How buying luxuries makes you feel better. The Impact of the Purchase of Luxury on Self-esteem

Publication Date: Monday 25 May 2015
Author(s): Hudders, L.; Cauberghe, V. & Faseur, T.
Appeared in: European Marketing Conference (EMAC)


Research has indicated that consumers may try to compensate for a bruised self-esteem through the acquisition of expensive products. However, it is unclear whether the purchase of luxuries actually enhances self-esteem. In two studies the effect of luxury purchases on self-esteem is tested. The first study shows that imagining buying a luxury versus an ordinary sweater leads to a higher self-esteem. The second study shows that the more women perceive their purchases as luxurious, the more positive emotions they experience leading to an increase in self-esteem. The current paper thereby contributes a) to the literature on compensatory consumption by demonstrating the beneficial impact of luxury purchases on self-esteem and b) to literature on luxury consumption by offering additional insight in individuals’ motivations to spend large amounts of their income on luxury products as an improved self-esteem can reinforce the pursuit of luxurious possessions.

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