Truly, Madly, Deeply: Consumers in the Throes of Material Possession Love
Our treatment of material possession love expands an understanding of the role that discrete emotional attachment forms play in identifying commercial value for marketers and in enhancing consumer well-being. Employing a mixed-methods research design—relying on both qualitative and quantitative data—we develop and empirically test a three-factor, but seven-faceted, conceptualization of material possession love in four separate consumption contexts (automobiles, computers, bicycles, and firearms). We find love-smitten consumers nurturing their beloved possessions, in part, by buying complementary products and services. We also find that material possession love is empirically tied to loneliness and social affiliation deficits, which suggests a compensatory basis of consumer well-being. We distinguish possession love from the construct of attitude and empirically demonstrate the distinct functionality of each. Our concluding discussion considers our mixed-methods findings and their implications for consumer research.
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