The Influence of Materialism on Consumer Preferences: A Conjoint Analysis Approach

Timothy H. Zarco


This study examined how materialistic beliefs influence consumer preferences and the relative importance of purchase attributes. Materialism was measured using the Richins and Dawson material values scale and its subscales. A conjoint analysis model was employed to measure consumer preferences. Seventy university students completed a conjoint analysis task where they were asked to order, based on personal preference, 12 stimulus cards representing a series of unique hypothetical purchases that varied according to monetary value, brand prestige, and tangibility. Correlation analysis was performed on the results of the materialism values scale, part-worth utilities and relative attribute importance scores generated by the conjoint analysis. Results of the study supported the notion that stronger materialistic beliefs are positively associated with a greater preference for material purchases and negatively associated with experiential purchases. A less impressive association between materialism measures and brand prestige was found as well. Monetary value preferences were not associated with materialism. Tangibility and monetary purchase attributes were not associated with materialism, however, a significant positive association between brand prestige and materialism was observed. These findings suggest that materialism is associated with tangibility and prestige preferences, as well as with an increased concern with prestige as an attribute of a purchase.


materialism, conjoint analysis, consumer preferences, material purchases, experiential purchases

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