Analysing the Impact of Luxury Fashion Brands' Firm-Generated Content on Consumer's Attention, Attitudes and Purchase Intention in China, and the moderating effects of involvement

Student thesis: Phd


Firm-generated content (FGC) is believed to be a form of online advertisement as it allows firms to create and spread promotional communications (Yang, Zheng, Zhang, Jiang, Chao and Doong, 2019). Lots of luxury fashion brands are using social media to serve various business purposes. However, the understanding of how FGC persuade consumers to purchase is scant. There is a call for conducting detailed message-level analysis that examines the effect of specific FGC characteristics and categories to understand the effect of FGC (Kumar et al., 2016; Gavilanes, Flatten, & Brettel, 2018; Yang et al., 2019). Furthermore, Chinese consumers are believed to be one of the main contributor to global fashion consumption and its growth. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to examine the effect of luxury fashion brands's FGC on consumers' attention, attitude and purchase intention in China, and the moderating role of involvement through eye tracking experiments and survey experiments. The implications of this research will help luxury brands to improve their FGC creation in accordance with target consumers' responses of favourable brand attitude and purchase intention in China. This study extensively examined the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) and information processing theories under the context of luxury brand's FGC. This study examined the extended ELM framework to investigate how luxury fashion brand's FGC influence consumers' attention, attitude and then lead to their purchase intention. This study also examined if involvement moderate consumers' responses of processing FGC. Consumers' attention towards FGC categories and the effect of involvement are examined through the eye tracking experiments. A sample of 50 participants participated in the eye tracking study. Then, the effects of FGC characteristics of informativeness and entertainment on consumers' attitude and purchase intention, and the moderating role of involvement are examined via survey experiments. 451 participants participated in the study. The sample for both parts of the study consist of Chinese female consumers who uses social media. The finding shows that FGC informativeness and entertainment are both important in affecting consumers' attitude towards luxury brands' FGC. The present study extends the ELM and confirms, consumers with high involvement pay more attention to product-related FGC process mainly through central route. They collect and evaluate product related information and form purchase intention when they found the FGC of hedonic and utilitarian value; and form favourable brand attitude when the FGC of hedonic value. Nevertheless, consumers with low involvement pay more attention to promotional FGC process mainly through the peripheral route. They are persuaded to purchase and hold favourable brand attitude when they find FGC of both hedonic and utilitarian value. Attitude resulting from deliberate considerations via central route are more predictive of purchase intention than it formed through peripheral route. This study has filled the research gap in social media marketing literature and provided a profound understanding of FGC processing mechanisms, and the moderating effect of involvement. Therefore, this thesis has provided theoretical and managerial implications of how FGC categories and characteristics led to attention, hedonic and utilitarian attitude, then lead to favourable brand attitude and purchase intention, and how involvement moderates the process.
Date of Award6 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDelia Vazquez (Supervisor) & Rosy Boardman (Supervisor)


  • attention
  • content strategy
  • purchase intention
  • eye-tracking
  • attitude
  • Sina Weibo
  • social media advertising
  • elaboration likelihood model
  • information processing
  • social media marketing
  • firm generated content
  • luxury fashion marketing

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