The Psychological Motivations of Online Conspicuous Consumption: A Qualitative Study

The Psychological Motivations of Online Conspicuous Consumption: A Qualitative Study

Jude Qattan, Mohammad Al Khasawneh
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJEBR.2020040101
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Conspicuous consumption is a behavior that is becoming prevalent in today's world. Although limited attention has been given to conspicuous consumption in a digital world, it is a behavior that everyone practices, in different degrees. This article sets out to reveal and examine the underlying psychological motivations of online conspicuous consumption. Semi-structured interviews are adopted as a qualitative technique. The interviews were conducted with fifteen Jordanian residents who have access to the internet and social media. The findings reveal that the four proposed psychological motivations (envy, materialism, narcissism, and social comparison) are of significant influence on users' online conspicuous consumption. This study introduces a comprehensive model of online conspicuous consumption that was not addressed earlier in the literature and provides a viable foundation for future research in this context. Furthermore, the results will help marketing managers to better understand and manage their strategies in reference to users' psychological motivations when posting online.
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Literature Review

Since the publication of Veblen’s (1899) ‘The Theory of The Leisure Class’, conspicuous consumption has been an issue of focal interest in social psychology and consumer behavior literature. Conspicuous Consumption (hereafter, CC) refers to the lavish spending on visible items in order to advertise one’s wealth and income to others (Veblen, 1899). It is associated with the display of wealth (Mason, 1981; Trigg, 2001) and the tendency to show off (Antonides & Van Raaij, 1998). For the purpose of this paper, we adopt a more recent definition of conspicuous consumption: “The process of gaining status or social prestige from the acquisition and consumption of goods that the individual and significant others perceive to be high in status.” (O’Cass & Frost, 2002, p. 68).

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