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The Signal Value of Crowdfunded Products

Acar, O. A. ORCID: 0000-0003-1993-0921, Dahl, D. W., Fuchs, C. & Schreier, M. (2021). The Signal Value of Crowdfunded Products. Journal of Marketing Research, 58(4), pp. 644-661. doi: 10.1177/00222437211012451


Crowdfunding has emerged as an alternative means of financing new ventures by utilizing the financial support of a large group of individual investors. In this research, we ask a novel question: does being crowdfunded carry any signal value for the broader market of observing consumers? Seven studies reveal a consumer preference for “crowdfunded products”, even after controlling for a product’s objective product characteristics. We identify two inferences that help explain this effect: (1) consumers perceive crowdfunded products to be of higher quality, and (2) they believe that supporting crowdfunding reduces inequality in the marketplace. We further document an important boundary condition of the first inference: our identified effect reverses in high risk domains (e.g., products that involve high physical risk), due to consumer perceptions that the crowdfunding model lacks sufficient professionalism to mitigate risk. With regard to the second inference, we find that the positive crowdfunding effect is particularly strong among consumers who value social equality. Taken together, our work sheds new light on consumer perceptions of crowdfunding, elucidates why and when consumers prefer crowdfunded products, and offers actionable implications for managers.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: Crowdfunding, start-ups, new products, inequality, consumer inferences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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