Relations between Conspicuous Consumption and Materialism

Author: Małgorzata Niesiobędzka
Institution: University of Bialystok, Poland
Year of publication: 2018
Source: Show
Pages: 77-93
DOI Address:
PDF: kie/122/kie12204.pdf

The research focuses on relationships between conspicuous consumption and materialism. Contrary to previous studies, here conspicuous consumption is seen as an individual trait rather than as an attitude. The purpose of the research was twofold: to establish to what extent are a) success, centrality, happiness, and b) the importance and the attainment of wealth, popularity and image responsible for conspicuous consumption. Two studies were conducted. Materialism was measured using the MVS (Richins, 2004) in study 1 (N = 80), and the Aspiration Index (Kasser & Ryan, 1996) in study 2 (N = 169). In both studies, the measure of the propensity to conspicuous consumption was the same: The Conspicuous Consumption Orientation Scale (CCO) (Chaudhuri, Mazumdar, & Ghoshal, 2011). The obtained data demonstrated that the propensity to conspicuous consumption was significantly related to only two dimensions of materialism – success and centrality. Furthermore, the results showed that while the importance of financial success and popularity enhanced the propensity to conspicuous consumption, attainment of financial and popularity aspirations had no impact on the propensity to conspicuous consumption. In turn, image (both its importance and its attainment) was a significant positive predictor of the propensity to conspicuous consumption. The research findings suggest that the crucial materialistic drivers of the propensity to conspicuous consumption are: the belief that success is closely connected with ownership; the conviction that owning and acquiring are the primary life goals; and the need to have a socially admired image.


  • Amaldoss, W., & Jain, S. (2005). Conspicuous Consumption and Sophisticated Thinking. Management Science, 51(10), pp. 1449–1466. DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1050.0399.
  • Amatulli, C., Guido, G., & Nataraajan, R. (2015). Luxury Purchasing among Older Consum­ers: Exploring Inferences about Cognitive Age, Status, and Style Motivations. Journal of Business Research, 68(9), pp. 1945–1952. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.01.004.
  • Belk, R.W. (1985). Materialism: Trait Aspects of Living in the Material World. Journal of Consumer Research, 12(3), pp. 265–280.
  • Berger, J., & Ward, M. (2010). Subtle Signals of Inconspicuous Consumption. Journal of Con­sumer Research, 37(4), pp. 555–569. DOI: 10.1086/655445.
  • Browne, B. & Kaldenberg, D. (1997). Conceptualzing self-monitoring: links to materialism and product involvement. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 14(1), 31-44.
  • Chaudhuri, H.R., & Mazumdar, S. (2006). Of diamonds and Desires: Understanding Conspicu­ous Consumption from a Contemporary Marketing Perspective. Academy of Marketing Science Review, 11, pp. 1–18.
  • Chaudhuri, H.R, & Mazumdar, S. (2010). Conspicuous Consumption: Is That All Bad? Investi­gating the Alternative Paradigm. The Journal for Decision Makers, 35(4), pp. 53–59.
  • Chaudhuri, H.R., Mazumdar, S., & Ghoshal, A. (2011). Conspicuous Consumption Orientation: Conceptualization, Scale Development and Validation. Journal of Consumer Research, 10(4), pp. 216–224. DOI: 10.1002/cb.364.
  • Friehe, T., & Mechtel, M. (2014). Conspicuous Consumption and Political Regimes: Evidence from East and West Germany. European Economic Review, 67, pp. 62–81. DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.01.005.
  • Gil, L.A., Kwon, K.N., Good, L.K., & Johnson, L.W. (2012). Impact of Self on Attitudes toward Luxury Brands among Teens. Journal of Business Research, 65(10), pp. 1425–1433. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.10.008.
  • Górnik-Durose, M. (2016). Polska adaptacja skali wartości materialnych (MVS) – właściwości psychometryczne wersji pełnej i wersji skróconych. Psychologia Ekonomiczna, 9, pp. 5–21. DOI: 10.15678/PJOEP.2016.09.01.
  • Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J.M., Sundie, J.M., Cialdini, R.B., Miller, G.F., & Kenrick, D.T. (2007). Blatant Benevolence and Conspicuous Consumption: When Romantic Motives Elicit Strategic Costly Signals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(1), pp. 85–102. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.93.1.85.
  • Hudders, L., & Pandelaere, M. (2012). The Silver Lining of Materialism: The Impact of Luxury Consumption on Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(3), pp. 411–437.
  • Kamineni, R.J. (2005). Influence of materialism, gender and nationality on consumer brand perceptions. Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing, 14 (1), 25–32. doi: 10.1057/palgrave.jt.5740167.
  • Kasser, T., & Ryan, R.M. (1993). A Dark Side of an American Dream: Correlates of Financial Success as a Central Life Aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, pp. 410–422.
  • Kasser, T., & Ryan, R.M. (1996). Further Examining the American dream: Differential Cor­relates of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, pp. 280–287.
  • Kastanakis, M.N., & Balabanis, G. (2012). Between the Mass and the Class: Antecedents of the “Bandwagon” Luxury Consumption Behavior. Journal of Business Research, 65(10), pp. 1399–1407. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.10.005.
  • Kastanakis, M.N., & Balabanis, G. (2014). Explaining Variation in Conspicuous Luxury Con­sumption: An Individual Differences’ Perspective. Journal of Business Research, 67(10), pp. 2147–2154. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2014.04.024.
  • Kaus, W. (2013). Conspicuous Consumption and “Race”: Evidence from South Africa. Journal of Development Economics, 100(1), pp. 63–73. DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2012.07.004.
  • Kim, D., & Jang, S. (2014). Motivational Drivers for Status Consumption: A Study of Genera­tion Y Consumers. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 38, pp. 39–47. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2013.12.003.
  • Lee, J.H., & Hwang, J. (2001). Luxury Marketing: The Influences of Psychological and Demo­graphic Characteristics on Attitudes toward Luxury Restaurants. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(3), pp. 658–669. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2010.12.001.
  • Leibenstein, H. (1950). Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers’ Demand. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 64(2), pp. 183–207.
  • Mazzocco, P.J., Rucker, D.D., Galinsky, A.M., & Anderson, E.T. (2012). Direct and Vicarious Conspicuous Consumption: Identification with Low-Status Groups Increases the Desire for High-Status Goods. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(4), pp. 520–528. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2012.07.002.
  • Miller, G.F. (2000). The Mating Mind. Doubleday. New York London Sydney Auckland
  • Niesiobędzka, M. (2018). An Experimental Study of the Bandwagon Effect in Conspicu­ous Consumption. Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 6(1), pp. 26–33. DOI: org/10.5114/cipp.2017.67896.
  • O’Cass, A., & McEwen, H. (2006). Exploring Consumer Status and Conspicuous Consump­tion. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 4(1), pp. 25–39. DOI: 10.1002/cb.155.
  • Ordabayeva, N., & Chandon, P. (2011). Getting ahead of the Joneses: When Equality Increases Conspicuous Consumption among Bottom-Tier Consumers. Journal of Consumer Research, 38(1), pp. 27–41. DOI: 10.1086/658165.
  • Podoshen, J.S., & Andrzejewski, S.A. (2012). An Examination of the Relationships between Materialism, Conspicuous Consumption, Impulse Buying, and Brand Loyalty. Jour­nal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 20(3), pp. 319–334. DOI: 10.2753/MTP1069-6679200306.
  • Podoshen, J.S., Li, L., & Zhang, J. (2011). Materialism and Conspicuous Consumption in China: A Cross-Cultural Examination. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 35(1), pp. 17–25. DOI: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2010.00930.x.
  • Richins, M.L. (2004). The Material Values Scale: Measurement Properties and Devel­opment of a Short Form. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(1), pp. 209–219. DOI: org/10.1086/383436.
  • Richins, M.L., & Dawson, S. (1992). A Consumer Values Orientation for Materialism and Its Measurement: Scale Development and Validation. Journal of Consumer Research, 19(3), pp. 303–316. doi: 10.1086/209304.
  • Roberts, J.A. & Clement, A. (2007). Materialism and Satisfaction with Over-All Quality of Life and Eight Life Domains. Social Indicators Research, 82 (1), 79-92. doi: 10.1007/s11205-006-9015-0
  • Rucker, D.D., & Galinsky, A.D. (2009). Conspicuous Consumption versus Utilitarian Ideals: How Different Levels of Power Shape Consumer Behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(3), pp. 549–555. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.01.005.
  • Saad, G., & Vongas, J.G. (2009). The Effect of Conspicuous Consumption on Men’s Testoster­one Levels. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 110(2), pp. 80–92. DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2009.06.001.
  • Troung, Y. (2010). Personal Aspirations and the Consumption of Luxury Goods. International Journal of Market Research, 52(5), pp. 653–671. DOI: 10.2501/S1470785310201521.
  • Truong, Y., Simmons, G., McColl, R., & Kitchen, P.J. (2008). Status and Conspicuousness – Are They Related? Strategic Marketing Implications for Luxury Brands. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 16(3), pp. 189–203.
  • Tsai, W.S. (2005). Impact of Personal Orientation on Luxury-Brand Purchase Value: An Inter­national Investigation. International Journal of Marker Research, 47(4), pp. 429–454. DOI: 10.1177/147078530504700403.
  • Tsai, W.S, Yang, Q., & Liu, Y. (2013). Young Chinese Consumers’ Snob and Bandwagon Luxury Consumption Preferences. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 25(5), pp. 290–304.
  • Veblen, T. (1899, 1994). The Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Macmillan.
  • Vigneron, F., & Johnson, L.W. (1999). A Review and a Conceptual Framework of Prestige-Seeking Consumer Behavior. Academy of Marketing Science Review, 9(1), pp. 1–14.
  • Vigneron, F., & Johnson, L.W. (2004). Measuring Perceptions of Brand Luxury. Journal of Brand Management, 11(6), pp. 484–506. DOI: 10.1057/
  • Wang, Y., & Griskevicius, V. (2014). Conspicuous Consumption, Relationships, and Rivals: Women’s Luxury Products as Signals to Other Women. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(5), 834–854. DOI: 10.1086/673256.
  • Wong, N.Y., & Ahuvia, A.C. (1998). Personal Taste and Family Face: Luxury Consumption in Confucian and Western Societies. Psychology & Marketing, 15(5), pp. 423–441.
  • Zahavi, A. & Zahavi, A. (1997). The Handicap Principle. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Zawadzka, A.M., Duda, J., Rymkiewicz, R., & Kondratowicz-Nowak, B. (2015). Siedmio­wymiarowy model aspiracji życiowych Kassera i Ryana: analiza trafności i rzetelności narzędzia. Psychologia społeczna [Social Psychology], 32(10), pp. 101–112. DOI: 10.7366/1896180020153207.

conspicuous consumption innate trait materialism materialistic aspirations

Message to:



© 2017 Adam Marszałek Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Projekt i wykonanie Pollyart