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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference


The role of Atypicality Perceptions in driving Consumers’ Responses towards Luxury Products
(A2020-63419)

Published: May 27, 2020

AUTHORS

Carmela Donato, Luiss University; Cesare Amatulli, University of Bari; Matteo De Angelis, Luiss University

KEYWORDS

Luxury; Sustainability; Atypicality

ABSTRACT

This research tackles the issue of how consumers might perceive luxury brands’ commitment to sustainability. In particular, this study compares consumers’ reactions when luxury brands communicate their focus on either environmental sustainability or product quality (i.e., a sustainability- versus high-quality focused strategy, respectively). We predict that consumers perceive the former as more atypical for a luxury brand, which renders the strategy more effective at enhancing consumers’ willingness to buy the brands’ products. Across one pilot study and three experiments, we demonstrate that luxury brands’ sustainability-focused communication is more effective than luxury brands’ performance-focused communication in driving consumers’ willingness to buy those brands’ products. More importantly, we demonstrate that what explain this effect is consumers’ perception about the atypicality of sustainability-focused versus performance-focused strategy.