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Impact of Gamification on Consumer Value Creation: The Mediating Role of Consumer Engagement

Impact of Gamification on Consumer Value Creation: The Mediating Role of
Consumer Engagement
Agnė Gadeikienė, Jūratė Banytė, Aistė Dovalienė, Žaneta Piligrimienė
Kaunas University of Technology, School of Economics and Business, Gedimino St. 50, LT-54306
Kaunas, Lithuania
Problem definition
Following recent tendencies in the field of ICT development, digitalization and observing
consumer priorities, companies try to digitise their offers, invest more into online communication and
search for new ways to engage consumers in activities which help to develop long-term relationship
between a company and a consumer. The concept of gamification has been indicated as one of the
perspective directions that enable companies to achieve these objectives. Research shows that
gamification encourages consumer intrinsic motivation and participation and provides better
experience to consumers. These advantages of gamification are useful to companies, as they
encourage more active engagement of consumers through more frequent and longer interactions.
Application of gamification allows to achieve a psychological effect consumer engagement
that causes changes in consumer decisions (Hamari et al., 2014). Through gamified activities,
companies aim to encourage a certain consumer behaviour which creates value for both the consumer
and the company. The value for a consumer who is affected by intrinsic and/or extrinsic motives is
created by different benefits: fun time, knowledge, awards, etc. Gamification provides an opportunity
for consumers to take an active role, i.e., their actions may be associated with creation (product
development), sharing knowledge (marketing research), distribution of messages (communication)
or even more intensive use of services. When consumers are engaged in gamified activities, they also
create added value for themselves. Researchers studying gamification emphasize importance of
gamification-based consumer engagement in value creation for a consumer (Werbach, 2014; Blohm
and Leimeister, 2013; Huotari and Hamari, 2012).
Considering the above mentioned aspects, the research aims to test the impact of gamification
on consumer perceived value considering the mediating role of consumer engagement.
Theoretical foundation
The authors define gamification as an activity when game elements (game mechanics, dynamics
and components) are applied in everyday situations (Zichermann and Linder, 2010) that are not
directly related to games (Bunchball, 2010) and are not manifested in the gaming context (Deterding
et al. 2011). Gamification is interpreted as a construct that connects game elements used and
consumer motivation to play games thus engaging in gamified activities, and guides the consumer to
the flow state as an outcome of successful gamification (Charles et al., 2011; Deterding, 2014; Groh,
2012; Herzig et al., 2012; Zichermann and Cunningham, 2011). Game elements are stimuli invoking
extrinsic and intrinsic motives and establishing conditions for consumers to engage in gamified
activities (Ryan and Deci, 2000; Kong et al., 2012; Lin et al., 2012; Bittner and Shipper, 2014).
The analysis of consumer engagement is based on the approach that the flow state is an
antecedent of consumer brand engagement. The flow state is analysed as a one-dimensional construct
and consumer brand engagement from the multidimensional perspective. The conducted research
reveals most often identified dimensions cognitive, emotional and behavioural serve as the basis
for the development of the multidimensional research direction (Brodie et al., 2011; Hollebeek,
2011a, 2011b; Vivek et al., 2012; Hollebeek et al., 2014).
Consumer brand engagement determines long-term mutually beneficial relationship between
the consumer and the company which is characterised by consumer perceived value. After a thorough
analysis of studies on consumer perceived value (e.g. Chen and Hu, 2010; Miladian and Sarvestani,
2012; Park and Ha, 2015), the authors identify the following consumer perceived value dimensions
that are most frequently analysed and exhibit the strongest methodological framework: functional
(some authors call it utilitarian; meanwhile, others see it as quality only), social (others emphasise
symbolic value), emotional (sometimes it is also referred to as psychological, or only one component
hedonistic value is emphasised) and economic value (also explained through the prism of costs
or referred to as financial).
Research design
Self-report measures continue to be the most popular measure for characterizing the
psychological state of a respondent, because it allows collecting valid, reliable data and analysing
them objectively. According to this, the quantitative research method a questionnaire survey – has
been chosen to investigate the impact of gamification on consumer perceived value when consumer
engagement is considered as mediator.
The questionnaire consisted of 73 measurement items. Motivation is measured by 20 items,
game mechanics involves 7 items, game components encompasses 5 indicators. The scale on the
engagement in a gamified activity (flow state) consists of 7 items and the scale of consumer brand
engagement of 12 items. The scale on consumer perceived value consists of 22 items reflecting 4
different dimensions of perceived value.
The research was implemented in Lithuania. Respondents were asked an inclusion-related
question regarding their engagement. More than half of the respondents (53.7% out of 749
respondents) stated that they never participated in gamified activities. It turned out that 46.3% of all
the respondents of the survey had participated in a gamified activity; thus, the main research
information is based on the answers of 347 respondents.
Mediation effect analysis was performed by applying SPSS PROCESS macro. According to
Hayes (2013), to evaluate a parallel mediation effect, SPSS PROCESS 4 model is used; meanwhile,
SPSS PROCESS 6 model is employed when an effect of two serial mediators in relation between the
independent and the dependent variable is being tested.
The empirical research confirms the positive influence of gamification on consumer perceived
value. The conducted empirical study reveals that the analysis of consumer perceived value in the
context of engagement in gamified activities distinguish not only theoretically identified
company/brand-related economic, emotional, functional and social values, but also engagement-
related social and functional values. The impact of gamification on the consumer perceived value
manifests both directly and indirectly through the mediation of consumer engagement construct.
However, the direct impact is twice weaker than indirect.
As regards consumer perceived economic and emotional value dimensions, the direct and the
indirect effect of gamification is almost equal (the direct effect in the case of economic value is 0.329
and the indirect effect is 0.310; meanwhile, in the case of emotional value, the direct effect is 0.387,
and the indirect effect is 0.414). In respect of consumer perceived social engagement value and social
brand value, the indirect effect of gamification is more than twice stronger than the direct effect (in
the case of social engagement value, 0.220 and 0.489, and in the case of social brand value, 0.226
and 0.475, respectively). The direct effect of gamification is more significant in the case of consumer
perceived functional engagement value (direct 0.583, and indirect 0.448) and functional brand
value (direct – 0.455, and indirect – 0.296).
The role of consumer engagement in gamified activities (flow state) on the association between
gamification and consumer perceived value constructs is doubtful since the mediating effect of this
variable was in all pathways statistically insignificant or significant but very weak. On the other hand,
it was determined that the dimensions of gamification positively and statistically significantly
affected consumer engagement in gamified activities, which shows that the flow state is determined
by gamification; however, it does not mediate between gamification and consumer brand
The research was funded by the European Social Fund under the Global Grant measure.
Participation in the conference is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation programme under grant agreement No 810329
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