Pro-environmental Millennial Consumers' Responses to the Fur Conundrum of Luxury Brands

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International Journal of Consumer Studies






This study provides an understanding of how consumer fur stance, luxury brand fur stance and product use case influence consumers' cognitive dissonance, thereby impacting brand attitude and purchase intention. An experimental design manipulating the luxury brand fur stance (animal fur vs. faux fur) and product use case (hedonic vs. utilitarian) was conducted among 464 self-identifying environmentally conscious U.S. Millennial consumers to test the proposed hypotheses. Results obtained from a three-way MANOVA demonstrate that consumers with a faux (vs. animal) fur stance or neutral stance experience less emotional dissonance. Luxury brands with an animal (vs. faux) fur stance create more dissonance, which negatively impacts brand attitudes and purchase intentions. A significant interaction effect uncovered that incongruent brand and consumer fur stances create heightened dissonance compared to congruent or neutral fur stances. Thus, a consumer's emotional dissonance plays a significant role in fur decisions. Due to today's social expectations and norms, luxury brands should incorporate sustainability into their business strategy by offering faux fur alternatives as animal fur products have a greater impact on consumers’ cognitive dissonance. It is imperative for luxury brands to align with a pro-faux fur or no fur stance and shift away from animal fur. The cultural movement in the luxury market's interest towards environmental-consciousness has sparked the movement towards utilizing faux fur; however, to our knowledge, no studies have investigated the current acceptability of fashion fur trends among Millennial consumers—who are projected to represent approximately 50% of the luxury market by 2025.