Understanding Consumer Fandom: Literature Review and Conceptual Framework

Understanding Consumer Fandom: Literature Review and Conceptual Framework

Andy Hao
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1048-3.ch002
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The interest in consumer fandom has been strong in the last two decades and different perspectives have been proposed to examine the issue. However, the current literature only offers limited insight into what consumer fandom means and what the main antecedents and consequences of consumer fandom are. To fill the gap, the aim of this chapter is to integrate various perspectives and theoretical bases on formulating consumer fandom and to present an integrated conceptual framework of the antecedents and consequences of consumer fandom. Grounded on social identity theory, the conceptual framework proposed in this chapter identifies two self-related antecedents: self-identify and self-discovery, and three social-related antecedents: social integration, social enhancement, and subjective norms. In addition, purchase and repurchase intention, loyalty, and word of mouth are highlighted as three consequences of consumer fandom. Level of engagement is identified as the moderator between consumer fandom and its consequences.
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Research on consumer fandom is burgeoning, and yet the understanding of its antecedents and consequences remains rather unclear. This chapter defines consumer fandom as subcultures, groups, and/or communities of like-minded consumer, revolving around a unifying interest or object. Fragmented findings exist in the literature that discourage application of the knowledge in practice. In addition, the literature lacks a unified theoretical foundation on the antecedents and consequences of consumer fandom. This significantly undermines the future research efforts aimed at enhancing the understanding of consumer fandom. Prior studies have investigated identification of fans in sports fandom (Chung et al., 2008; de Groot and Robinson, 2008; Jenkins, 2014; Melnick and Wamm, 2004; Miller and Benkwitz, 2016; Seregina and Schouten, 2016), fandom and team/brand/virtual communities (Algesheimer et al., 2005; Bagozzi and Dholakia, 2002; Bagozzi and Dholakia, 2006; Brodie et al., 2013; Dholakia and Bagozzi, 2004; Dholakia et al., 2004; Dionisio et al., 2008; Deluca, 2018; Hook et al., 2018; Jiang et al., 2008; Madupu and Cooley, 2010; Muniz and O’Guinn, 2001; Muniz and Schau, 2005; Munnukka et al., 2015; Mzoughi et al., 2010), participation in physically active leisure (Beaton et al., 2009), consumer fanaticism (Chung et al., 2008; Thorne and Bruner, 2006; Thorne, 2011), Sports fan segmentation (Doyle et al., 2013; Funk and James, 2001; Gwinner and Swanson, 2003; Hunt et al., 1999; Mahony et al., 2000; Moutinho et al., 2007; Pu and James, 2017; Tapp and Clowes, 2002; Wann and Branscombe, 1990, 1993), and loyalty in an era of digital music fandom (Obiegbu et al., 2019). After decades of research, however, an integrative conceptual framework of the underlying antecedents and outcomes of consumer fandom is still lacking (Thorne and Bruner, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Identity: Social identity theory proposes that individuals identify themselves into various social groups in order to facilitate self-definition.

Fan: A person who has special interest in the particular object, such as a person, a group, or an artwork, etc.

Brand Community: Consumer-centric community which is based on brand consuming experience.

Social Enhancement: It refers to the enhancement of a fan’s social status by interacting with others of like interests.

Self-Discovery: Self-discovery involves understanding and deepening salient aspects of one’s self through social interactions and focuses on intrinsic concerns, constituted by or embedded in the self itself

Fandom: The group of individual fans who are like-minded, sharing the similar interest, and deriving emotional support and value from the group.

Social Integration: Social integration is defined as fan’s need for interacting with others of like interests for social support, friendship, and intimacy.

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