Determinants for materialism among adolescents in Singapore

Carrie La Ferle, Kara Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of marketing communication factors (specifically advertising viewing and responses to marketing promotions) as well as social influence factors (specifically influences from peers and media celebrities) on adolescents' endorsement of materialistic values in Singapore. As the Asian culture is said to be collective when compared with the Western culture, it is expected that social relations, both personal and celebrity‐mediated, play an important role in the establishment of consumption values.

Design/methodology/approach: A survey of 190 high school students’ aged 13 to 18 was conducted using a structured questionnaire. Constructs were measured using established scales.

Findings: The paper finds imitation of media celebrities and perceived peer influence were positive predictors of materialistic consumption values while marketing communication factors were not significant predictors.

Research limitations/implications: The data in the paper came from a convenience sample of one high school and may not be representative of adolescents in Singapore.

Practical implications: The paper found that in fact advertising regulation may not impact adolescent levels of materialism to the degree previously assumed. Visual literacy courses may be a better strategy of reducing the level of materialism through discouraging the desire to imitate media celebrities. In turn, this training and heightened awareness could potentially help to diminish some of the negative peer influences in relation to materialism. Media educators should help young consumers to reflect on how their purchase decisions can be influenced by their social relations, including both personal interaction and celebrity‐media communications, while simultaneously providing them with the tools to critically assess the images they view.

Originality/value: The paper offers insights about the complex patterns of how consumption values develop in an Asian society. It is also a pioneer work on the study of the influence of media celebrities on materialistic value orientations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Youth
  • Influence
  • Celebrities
  • Promotional methods
  • Advertising
  • Singapore


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