Live streaming is transforming how people use social media due to its real-time interaction, improvised content co-creation and unique traffic monetization. However, limited research attention has been paid to such a new social media-enabled business model. This research investigates what factors may affect viewers’ purchase intention of virtual gifts in live streaming based on flow theory and swift guanxi. Moreover, the moderating role of free items is considered. The research model developed will be tested using Structural Equation Modeling based on survey data collected in China. The proposed relationships will be examined under different types of live streaming. Our study extends the understanding to the theory of flow by taking the effects of swiftly formed interpersonal relationship (i.e. swift guanxi) and free items into account. The results can be used by platforms and streamers to improve their practices.



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