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Could sustainability improve the promotion of luxury products?

Sihem Dekhili (EM Strasbourg Business School, HuManiS (EA 7308), University of Strasbourg, France)
Mohamed Akli Achabou (IPAG Paris Business School, Paris, France)
Fatmah Alharbi (University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 10 June 2019

4867

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the extent to which sustainability information unfavorably impacts consumers’ behavior in the case of luxury. In particular, it explores the effect of social and environmental attributes on the perceived quality.

Design/methodology/approach

A between-subject experimental design involving 973 French and Saudi consumers has been conducted.

Findings

The results indicate that sustainability information negatively impacts the perceived quality of luxury products. However, this result varies regarding the consumers’ country of origin. While no significant effect was observed in the case of French respondents, Saudi consumers lower the evaluation of quality when social information is provided. In addition, the negative effect of sustainability information is moderated by the consumers’ degree of liking of luxury and by the brand corporate social responsibility image.

Research limitations/implications

This research fills a gap occurred in the previous literature. In effect, limited studies examined perceptions of the association between luxury and sustainability. In addition, it enriches the limited literature on sustainable consumption in the context of developing countries. However, further studies should focus on specific dimensions of quality and examine different sustainable practices and luxury goods.

Practical implications

From a practical point of view, this study suggests new applications with respect to the link between luxury and sustainability.

Originality/value

No study to date, as per the authors’ knowledge, has investigated empirically the impact of sustainability information on the perceived quality of luxury products. Contrary to the literature indicating a positive effect of sustainable attributes on consumers’ behavior, this study confirms the incompatibility between luxury and sustainability.

Keywords

Citation

Dekhili, S., Achabou, M.A. and Alharbi, F. (2019), "Could sustainability improve the promotion of luxury products?", European Business Review, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 488-511. https://doi.org/10.1108/EBR-04-2018-0083

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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