Who buys large sized luxury products?
In a previous issue, we´ve discussed how men aim to attract mates by demonstrating status through the purchase and display of luxury products. The reason behind is that status and resource access are valued by women in their mate choice. Yet, a luxury product could be a Patek Philippe watch (one was sold last month for $31 million) that fits on your wrist or an eccentric mansion in Beverly Hills. By sheer size, these two luxury products are qualitatively different. So, who buys large sized luxury products?
Status, according to evolutionary psychology, can be achieved through either dominance or through prestige. Dominance is characterized by the use of force or intimidation to gain social rank. Prestige is characterized by the possession of skills valued by others. Those others voluntary defer to the skilled ones, who in turn gain status and social rank.
Recent research by Shirish Panchal and Tripat Gill demonstrates that in the realm of consumer behavior, large product size is associated with dominance (vs. prestige) based status signaling. An experiment revealed that male consumers driven by dominance (vs. prestige) based signaling preferred a larger flat screen TV over a smaller one. The effect was stronger for participants who had a lower level of personal control over life outcomes. Interestingly, the effect of product size was replicated with luxury brand logo size, where dominance based status signaling participants preferred a larger sized luxury brand logo over a smaller sized one on a T-shirt.
The implications for marketers are that offerings of large sized luxury products should be targeted at consumers following a dominance based status signaling strategy. To make this strategy come online, the use of physically or psychologically dominant endorsers in marketing and advertising is further recommended.