The bright side of materialism: Disentangling the relationship between materialism and purchase intention in social influencer marketing

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While materialism is a topic which is heavily researched (Chia, 2010; Duh, 2015; Kamal, Chu, & Pedram, 2019; Muncy & Eastmen, 1998; Schaefer, Hermans, & Parker, 2004; Wella Yanti, Martini, & Sapta, 2019), research regarding different forms of materialism and their impact on social relationships is still sparse (Pieters, 2013). This study aimed to advance the existing literature by finding out which influence the three different types of materialism have on parasocial relationships and how this influences purchase intention. The conceptual model for this study was composed of 5 variables (material measure, material medicine, material mirth, PSR, and purchase intention) and was tested using a multiple hierarchal regression and a simple regression. Results indicated that the subtypes of materialism that are extrinsically motivated and based on comparison (material measure and material medicine) had a positive influence on PSR, while the subtype of materialism that is intrinsically motivated (material mirth) had a negative influence on PSR. Additionally, PSR showed to have a positive effect on purchase intention. Based on these results it can be concluded that materialists who are extrinsically motivated form more parasocial relationships than materialists that are intrinsically motivated. It can be explained that comparing’s one own success and future with an influencer that is thought of as being more successful or having a better future leads to the follower forming parasocial relationships with this influencer. The forming of these parasocial relationships eventually lead to increased purchase intention. Finally concluding that materialism increases the extent to which parasocial relationships are formed in an online context, thereby making materialistic customers more susceptible to buying items that are advertised through social influencer marketing This study yields multiple contributions. Firstly, it sets the first steps in finding out how materialism and its subtypes directly influence relationships or in this case parasocial relationships (Pieters, 2013). Secondly, it opposed previous research that stated that materialism leads to worse relationships (Awanis et al., 2017; Gentina et al., 2018; Kasser & Ryan, 2001; Pieters, 2013; Van Boven et al., 2010).). Thirdly, it reaffirms Pieters’ (2013) statement that materialism should be looked in subtypes. Lastly, it paints a clear picture of the role materialism plays in influencer marketing and purchase intention. Focusing on people that experience material measure or material medicine might help marketers in increasing PSR and therefore making these people more susceptible to buy and gaining the eventual goal of marketing which is increasing purchase intention.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen