Marketing Letters

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 45–56 | Cite as

Spending as protection: the need for safety increases preference for luxury products

  • Han Ma
  • Hannah K. Bradshaw
  • Narayan JanakiramanEmail author
  • Sarah E. Hill


We live in a world where physical threats, to ourselves and to our loved ones, are made salient every single day in the news and in the entertainment that we consume. Our research provides initial evidence that consumers survive in such a world by purchasing luxury brands to act as safety shields against these threats. This is because consumers derive symbolic safety value from luxury brands even when no functional safety features are relevant for the product category in which the brand operates. Thus, we hypothesize that when need for safety is likely salient (such as, after facing a physical safety threat), consumers are likely to show an increased preference for luxury brands, given the associations of luxury brands with safety. We provide empirical support for our proposed hypothesis, using four multi-method studies.


Safety Luxury brands Consumer behavior 


Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Texas Christian UniversityTexas CityUSA

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