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When symbolism overtakes quality: Materialists consumers disregard product quality when faced with luxury brands

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  • Audrin, Catherine
  • Brosch, Tobias
  • Chanal, Julien
  • Sander, David

Abstract

Consumers use extrinsic and intrinsic cues to set preferences and make purchase decisions. However, the extent to which luxury-related extrinsic cues determine consumer preferences and whether the relative weighting of extrinsic vs. intrinsic cues depends on consumers’ values is still unclear. We investigated how luxury vs. non-luxury brands affect consumer preferences, and how this impact is moderated by consumers’ materialistic values. Results from Experiment 1 showed that materialistic and non-materialistic participants similarly appreciated products with luxurious brands. However, compared with non-materialistic participants, materialistic participants devaluated products that were tagged as non-luxurious brands. In Experiment 2, we investigated how product quality interacts with brands and whether materialistic values moderated this interaction. Materialistic participants paid more attention to brand-related cues than to quality-related cues, whereas non-materialistic participants considered these cues similarly. Taken together, the results of these two studies suggest that materialism influences the way extrinsic (i.e., brand) and intrinsic (i.e., quality) information is combined during product evaluation. These results highlight the importance of materialism in consumer decision-making, especially in the context of luxury consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Audrin, Catherine & Brosch, Tobias & Chanal, Julien & Sander, David, 2017. "When symbolism overtakes quality: Materialists consumers disregard product quality when faced with luxury brands," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 115-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:115-123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2017.04.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richins, Marsha L, 1994. "Special Possessions and the Expression of Material Values," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 522-533, December.
    2. Gilles Laurent & B. Dubois, 1994. "Attitudes Towards the Concept of Luxury: an exploratory analysis," Post-Print hal-00829066, HAL.
    3. Bruno Godey & Daniele Pederzoli & Gaetano Aiello & Raffaele Donvito & Klaus-Peter Wiedmann, 2009. "An international perspective on luxury brand and country of origin effect," Post-Print hal-00565479, HAL.
    4. Anthony D. Miyazaki & Dhruv Grewal & Ronald C. Goodstein, 2005. "The Effect of Multiple Extrinsic Cues on Quality Perceptions: A Matter of Consistency," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(1), pages 146-153, June.
    5. Gil, Luciana A. & Kwon, Kyoung-Nan & Good, Linda K. & Johnson, Lester W., 2012. "Impact of self on attitudes toward luxury brands among teens," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(10), pages 1425-1433.
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    Cited by:

    1. János Debreceni, 2018. "Tangible or Intangible Ways to Happiness? Consumption Related Values Among Adolescents," European Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies Articles, European Center for Science Education and Research, vol. 3, EJMS Sept.
    2. Bahri-Ammari, Nedra & Coulibaly, Daouda & Ben Mimoun, Mohamed Slim, 2020. "The bandwagon luxury consumption in Tunisian case: The roles of independent and interdependent self concept," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).

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    Keywords

    Consumer psychology; Materialism; Luxury; Brand; Quality;

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