Cross-Cultural Effects of Processing-Congruent Interfaces on Consumer Choice

The global prevalence of mobile touch devices has changed dramatically in recent years, with the number of mobile-only users exceeding the number of desktop-only users in 2015 (ComScore 2015), the time spent on mobile devices for media consumption increasing from 45 min per day in 2011 up to 3 hours per day in 2015 (eMarketer 2015), and the share of all e-commerce transactions on mobile touch devices growing three times faster in the US in 2015 than e-commerce overall (Internetretailer 2015). Despite this dramatic growth, research has not kept pace with the rapid expansion of device types. The current cross-cultural project addresses this lack of research and examines how changes in computing input-modalities (i.e., direct versus indirect touch interfaces; multi-touch interfaces with or without hand-gestures) affect the psychological process and experience of consumers across Western and Eastern cultures. This research project examines whether cultural predispositions in information processing (holistic or contextual processing of Eastern consumers vs. analytic or non-contextual processing of Western consumers; Nisbett et al. 2001; Masuda 2003) will differentially affect Western and Eastern consumers’ ability to mentally simulate product use and their inclination to purchase a product based on the interface-type they are using. The primal hypothesis is that processing-congruent interfaces (i.e., interfaces that support consumers’ information processing style; complex gestures in holistic thinking cultures vs. no gestures or less complex gestures in analytically thinking cultures) promote consumers’ ability to mentally simulate product use and promote actual conversion. The findings of this research will have important implications for the study of human-computer interaction across cultures and the robustness of mobile marketing applications in cross-cultural environments.

  • Prof. Christian Hildebrand, UNIGE, Geneva School of Economics and Management
  • Prof. Jing Jiang, Renmin School of Business