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How consumption-supportive packaging functionality influences consumers’ purchase intentions: the mediating role of perceived product meaningfulness

Christian V. Baccarella (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany)
Lukas Maier (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany)
Kai-Ingo Voigt (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 27 May 2021

Issue publication date: 2 September 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide the first empirical evidence on how consumption-supportive packaging functionality influences consumers’ purchase intentions. Consumption-supportive packaging functionality implies that the packaging itself serves a function that actively helps users achieve their consumption goals and that supports the objectives consumers have in mind when using it.

Design/methodology/approach

To achieve the research goal, this study presents four between-participant experimental studies. In the studies, this paper tests for the direct effect of consumption-supportive packaging functionality on consumers’ purchase intentions across different product categories. Moreover, this study tests for the mediating effect of perceived product meaningfulness to explain the underlying mechanism (Studies 2 and 3) and for the moderating effect of product complexity (Study 4).

Findings

This paper shows that consumption-supportive packaging functionality leads to higher purchase intentions. The findings also reveal that perceived product meaningfulness is one underlying mechanism that helps us to explain the positive effect of consumption-supportive packaging functionality on purchase intention. Moreover, findings reveal that the positive effect of consumption-supportive packaging functionality only works for low-complex products, but not for high-complex ones.

Research limitations/implications

This research offers a new perspective on package design, and thus advances the understanding of how to package functionality can influence consumer responses. Moreover, this study contributes to the Gestalt theory because it applies a holistic design view on the packaging that influences product perception.

Practical implications

For low complex products, marketing managers should consider integrating packaging functionality into their communication strategy to focus on the overall Gestalt of the product. Product designers should integrate consumption-supportive packaging functionality in the product design to evoke positive consumer responses.

Originality/value

The research gives first empirical evidence on how and when consumption-supportive packaging functionality influences consumers’ product evaluations.

Keywords

Citation

Baccarella, C.V., Maier, L. and Voigt, K.-I. (2021), "How consumption-supportive packaging functionality influences consumers’ purchase intentions: the mediating role of perceived product meaningfulness", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 55 No. 8, pp. 2239-2268. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-10-2019-0799

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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