Amazing Machines and the Quest for Meaning in Consumption

Stefano Puntoni 1
  • 1 Professor of Marketing, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University,, Rotterdam, Netherlands


The benefits brought to us by recent product innovations also come with potential burdens for people who are motivated to consume by identity motives - that is, by the desire to be the kind of person that they want to be. Being freed from a personally relevant routine might be undesirable. Therefore, IoT adoption will be more likely when the associated tasks are less relevant for identity signaling and less likely when the associated tasks are relevant for one’s identity. However, people who oppose IoT application in one context might willingly accept IoT applications in others with less personal relevance. Managers should not overlook that people’s quest for meaning in consumption remains an important driver of buying decisions even in our age of amazing machines. Physical products won’t completely disappear any time soon, especially when they are relevant for a person’s identity.

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