To be respected or liked: The influence of social comparisons on consumer preference for competence- versus warmth-oriented products
Jing Xu and
International Journal of Research in Marketing, 2022, vol. 39, issue 1, 170-189
Consumers frequently compare themselves with others and find themselves to be inferior or superior to the comparison targets. This article examines the effect of social comparisons on the relative focus of self-efficacy and relationship needs and the subsequent impact on consumers’ preference for competence- versus warmth-oriented products. Across six studies, we show that upward comparisons (i.e., comparisons with superior targets) result in feelings of self-threat, which heighten the need for self-efficacy and increase the preference for products that convey competence. In contrast, downward comparisons (i.e., comparisons with inferior targets) elicit feelings of social distress, which heighten the need for social relationships and increase the preference for products that convey warmth. These effects are mitigated when the comparison is made in a social skill-related domain and when the comparison target is an out-group member.
Keywords: Social comparison; Self-efficacy need; Relationship need; Competence; Warmth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ijrema:v:39:y:2022:i:1:p:170-189
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