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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology