The tourism industry is one of the fastest growing and the largest sectors of the world economy (World Travel & Tourism Council). In many countries of the world, tourism activities are considered as more important than production and other services, concerning its economic and social aspects (Agaraj & Murati, 2009). For tourists, shopping is an important element of a trip as it provides them with a sense of pleasure and excitement (Turner & Reisinger, 2001). Shopping is also perceived to be a destination attraction or a tourism product. The consumption of shopping greatly contributes to a host country’s economy, directly through the retail industry and indirectly through its link with other industries.
China tourism industry has experienced unprecedented development in recent years due to the sustainable economic growth. In 2018, Chinese domestic tourism revenue is CNY 5.13 trillion, and the increasing rate is 12.3% over 2017. But the revenue of tourism shopping is still far away from the 50% share of developed countries and districts. Therefore, many scholars paid attention to the customer behavior.
To predict customer behavior, first of all, it is necessary to understand the customer’s intention. Purchase intention is the possibility of customer trying to purchase a certain product or brand (Dodds et al., 1991). Existing academic studies have verified that customer’s subjective intention and external factors have impact on their purchase intention.
Perceived Value (PV) is an important antecedent variable of customer behavioral intention. Perceived value is critical in assisting companies in providing products that meet the expectations of their customers. Customers make purchasing decisions based on their perceived value, or the degree to which their needs and expectations about product quality, service quality, and/or price are satisfied (Duchessi, 2004). Perceived value is a multi-dimension. Although the scholars have found perceived value has effect on purchase intention for souvenir, they have rarely illustrated the perceived value dimensions had impacts on behavior intention for souvenir.
Krugman introduced the concept of involvement to the field of marketing research for the first time, and it has been more widely used in subsequent studies by scholars. In the research of consumer behavior, product involvement plays an important role in explaining consumer decision-making. Looking through the relevant literature, it is found that product involvement usually appears as a moderating variable. Although there are many research results on the moderating role of product involvement, few researchers have conducted research on whether the moderating role of product involvement exists in the process of the influence of the perceived value dimension on the purchase intention for ICH souvenirs.
The study built a framework including perceived value dimensions, product involve men, purchase intention in order to deepen the research on customer perceived value theory in souvenir context, to provide a certain reference for the relevant departments to develop and sell ICH souvenirs.
2. Literature Review and Hypotheses
2.1. Intangible Cultural Heritage Souvenir
With the change of tourists’ travel concept and consumption concept, purchasing souvenirs has become a very important part of travel process, and this purchase behavior has also brought huge profits to tourism destination. Although researchers have made a very detailed classification of souvenirs, most researchers seldom mention ICH souvenir. Only in the past researches, Huang & Lyu (2017) stated the concept of ICH production. It is product or service that is available for use and consumption, based on intangible cultural heritage resources, and is designed, innovated and produced by traditional or modern techniques through the production entities such as inheritors or enterprises, which can satisfy consumers’ aesthetic, spiritual pleasure and cultural experience. Based on the concept, in the study, the researcher stated ICH souvenir is a special kind of souvenirs designed by the resources of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is a kind of souvenir with the characteristics of ICH, and also a kind of “original ecology” reproduction of national personality, living habits and aesthetic attitudes. ICH is a form of expression of traditional culture closely related to people’s production and life and passed down from generation to generation in the form of intangible culture.
2.2. Purchase Intention
Intention is the subjective probability of an individual engaging in a particular behavior. Purchase intention refers to the probability that consumers are willing to take certain purchase behaviors. Purchase intention can be regarded as the subjective tendency of consumers to choose specific products, and has been proved to be an important indicator to predict consumer behavior. Consumers’ attitudes towards a product or brand, coupled with external factors, constitute consumers’ purchase intention (Mullet & Karson, 1985).
The influencing factors of purchase intention are the focus of scholars’ research, and the existing researches demonstrate that there are several main influencing factors: the first is the product factor including product interior cues and exterior cues. Internal cues are product attributes associated with functional value, such as usage value and quality characteristics, etc. External cues are external factors such as price and brand that have nothing to do with product attributes. The second is situational factor. Consumer buying decisions will change as the situation changes. For example, price discount in shopping malls will affect consumers purchasing mood and perception of risk, thus influencing their purchase intention (Yu & Sun, 2014). The shopping atmosphere in a store influences consumers buying intention (Song, 2011). The third is customer perceived value. Perceived value is the subjective evaluation of customer perceived benefits and perceived risks brought by products or services based on individual cognition. Zeithaml (1988) believes that customers’ consumption intention and behavior are determined by their personal perceived value of products, services or behaviors.
2.3. Perceived Value Dimension
The scholars analyze different perceived value dimensions for different research objects. Tourist perceived value of agricultural sightseeing area into functional value, convenience value, emotional value, social value and educational value (Scaglione & Mendola, 2017). Hong et al. (2010) divide perceived value into four dimensions, namely perceived price, emotional value, novelty value and social value. Eid & El-Gohary (2015) propose six dimensions, including quality value, price value, emotional value, social value, material attribute value and non-material attribute value. Referring to scholars division of perceived value dimension, this study proposes a dimension applicable to measure the perceived value of ICH souvenir. Considering when tourists buy these special souvenirs, they will not only consider their own consumption needs, but also consider whether their purchase will have impacts on the protection and inheritance of intangible cultural heritage. Therefore, based on the characteristics of ICH tourism souvenir, the perceived value dimensions in this study include functional value, social value, emotional value, relationship support value, and price value.
Some researchers have explored the relationship between dimensions of perceived value and purchase intention in different context. Mahendar (2019) examined the relationship between multiple dimensions of customer perceived value and purchase intention of solar energy products. The researcher found economic value, service value and functional value had a significant influence on purchase intention. In Wang et al. (2018) research, perceived value included five dimensions, namely functional, emotional, novelty, value for money, and social value. Results revealed that five dimensions of perceived value had significant positive influences on tourists’ souvenir purchase intentions. So, the following hypotheses are formulated:
H1: Perceived functional value of a ICH souvenir has a positive and significant impact on their purchase intention.
H2: Perceived emotional value of a ICH souvenir has a positive and significant impact on their purchase intention.
H3: Perceived social value of a ICH souvenir has a positive and significant impact on their purchase intention.
H4: Perceived relationship support value of a ICH souvenir has a positive and significant impact on their purchase intention.
H5: Perceived price value of a ICH souvenir has a positive and significant impact on their purchase intention.
2.4. Product Involvement
Some scholars found product involvement played a very important role in customer decision. On the basis of summarizing the results of previous studies, Zaichkowsky (1985) pointed out that product involvement referred to the important degree that consumers felt based on needs, preferences, and values. The final result of product involvement is a series of information decision-making, information collection and information processing processes. Sang & Guo (2013) believed that in essence, product involvement was based on the concept of consumers, not a concept based on products. It described consumers’ reactions to related products and was based on consumers’ own subjective feelings produced.
The impact of product involvement on customer behavior is different. Customer with different product involvement differ in information collection, brand preference, and product purchase (Zaichkowsky, 1985). For the customers with high involvement, they attach great importance to various related information about the product, including product performance, product characteristics and product-related brands, etc. If the customer already has a deep understanding of the product and it is difficult to change it. Therefore, the customer will have a high loyalty to his/her favorite product. Jia (2020) found product involvement of customer plays a moderating role between the enterprise image and brand loyalty of customer. The following hypotheses are, thus, developed:
H6: Product involvement plays a moderating role between functional value of ICH souvenir and purchase intention.
H7: Product involvement plays a moderating role between emotional value value of ICH souvenir and purchase intention.
H8: Product involvement ICH plays a moderating role between social value of ICH souvenir and purchase intention.
H9: Product involvement plays a moderating role between relationship support value of ICH souvenir and purchase intention.
H10: Product involvement plays a moderating role between price value of ICH souvenir and purchase intention.
As a result of the above hypotheses, a conceptual model is constructed and illustrated in Figure 1.
3. Research Method
A self-administered survey questionnaire was designed for data collection. The selection of measurement items was based on review of the literature. Based on the background of Intangible Cultural Heritage and tourism, the scale is sorted out and modified to make it more consistent with Chinese thinking and language habits. The questionnaire includes the dependent variable and independent variables and demographic information. All instrument definitions and the related literature are listed on Table 1. These twenty-one items are functional value (items 3), emotional value (items 3), social value (items 3), relationship support value (items 3), price value (items 3), product involvement (items 3) and purchase intention (items 3).
In 2018, 336,449 tourists have been to Suihua City. So the researcher employs Yamane’s equation formula to calculate for the sample size and use quota sampling in order to collect the data from the samples. Assuming that 95 percent confidence interval, the error level is 0.05. The minimum sample size is calculated by using the Yamane method which is shown below:
Figure 1. Conceptual model.
Table 1. Measures of construct.
Note: ICH = Intangible Cultural Heritage.
n = 399.53
So a sample of 400 tourists in Suihua city should be enough to give the confidence levels. To make sure the data more accurate, the author surveyed 425 questionnaires to tourists. Purposive sampling was used in this study to collect the data which is a non-probability sampling method.
The data collection was arranged to be carried out from 20th July 2019 to 19th August 2019. Altogether 425 questionnaires were distributed to the tourists who were travelling in Suihua city. The questionnaires were distributed at the main scenic spots in Suihua city where ICH souvenirs were sold. By the end of data collection, 401 was useful, resulting in a 94.35 response rate.
After collecting data, the author analyzed the reliability and validity. First, the author analyzed the reliability. Internal consistency is a measure of reliability (Table 2). One of the most widely used statistical tests is Cronbach’s alpha. The instrument is said to be reliable if it has Cronbach’s alpha ≥ 0.60 (Sugiyono, 2010).
Table 2. Reliability test.
As Table 2 depicted, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of each measurement item, dependent variable and the total scale was all above 0.6. Thus, it can be emphasized that the reliability of questionnaire of this particular study was satisfied.
Then the author analyzed the validity. All the dimensions and scale items were taken from the related literature. The literature had basically covered the domain of the research, and was representative. So, content validity had been already satisfied. Convergent validity was examined by Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) and Bartley sphere test in the study (Table 3).
The test results were shown in Table 3. The all of the KMO measure of sampling was above 0.70 and the outcome of a Bartlett’s test of sphere was significant (sig. < 0.05). Thus the convergent validity of each scale was good.
Table 3. Validity analyses.
The research used inferential statistics including multiple regression analysis, hierarchy regression analysis to test these hypotheses. Multiple regression analysis is used to predict the unknown value of a variable according to the known value of two or more variables. There are five independent variables such as functional value, emotional value, social value, relationship support value and price value in the study, so the author used multiple regressions to test their effects on the dependent variable. Hierarchical multiple regression can be used to assess the effects of a moderating variable. The moderator in the study is product involvement, and it is a variable that specifies conditions under which a given predictor is related to an outcome. The moderator explains when dependent variable and independent variable are related.
4.1. Multiple Regression Analysis
Table 4 presents the multiple regression results of the impacts of five independents variables which are functional value, emotional value, social value, relationship support value and price value on tourists’ purchase intention for ICH souvenir.
The constant value is the B0 to measure the overall regression results. From Table 4, it is 0.669. F-value is 53.726, significant at the 0.001 percent confidence level, meaning the whole of the five perceived value dimension had significant impacts on purchase intention, or at least one perceived value dimension had a significant impact on purchase intention. The result of Durbin-Watson is 1.988 compared with the benchmark of 2.00 to measure the model to fit in the regression, therefore, the model is considered fit to explain variables (Durbin & Watson, 1951).
The adjusted R2 are used to measure the relationship between independent variables and dependent variable. It showed the portion of dependent variable which can be explained by the independent variables. Its value ranges between 0 and 1. As shown in Table 4, adjusted R-squared was 0.397 meaning independent variables could account for the 39.7% of the dependent variable. The results of hypotheses were:
Table 4. Multiple regression tests on independent variables and dependent variable.
Notes: *. Sig. = 0.05, **. Sig. = 0.01, ***. Sig. = 0.001
1) Analysis on Hypothesis 1. The value of p and beta is used to identify the effect of independent variables on dependent variable. The regression analysis of H1 showed the p-value was 0.000 (<0.001), so functional value had a significant impact on purchase intention for ICH souvenir.
2) Analysis on Hypothesis 2. In the above table, the regression analysis of hypothesis 2 showed the p-value was 0.000 (<0.001), so the impact of emotional value on purchase intention for ICH souvenir was significant. It meant emotional value had a significant impact on purchase intention for ICH souvenir.
3) Analysis on Hypothesis 3. The above table showed the regression analysis result of hypothesis 3. The p-value was 0.012 (<0.05), so social value had a significant impact on purchase intention for ICH souvenir.
4) Analysis on Hypothesis 4. The above table showed, in hypothesis 4, the p-value was 0.011 (<0.05), so relationship support value had a significant impact on purchase intention for ICH souvenir.
5) Analysis on Hypothesis 5. The above table showed, in hypothesis 5, p-value was 0.000 which (<0.001), so price value had a significant impact on purchase intention for ICH souvenir.
4.2. Hierarchy Regression Analysis
Hierarchy regression is used to test hypothesis 6-10. The regression results are shown in Table 5. The change of F was significant (p < .01) in every model, indicating the change of R2 was significant which meant the moderating role existed. Compared with Model 1-2, R2 in Model 1-3 was increased, indicating that explanatory power of Model 1-3 was enhanced compared to Model 1-2. R2 in the Model 1-4 was higher than the Model 1-3, which also indicated that the explanatory power of Model 1-4 was enhanced over the Model 1-3. The change of R2 is significant, the interaction term is significant, so the moderating role exists.
1) Analysis on Hypothesis 6. The sixth hypothesis is that product involvement is a moderating variable of the relationship between functional value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir. The interaction, functional value* product involvement was created and tested for significance in the regression model. The impact of functional value* product involvement in this model was not significant at the p < 0.05 level. So functional value* product involvement (p = 0.095) was not significant predictor in the model. When interaction term is significant, the moderating role exists. Therefore product involvement was not a significant moderating variable of functional value effect on purchase intention in this model.
2) Analysis on Hypothesis 7. The seventh hypothesis is that product involvement is a moderating variable of the relationship between emotional value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir. The interaction, emotional value product involvement was created and tested for significance in the regression model. The impact of emotional value product involvement in this model was not significant at the p < 0.05 level. So emotional value product involvement was not significant predictor in the model, and it meant that product involvement was not a significant moderating variable of emotional value effect’ on purchase intention in this model.
3) Analysis on Hypothesis 8. The eighth hypothesis is that product involvement is a moderating variable of the relationship between social value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir. The interaction, social value product involvement was created and tested for significance in the regression model. The impact of social value product involvement (p = 0.815) in this model was not significant at the p < 0.05 level. So, product involvement in this model was significant at the p < 0.001 level. Product involvement was not a significant moderating variable in this model.
Table 5. Moderating role test of product involvement.
Note: *.Sig. = 0.05, **.Sig. = 0.01, ***.Sig. = 0.001; these data were Beta, unstandardized coefficients; FV = Functional Value, EV = Emotional Value, SV = Social Value, RSV = Relationship Support Value, PV = Price Value, PI = Purchase Intention, PIV = Product Involvement.
4) Analysis on Hypothesis 9. The ninth hypothesis is that product involvement is a moderating variable of the relationship between relationship support value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir. The interaction, relationship support value product involvement was created and tested for significance in the regression model. The impact of relationship support value product involvement in this model was not significant at the p < 0.05 level. So product involvement did not play a significant moderating role between relationship support value and purchase intention in this model.
5) Analysis on Hypothesis 10. The tenth hypothesis is that product involvement is a moderating variable of the relationship between price value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir. The interaction, price value product involvement was created and tested for significance in the regression model. The impact of price value product involvement in this model was significant at the p < 0.05 level. So product involvement played a significant moderating role between price value and purchase intention in this model. The results in Table 5 showed the interaction term coefficient was negative and significant (B = −0.058). So the results showed the relationship between price value and purchase intention was interfered by the moderator.
5. Conclusion and Recommendation
Hypothesis 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 were tested using multiple regressions. According to the test result, functional value, emotional value, social value, relationship support value and price value had significant impacts on purchase intention for ICH souvenir. Hierarchy regression tests are performed to analyze the moderation effect on the relationship between independent variables and the dependent variable. The conclusion was product involvement played a moderating role between price value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir; however it did not play a moderating role between functional value, emotional value, social value, relationship support value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir.
Firstly, this study deepened the research on customer perceived value theory in souvenir context. At present, the researches about perceived value of souvenir are not rich. This study explored the relationship between perceived value and purchase intention for souvenir. Moreover, this study also proposed the perceived value dimensions of souvenir, which could increase the research width of the perceived value dimensions, and also increase the application range of the research results.
Secondly, this study provided some recommendation for destination practitioners and marketers to enhance the tourist purchase intention. All of these can provide a certain reference for the relevant departments to develop and sell ICH souvenirs. Based on the results of this study, it can be known that, when tourists purchased ICH souvenirs, their perceived value of ICH souvenirs had important impacts on consumption intention. This reminds relevant enterprises and departments to use the perceived value of tourists as the starting point and center point when designing and selling ICH souvenirs, and pay attention to the realization of tourist perceived value. Successful enterprise focused on using not only modern technology, but also traditional culture to create customer perceived value. And also, they should improve product involvement of tourists.
Some recommendations are given to tourism enterprises and government agencies. Firstly, the marketers are recommended to guarantee the functional value of ICH souvenir. From the results of empirical analysis, even with the intervention of the moderator variable, the influence of functional value on purchase intention is still very high. Among the five perceived value dimensions, the impact of functional value on purchase intention for ICH souvenir is the highest. To some extent, this also reflects that Chinese tourists should attach great importance to the functional value of ICH souvenir. The tourism enterprises and the craftsmen must design ICH souvenir which can be used in tourists’ daily days.
Secondly, to promote the emotional value of ICH souvenir. For tourists, the novelty and innovation of souvenir are clear at a glance. So this needs enterprises to design special, novel and innovative souvenirs for tourists. The designer can stimulate the instinctive reaction of the tourists through the vision and make the tourists feel happy and interesting. And also tourism enterprises should make tourists gain more emotional value, especially for their children, through explanation or demonstration.
Thirdly, to create more social value of ICH souvenir. Souvenir manufacturers can make ICH souvenir with rich cultural connotation. For example, they can refine the visual elements of ICH from the perspectives of form, color, characteristic materials, craftsmanship, and emotional connotation, and then create ICH souvenirs. After choosing ICH souvenirs, tourists can get good taste in society. Some tourists hope to contribute to ICH culture and successor through their purchase. Enterprises of ICH souvenirs should truly support protecting ICH. And measures should be taken not to make tourists suspect that enterprises are just creating gimmicks to attract customers. They should share the benefit with some ICH heirs and producers of ICH souvenir.
Fourthly, to manifest the relationship support value of ICH souvenir. One of the important aims for many tourists to buy souvenirs is to give them to others and improve their social relationships. There are also some tourists who wish to enhance their parent-child relationship through ICH souvenirs. So the tourism enterprises could develop some activities to manifest that ICH souvenir could help them build or maintain their relationship with others such as their children. For example, before the tourists buy a ICH shadow toy souvenir, they can play with their children to feel the intimate parent-child relationship.
Fifthly, to reasonably position prices of ICH souvenir. The price should not exceed the customer’s psychological expectations and affordability. In addition, all sales of goods must be clearly priced, and government departments should strengthen the supervision of the phenomenon of unjustifiable price increase. The tourists who are positive about ICH protection feel that they can continue to purchase even if the price is slightly increased.
Sixthly, to pay attention to tourists’ product involvement. The empirical results of this study showed that product involvement played a negatively modering role between price value and purchase intention. It means if the tourists involve in ICH souvenir, they will not focus on the price in some degree. Therefore, sellers should take measures to increase the involvement of tourists in ICH souvenir. If tourists have little knowledge about ICH souvenirs, companies should strengthen publicity and adopt multiple marketing methods to increase the visibility and exposure of ICH souvenirs, so as to encourage tourists to understand ICH souvenirs and increase product involvement. For example, sellers can invite tourists to try new ICH souvenir and encourage them to give positive reviews. For the sellers, this not only increases product involvement, but also obtains relevant information about tourists and can recommend products of interest to them to attract and maintain customers.
5.4. Limitation of the Study
This section outlines the arbitrary boundaries of this thesis. First of all, there are many dimensions of customer perceived value. This research only focused on five perceived value such as functional value, emotional value, social value, relationship support value and price value. Ease of use value and companionship value etc. are not considered. Secondly, it is possible that some other factors might play a moderating role between tourist perceived value and purchase intention for ICH souvenir. However, this study only selected product involvement as the moderator.
5.5. Suggestions for Future Research
Future research could not only focus on the current perceived value of customers, but also dynamic changes. Future research could analyze other dimensions from the mode of individual and shared perception. There is a need for future study on companionship value, ease of use value, household harmony value and self-esteem value.
This paper is from Project of Philosophy and Social Science Research of Heilongjiang Province of China (Grant No. 17YSE395); Fundamental Research Funds of Department of Education Heilongjiang Province of China (Grant No. KYYWF10236180221); Key Project of Suihua University of Heilongjiang Province of China (Grant No. H201701002).
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