Publication Date

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Christine Ma-Kellams


Socioeconomic Status, Conspicuous Consumption, Fear of Negative Evaluations, Race/Ethnicity

Subject Areas

Marketing; Psychology


The current study compared and explained differences in consumption behaviors among people of different racial/ethnic groups: White, Black, Hispanic, and Southeast Asian. Specifically, we analyzed racial/ethnic group preferences for brand-logo sizes on visually conspicuous products (t-shirts and hats). The fear of being negatively evaluated as a minority group member was examined to see if it predicted unique conspicuous consumption patterns across individual consumer groups. This research extended prior consumer tendency literature by trying to demonstrate a link between race/ethnicity and conspicuous consumption through the fear of being negatively evaluated because of one’s racial/ethnic background. A final sample of 222 participants completed a survey that measured their preference for brand-logo sizes on products and how fearful they were of being negatively evaluated due to their race/ethnicity. Results showed that Non-White participants preferred bigger-brand logo sizes and were more fearful of being negatively evaluated than White participants. However, the fear of being negatively evaluated did not mediate the relationship between brand-logo size preferences and race as hypothesized. This research has broad implications for both understanding the role of culture in the marketing community as well as the economic consequences of minority group status.