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When less is more: Understanding consumers' responses to minimalist appeals

Chen, W‐F. & Liu, J. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6224-0216 (2023). When less is more: Understanding consumers' responses to minimalist appeals. Psychology & Marketing, 40(10), pp. 2151-2162. doi: 10.1002/mar.21869


Minimalism, which encourages people to live with fewer possessions, is an emerging theme in marketing communication that often appeals to the sustainable ideal of reducing consumption and waste (e.g., Patagonia's “Buy less” campaign). However, consumers' responses to this marketing approach remain under-researched. We investigate whether consumers' responses to minimalist appeals depend on their socioeconomic status. We find that consumers with lower socioeconomic status report less favorable evaluations of brands that adopt minimalist appeals, because these consumers tend to prefer quantity over quality in daily consumption—a preference that is incongruent with minimalism. This effect is moderated by the considerations of product-usage frequency: even consumers with low socioeconomic status can become more favorable toward minimalist brands if the benefit of minimalism, namely the increased usage of each product, is salient.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors. Psychology & Marketing published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Publisher Keywords: minimalism, minimalist appeals, minimalist brands, socioeconomic status, sustainable consumption
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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