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A marketing professor’s findings help take the guilt out of indulgences

’Tis the season of conspicuous consumption and the research of a TCNJ business professor suggests that Instagramming that Chanel bag you just bought or posting a selfie on Facebook in front of the Hamilton marquee just might make you happier.

Posting purchases — both material and experiential — on social media increases consumers’ satisfaction, and even joy, according to Jingyi Duan, assistant professor of marketing and interdisciplinary business. “It can make people feel those purchases have a stronger impact and enhance social relationships,” she says.

Duan recently received a Bright Ideas Research Award from Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business for work she did on the topic last year with Ruby Roy Dholakia, a marketing professor in the business school at the University of Rhode Island.

Jingyi Duan accepts her Bright Ideas Award alongside Tammy Dieterich, assistant dean of the School of Business.

The pair conducted two surveys of college students, and another for which the average age of respondents was 35. In all, nearly 500 consumers were polled and the researchers’ findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing.

The research showed that sharing purchases on social media was validating for consumers and provided them with another high-profile avenue for curating themselves.

Social media has, in fact, made conspicuous consumption all the more conspicuous.  Marketers and advertisers have already tapped into this phenomenon and, alas, this may just be the beginning.

So go ahead — post those purchases and help spread the holiday cheer.


Patricia Alex

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