IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


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


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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).

    More about this item


    Consumer psychology; Materialism; Luxury; Brand; Quality;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:115-123. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.