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The beauty and the beast of consumption: a review of the consequences of consumption

Nada Nasr (Department of Marketing, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 16 August 2019

Issue publication date: 18 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to answer the following question: What can researchers learn from consumer research that can inform them about the consequences of consumption?


This paper follows guidelines for a summarization conceptual model. First, the paper offers a review of consumption theories and research studies on a variety of consumption-related constructs. Then, a bird’s-eye view is taken to critically synthesize the findings.


The consequences of consumption can be summarized along a framework reflecting the positive and negative effects of consumption on oneself, one’s relationships, one’s society and the Earth. Knowledge gaps in previous research are identified, and a set of propositions is provided to enrich the understanding of the consequences of consumption.

Research limitations/implications

The bird’s-eye view of the studies addressing the impacts of consumption identified gaps of knowledge in this area; these gaps constitute valuable topics for future researchers to study. The findings of the paper stress the need for studying the boundaries of different consumption effects. The review emphasizes the complex intermingling between consumer motives (antecedents) to behave in certain ways and the impacts (consequences) of such behaviors. The major limitation to this research stems from the immensity of the task involved.

Practical implications

This paper informs public policymakers on how to create realistic regulations that take into consideration the complexity of consumption. It calls on governments to provide an infrastructure that facilitates experiential consumption and to educate consumers, through the media and the public schools, to consume responsibly.


Whereas previous researchers have focused on a particular consumption practice while studying the consequences of consumption, this paper provides a comprehensive review that includes an array of practices. This paper synthesizes previous research findings through presenting a framework delineating the effects of consumption and identifying knowledge gaps in this research domain. The paper also provides a set of propositions that can guide future research on the topic.



Nasr, N. (2019), "The beauty and the beast of consumption: a review of the consequences of consumption", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 7, pp. 911-925.



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