

6.7.2 Demographic Analysis 38

6.7.3 Control Checks 39

6.7.4 Results 41

7 References 44


E-commerce stands for "Electronic Commerce". The term refers to any business that is conducted over the Internet using any of the applications that rely on the Internet, such as e-mail, instant messaging, shopping carts, web services, UDDI, FTP, and EDI, among others. Electronic commerce can be between two businesses transmitting funds, goods, services and/or data or between a business and a customer. The amount of trade conducted electronically has grown dramatically since the spread of the Internet.

1.1 History of E-commerce

The meaning of "electronic commerce" has changed over the last 30 years. Originally, "electronic commerce" meant the facilitation of commercial transactions electronically, using technology such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). These were both introduced in the late 1970s, allowing businesses to send commercial documents like purchase orders or invoices electronically. The growth and acceptance of credit cards, automated teller machines (ATM) and telephone banking in the 1980s were also forms of e-commerce. From the 1990s onwards, e-commerce would additionally include enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), data mining and data warehousing.

Perhaps the earliest example of many-to-many electronic commerce in physical goods was the Boston Computer Exchange, a marketplace for used computers launched in 1982. The first online information marketplace, including online consulting, was likely the American Information Exchange, another pre-Internet online system introduced in 1991.

When the Web first became well-known among the general public in 1994, many journalists and pundits forecast that e-commerce would soon become a major economic sector. However, it took about four years for security protocols (like HTTPS) to become sufficiently developed and widely deployed. Subsequently, between 1998 and 2000, a substantial number of businesses in the United States and Western Europe developed rudimentary web sites.

In the dot com era, e-commerce came to include activities more precisely termed "Web commerce" -- the purchase of goods and services over the World Wide Web, usually with secure connections, with e-shopping carts and with electronic payment services such as credit card payment authorizations.

Although a large number of "pure e-commerce" companies disappeared during the dot-com collapse in 2000 and 2001, many "brick-and-mortar" retailers recognized that such companies had identified valuable niche markets and began to add e-commerce capabilities to their Web sites. For example, after the collapse of online grocer Webvan, two traditional supermarket chains, Albertsons and Safeway, both started e-commerce subsidiaries through which consumers could order groceries online.

The emergence of e-commerce also significantly lowered barriers to entry in the



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