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Current Issues in Personality Psychology
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vol. 6
Original paper

An experimental study of the bandwagon effect in conspicuous consumption

Małgorzata Niesiobędzka

Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 6(1), 26–33
Online publish date: 2017/05/25
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The phenomenon of conspicuous consumption is not new. Veblen (1994, 1899) described conspicuous consumption as expensive, luxury consumption, which provides evidence of wealth and status. In post-modern society the primary objects of consumption have become images and experience used by the middle class and the masses to demonstrate uniqueness or similarity with significant others. This paper focuses on the bandwagon effect in conspicuous consumption. In the study the bandwagon effect is treated as increased demand for luxury goods due to their popularity, especially among famous people.

Participants and procedure

Three studies were carried out. The samples consisted of 60 teenagers, 76 female students and 73 students and postgraduate students. The concept of the aspirational group was induced through the advertisement of a luxury product with reference to famous people and by direct reference to the aspirational group. Three different methods to measure a propensity to conspicuous consumption were applied: the amount of money spent on the luxury product, the size of the luxury brand logo, and the doubling of the luxury brand logo.


The results show that the activation of the idea of the aspirational group enhances willingness to pay more for a luxury product, to double the luxury brand logo and the preference for a visible luxury brand logo at a tendency level.


The results experimentally supported the bandwagon effect within luxury conspicuous consumption previously established in correlative studies.

conspicuous consumption; the bandwagon effect; aspirational group; experiment

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