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The importance of aesthetics on customers’ intentions to purchase smartphones

Samrand Toufani (School of Business, Western Sydney University, South Penrith, Australia)
John Philip Stanton (School of Business, Western Sydney University, Parramatta, Australia)
Tendai Chikweche (School of Business, Western Sydney University, Parramatta, Australia)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine how potential purchasers of a personal information, communication and entertainment device such as a smartphone, perceive the aesthetics of such a product. It then examines whether appreciation of the product’s aesthetics influences their purchase intention through different dimensions of perceived value drawn from perceptions of the product’s aesthetics, or whether there is a direct relationship from aesthetics to purchase intention.


Mixed methods consisting of two focus groups, a pilot and large online surveys were used for instrument confirmation and data collection. Data were analysed and hypotheses were tested using partial least squares structural equation modelling techniques.


Aesthetics’ primary effect on purchase intention is not direct, but rather indirect through perceived social and to a lesser extent, perceived emotional value while the importance of aesthetics on perceived functional value is far less. There was also support for a formative approach in the construction of an aesthetics scale with the identification of four different latent factors of aesthetics.

Research limitations/implications

This study is product specific but should be extendable to the product category. The possibility of other variables affecting the aesthetic appreciation of a product also needs consideration.

Practical implications

The study provides managers with insights on how aesthetics can be used to strengthen purchase intention in terms of both product development and promotional strategies. Aesthetics’ appeal to social and emotional perceived values, rather than functional value, provides guidance on how to use aesthetics in promotional campaigns.


Despite the richness of the literature on aesthetics, only a limited number of studies have researched the factors influencing aesthetic appreciation of a product and the effect on purchase intention. This research expands knowledge in the area thereby providing new insights on the influence of aesthetics on marketing.



Toufani, S., Stanton, J.P. and Chikweche, T. (2017), "The importance of aesthetics on customers’ intentions to purchase smartphones", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 316-338.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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