*Tengku Siti Aisha Tengku Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen & Aini Maznina A. Manaf
A media user’s imagined relationship with mediated characters and personalities can influence him/her in a variety of ways. Through celebrity-fan engagement on social media, fans can be influenced by their favourite celebrities in various ways, including wanting to practice a healthier lifestyle, considering cosmetic surgery or using certain brands. The introduction of contemporary new media, with easy access and heightened interactivity, has motivated scholars to re-examine how parasocial relationships may form online, and their effect on media users. However, little is known about how parasocial relationships influence online consumer behaviour. Accordingly, this study focuses on identifying the predictors of purchase intentions of celebrity-endorsed products among female Instagram users in Malaysia (N = 630). Using an online survey, they were asked to rate their social media engagement with a celebrity that they follow on Instagram as well as provide responses about the celebrity characteristics. Overall, results highlight the positive impact of parasocial interaction on the purchase intentions of celebrity-endorsed products. Specifically, findings suggest that parasocial interaction: (a) mediates the relationship between Instagram use and purchase intentions, and (b) partially mediates the relationship between attitude homophily and purchase intentions. The ramifications of these findings on parasocial interaction theory and the effect of celebrity endorsements on social media are also discussed.
Keywords: Attitude homophily, celebrity endorsements, Instagram use, parasocial interaction, purchase intentions