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How Does Self-Esteem Influence Consumer Behavior?

Published: 26th March 2020 Last updated: 21st November 2021

Products can make people feel great about themselves. Enjoying an exquisite glass of wine in a fancy bar or walking down the street in a new stylish outfit sure sound like great ways to give your ego a little boost. But if people consume to feel great about themselves, why do so many people shop at Walmart, get their hair cut at Supercuts, or prefer dressing down to go to a dive bar? Who chooses inferior products, and why?

In a recently published paper, Anika Stuppy, Assistent Professor Marketing at Tilburg University, and co-authors found that people with low self-esteem, those who hold pessimistic self-views, choose inferior products.

Read her blog on Psychology Today


Stuppy A, Nicole L. Mead, Stijn M. J. van Osselaer (2020), I am, therefore I buy: Low self-esteem and the pursuit of self-verifying consumption. Journal of Consumer Research 46 (5), 956-973.

Read the paper.