A University of Minnesota marketing study has concluded that when women buy designer goods, they are engaging in complex intra-sex signalling about their romantic status and security.
Women buy designer handbags and shoes to prevent other females from stealing their man, a new study has claimed.
Carlson School of Management associate professor Vladas Griskevicius and PhD student Yajin Wang conducted five experiments on 649 women of varying ages and relationship statuses.
Griskevicius and Yajin Wang first investigated what other women infer about a woman’s relationship partner based on the luxuriousness of her possessions.
“We found that a woman who is wearing luxury items and designer brands is perceived to have a more devoted partner and as a result other women are less likely to flirt with him,” says Wang.
“It might seem irrational that each year Americans spend over $250 billion on women’s luxury products with an average woman acquiring three new handbags a year, but conspicuous consumption is actually smart for women who want to protect their relationship,” said Griskevicius, co-author of the study.
“When a woman is flaunting designer products, it says to other women ‘back off my man’,” he said.
“We found that a woman who is wearing luxury items and designer brands is perceived to have a more devoted partner and as a result other women are less likely to flirt with him,” said Wang.
“Regardless of who actually purchased the items, other women inferred that the man had something to do with it and is thus more devoted to her.”
In another study:
In another study, Griskevicius and Wang made participants feel jealous by having them imagine that another woman was flirting with their man. Shortly afterward, the women completed a seemingly unrelated task in which they drew a luxury brand logo on a handbag.
The result? When women felt jealous, they drew designer logos that were twice the size of those in the other conditions.
“The feeling that a relationship is being threatened by another woman automatically triggers women to want to flash Gucci, Chanel, and Fendi to other women,” explains Wang.
An extensive survey was carried out for the study.