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Social media interactions and brand luxuriousness: the role of materialism

Giuseppe Colella (Ionian Department in Mediterranean Legal and Economic Systems, Society, Environment, Culture, University of Bari, Taranto, Italy)
Cesare Amatulli (Ionian Department in Mediterranean Legal and Economic Systems, Society, Environment, Culture, University of Bari, Taranto, Italy)
María Pilar Martínez-Ruiz (Department of Business Administration, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Albacete, Spain)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 8 June 2021

Issue publication date: 29 June 2021

1336

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims at investigating how the level of brand–consumer interaction between luxury brands and consumers on social media may affect the perception of brands’ luxuriousness. In particular, this study is focused on the moderating role of consumers’ materialism.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted a quantitative approach. Data were collected with two online experiments. Study 1 was run to test whether a luxury brand’s product description was perceived as more luxurious when published on a social media platform versus the brand’s website, and if consumers’ materialism influences this effect. Study 2 explains the underlying psychological mechanism by underlining the mediating role of psychological distance.

Findings

The results show that branded luxury products are perceived as more luxurious when these are communicated on a social media platform (vs on the brand’s Web page), and consumers are high (vs low) in materialism, due to high psychological distance.

Originality/value

Previous literature has neglected the relationship between materialism and social media communication, as well as the potential differential effect that a high versus low level of brand–consumer interaction may have, for luxury brands, in the online context. This study fills this gap by investigating the role of a consumer-related characteristic (i.e. the level of materialism) that represents an important dimension in luxury consumption. Moreover, this study sheds light on the mediating role of psychological distance in the context of luxury brands’ online communication.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The present research was funded by the Ministry of University and Research (MIUR) within the National Operational Programme “Research and Innovation” 2014–2020 (PON-RI 14/20) – (CCI 2014IT16M2OP005), European Social Fund (ESF), Action I. Investments in human capital – 1. Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning – 1.1 “innovative PhDs with industrial characterization”.

Citation

Colella, G., Amatulli, C. and Martínez-Ruiz, M.P. (2021), "Social media interactions and brand luxuriousness: the role of materialism", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 434-444. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-02-2020-3650

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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