Online group influence and digital product consumption

Jifeng Mu, Ellen Thomas, Jiayin Qi, Yong Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This article examines the differential effects of online group influence on digital product consumption, using the context of online music listening with a distinction between mainstream music and niche music. The results suggest that the relationship between online groups, product category, and digital product consumption is more complex than previously conceived. We find that superordinate in-groups have a stronger influence on mainstream music listening, while subordinate in-groups have a higher impact on niche music listening. Music listeners can cross in-group lines to listen to music, although the effect on digital music consumption is not as strong as with superordinate in-groups on mainstream listening and subordinate in-groups on niche music listening. Our results also suggest that the positive effect of groups on online music listening reaches an initial ceiling effect before it hits a tipping point and accelerates. The findings provide novel insights into the role of online group influence in the growing reality of digital products and changing consumer behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-947
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


  • Digital product consumption
  • Group influence
  • Mainstream and niche music
  • Online music listening
  • Subordinate in-group
  • Superordinate in-group


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