Did They Earn It? Observing Unearned Luxury Consumption Decreases Brand Attitude When Observers Value Fairness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

People frequently observe others’ consumption, making inferences about both the consumer and the consumed brands. Although these observations are often beneficial for brands, this research demonstrates that observing luxury brand consumers whose consumption arose from unearned (vs. earned) financial resources reduces observers’ brand attitudes when observers place a high value on fairness. When fairness values are high, observers do not perceive luxury brand consumers who use unearned (vs. earned) consumption resources as prestigious, and in turn, lower prestige perceptions adversely affect observers’ brand evaluations for luxury brands. Consistent with our theorizing regarding the signaling of prestige, the joint effect of consumers’ consumption resources and observers’ fairness values on observers’ brand attitudes does not hold for nonluxury brands, which are not associated with prestige and thereby are not denigrated when the consumer is not perceived as prestigious. This research sheds light on the role of moral values in marketplace judgments of luxury consumption and brand attitude by considering the influence of consumption resources on observers’ judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-436
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

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Research
Luxury
Observer
Fairness
Brand attitude
Prestige
Luxury brands
Resources
Financial resources
Brand evaluation
Inference
Theorizing
Moral values

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

Cite this

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abstract = "People frequently observe others’ consumption, making inferences about both the consumer and the consumed brands. Although these observations are often beneficial for brands, this research demonstrates that observing luxury brand consumers whose consumption arose from unearned (vs. earned) financial resources reduces observers’ brand attitudes when observers place a high value on fairness. When fairness values are high, observers do not perceive luxury brand consumers who use unearned (vs. earned) consumption resources as prestigious, and in turn, lower prestige perceptions adversely affect observers’ brand evaluations for luxury brands. Consistent with our theorizing regarding the signaling of prestige, the joint effect of consumers’ consumption resources and observers’ fairness values on observers’ brand attitudes does not hold for nonluxury brands, which are not associated with prestige and thereby are not denigrated when the consumer is not perceived as prestigious. This research sheds light on the role of moral values in marketplace judgments of luxury consumption and brand attitude by considering the influence of consumption resources on observers’ judgments.",
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