Look at me! or don’t... How mere social presence impacts innovation adoption

Lidan Xu, Ravi Mehta, Kelly B. Herd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the adoption of innovative products offers an opportunity for consumers to stand out and signal their uniqueness, such adoption also may also be associated with social risk. The current research highlights how the mere presence of others can make these related and often conflicting factors salient and in turn impact consumers’ willingness to fund or buy innovative products. Across three studies, we find that the mere social presence of others enhances consumers’ willingness to fund innovative ideas (study 1) and buy innovative products (studies 2 and 3). However, when familiar others are present, the perceived social risk associated with such adoption outweighs the positive signaling effect of uniqueness, thereby attenuating the effect. Importantly, when innovativeness is presented as an accepted norm, the mere social presence of even familiar others leads to higher willingness to buy innovative products. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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