Previous investigations of product design broadly link aesthetic, functional, and symbolic designs to sales growth, high turnover, and market share. However, the effect of product design dimensions on consumer willingness-to-buy (WTB) and word-of-mouth (WOM) is virtually ignored by consumer researchers. Similarly, whether the consumption experience can differentiate the effect of the three product design dimensions on WTB and WOM is completely unknown. Using categorization theory as a lens, our study aims to explore the effect of product design dimensions on consumer WTB and WOM directly and indirectly through the moderation of the consumption experience.
A convenience sample of (n=357) Chinese and (n=277) Korean shoppers was utilized to test the hypotheses in the fashion apparel industry.
Our results showed that the aesthetic design was more prominent in capturing consumer WTB for both Chinese and Koreans. Similarly, the aesthetic design was more salient in enhancing WOM for Chinese, whereas the symbolic design was more promising in terms of improving WOM for Koreans. Further, our moderation results demonstrated that the consumption experience could differentiate the effects of the three product design dimensions on consumer WTB and WOM for Chinese. By contrast, the consumption experience could only interact with the aesthetic design to improve WOM for South Koreans.
To the best of authors’ knowledge, the present study is one of the initial attempts to link three product design dimensions with consumer WTB and WOM in the fashion apparel context and explored whether consumption experience competes or complement with three product design dimensions to shape consumer WTB and WOM for Chinese and Koreans.