The Catch-22 of Responsible Luxury: Effects of Luxury Product Characteristics on Consumers' Perception of Fit with Corporate Social Responsibility

Journal of Business Ethics 119 (1):45-57 (2014)
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Abstract

The notion of “responsible luxury” may appear as a contradiction in terms. This article investigates the influence of two defining characteristics of luxury products—scarcity and ephemerality—on consumers’ perception of the fit between luxury and corporate social responsibility (CSR), as well as how this perceived fit affects consumers’ attitudes toward luxury products. A field experiment reveals that ephemerality moderates the positive impact of scarcity on consumers’ perception of fit between luxury and CSR. When luxury products are enduring (e.g., jewelry), a scarce product is perceived as more socially responsible than a more widely available one and provokes positive attitudes. However, this effect does not appear for ephemeral luxury products (e.g., clothing). The perceived fit between luxury and CSR mediates the combined effects of scarcity and ephemerality on consumers’ attitudes toward luxury products. This study provides valuable insights that luxury brand managers can use to design their CSR and marketing strategies

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