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Do materialists care about sustainable luxury?

Nabanita Talukdar (Hult International Business School, San Francisco, USA)
Shubin Yu (HSBC Business School, Peking University, Shenzhen, China)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 17 February 2020

Issue publication date: 18 May 2020




The purpose of this study is to investigate the underlying psychological mechanism and boundary conditions which drive materialists' purchase intention (PI) of sustainable over generic luxury products.


Four empirical studies (one survey and three experiments) were conducted to test the hypotheses.


Materialism has a positive effect on consumers' purchase intention of sustainable over generic luxury products because materialists tend to have higher perceived functional value of sustainable (i.e., green) luxury products. Product conspicuousness (i.e., publicly consumed versus privately consumed luxury) moderates the effect of materialism on PI of sustainable over generic luxury products. Materialism increases the perceived functional value and thus enhances the PI of sustainable luxury products over generic luxury products only when the product is privately consumed (as opposed to publicly consumed).


This article contributes to the literature that explores how materialism affects environmentalism. This study is among the first empirical works in the context of luxury that studies the relationship between materialism and purchase intention of green products over generic products. This study is also among the first in the context of materialists to empirically establish the importance of perceived functional value associated with sustainable over generic products in affecting PI. Moreover, this article investigates the moderating role of product conspicuousness, which enhances the generalizability of the findings.



Talukdar, N. and Yu, S. (2020), "Do materialists care about sustainable luxury?", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 465-478.



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