Embracing Simplicity: The Impact of Pandemic Threat on Preference for Visually Simple Products
CHEN Si-yun1, WEI Hai-ying1,2, RAN Ya-xuan3, XIONG Ji-wei1, MENG Lu4
(1School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China) (2 Research Institute on Brand Innovation and Development of Guangzhou, Guangzhou 510632, China) (3?School of Business Administration, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China) (4 School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)
Abstract：Health threat is ubiquitous in human life. We propose that disease cues can enhance consumers’ preference for minimalism. We also reveal the underlying mechanism that drives the proposed effect. That is, disease threat has a positive influence on desirability for control, thus increasing the preference for visually simple products. We developed our conceptualization based on the behavioral immune system (BIS) and control theory. In particular, we hypothesized that health threat can facilitate the preference for visually simple products, and notably, contamination concern and desirability for control, play the mediating roles in the effect of pandemic threat on the preference for visually simple products. Two studies were conducted to verify our hypotheses. In addition to having substantive practical implications to marketers and business managers in developing themselves in the context of health threat, this research offers a novel perspective on the effect of disease cues on consumer minimalism. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings and provide an agenda for future research in this domain.