Procedia Economics and Finance 26

Procedia Economics and Finance 26 ( 2015 ) 528 – 534
2212-5671 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Research and Education Centerdoi: 10.1016/S2212-5671(15)00883-7
ScienceDirect
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
4th World Conference on Business, Economics and Management, WCBEM
The Effect of Visual Product Aesthetics on Consumers’ Price
Sensitivity
Yigit Mumcua, Halil Semih Kimzanb*
aGraduate School of Social Sciences, Eski sehir Osmangazi University, ESOG U Me selik Campus, 26480 Eski sehir,TR bAssist. Prof. Dr, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Eski sehir Osmangazi University, ESOG U Me selik Campus, 26480
Eski sehir,TR
Abstract
In today’s world, due to renewed and changing consumer demands and the rapidly developing technological factors, companies
and managers are in search of new strategies to make a difference in their products and services. As competition increased
market

ers started to focus on new approaches and product innovations to attract consumers’ perception and attention. One of the
m

ost effective ways of differentiating is using aesthetics. Vi sual aesthetics of products creates value for consumers. Visual
aesthetics create significant value for product and makes it more special. A
lso, level of price sensitivity of consumer decreases
when the product is more unique and prestigious. This study ai ms to investigate the relationship between visual aesthetics of
products and consumers’ price sensitivity. The data of the study is collected via a survey form from 510 respondents from
Esk

isehir, Turkey. The results revealed that vi sual aesthetics of products and also its sub -dimensions including value, acumen,
an

d response are negatively associated with consumers’ price sensitivity. Explanatory power of re sponse dimension was higher
than its counterparts.
© 201 5 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Peer -review under responsibility of Academic World Research and Education Center.
Keywords: Visual Product Aesthetics, Value, Acumen, Response, Price Sensitivity.
1. Introduction
Nowadays, product range and developing technology in a ll sectors i
nfluence all decisions of the consumers.
People work through many product types in market because they want to provide maximum benefits from the

* Halil Semih Kimzan. Tel.:+4 -345- 543-24332 .
E- mail address: [email protected]
© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer
-review under responsibility of Academic World Research and Education Center

529
Yigit Mumcu and Halil Semih Kimzan / Procedia Economics and Finance 26 ( 2015 ) 528 – 534
product which they intend to purchase. In other words, consumers want to buy privileged and outstanding product s
or service s. That is to say, product s must be different and special in comparis on
with alternative or similar products.
One of the most effective ways of differentiating is using aesthetics. In this context, a visual design element is one of
th

e significance factors that influence consumer perceptions (Van Rompay et al., 2012). People begin to include
aesthetic components in every aspect of life therefore; the term of aesthetics takes part in many peoples’ daily life
(W

eggeman et al., 2007; Venkatesh and Meamber, 2008). For this reason , co
mpanies and managers try to
differentiate their products by usin g aesthetics to be successful.
Research on aesthetics began in the 18th century. Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, who is regarded as founder of
th

e aesthetic section as a different branch of philosophical thought system, defined aesthetics as a theory of beauty
and theory of sensitive knowledge (Wessell, 1972) . Studies on the aesthetics in marketing research began in the
secon

d half of the 20th century. Holbrook (1980) pointed out that a theoretical framework was necessary to discuss
aesthetic consumption while Beardsley (1969) stated that aesthetics experi en
ces and aesthetic values are connected
with emotional reactions. Charters (2006) made a distinc tion between aesthetic consumption and aesthetic products.
Besides, Veryzer (1995) explained that product de sign is related to the aesthetics components.
Aesthetics, one of the most significant way to make world special, is th e art o
f creating reactions that without
words and communicate by way of sense (Newkirk and Crainer , 2003). In today’s world, many people take care of
s

ymbolic value of product more in detail (Goldsmith et al. , 2010). Consumers’ aesthetic appraisal of products is
related to

whether a product design includes certai n design properties such as color, shape, etc. (Blijlevens et al.,
2012

). An aesthetic response has affective and cognitive dimensions as well as sensor y such as involuntary physical
respon

se (Wagner , 1999). Bloch (1995) explained that the form of produ
ct generate psychological reactions which
include cognitive and emotional contents. These psycho logical reactions also cause behavioral responses which
indirectly lead to behavioral responses. Therefore, marketers use product aesthetics as a tool for competitive
differentiation (Cox and Cox , 2002).
Aesthetics concept contributes to success of companies and brands (Rompay & Pruyn, 2011). In terms of strategic
pricin

g, it enables companies to gain higher profits by letting them determine higher prices (Kristensen et al. 2012).
In this context this study investigates the relations hip between visual product aesthetics and price sensitivity. Price
sen

sitivity is an important concept for marketers in the real world. Price sensitivity offers new ways for managers
abou

t how they should approach the consumer (Goldsmith et al, 2010). The concept of price sensitivity refers to the
v

ariations of consumer demand in case of price fluctuations (Low et al ., 2013). Social and hedonic conditions may
cau

se consumers to be less price sensitive than non -social and functional ones (Wakefield & Inman , 2003)
2. Visual Product Aesthetics
Aesthetics of product is a valuable element because many consumers purchase not only a product but also value
an

d experience. Consumers’ inferring of product design is mainly related to how they are in an interaction with the
produ

ct. The concept of visual product aesthetics usually plays a basic role for ideas about the sensorial character of
th

e product s (Workman and Caldwell , 2007). Furthermore, visual aesthetics is a one of the most important factors
af

fecting consumer perception in many ways. An outstanding product design helps to distinguish products from its
co

mpetitors and enables to make a difference in the market (Bloch et al. , 2003). Besides, product design can affect
peo

ple’s quality of life positively (Crilly et al. , 2004).Visual aesthetics ha s a symbolic role that can affect evaluation
of

product. While processing product selection, visual consumers may outweigh aesthetic factors higher than other
con

sumers (Workman and Caldwell , 2007).
In line with these information, the centrality of aesthetics in products is critical to understand consumers ‘
purchase decision s. The centrality of visual product aesthetics is ex plain
ed as the total level of significance that the
connection between consumer s and the products provided by visual aesthetics (Bloch et al., 2003). Centrality of
v

isual product aesthetics also indicates the durable interest that creates t
he aesthetic advantages provided from the
product. Centrality of visual product aesthetics includes four related components (Bloch et al. , 2003):

1) The value offered by the product appearance
2) The acumen, ability of recognition, classify and product design evaluation
3) The degree of response to visual design forms of products and

530 Yigit Mumcu and Halil Semih Kimzan / Procedia Economics and Finance 26 ( 2015 ) 528 – 534
4) Definiteness in visual aesthetics that influences product choice and sense of satisfaction in purchasing.

Product design is both a basic component of marketing mix and the first point of contact for consumers. Product
des

ign can also effectively create a permanent impression for a product (Kumar and Garg , 2010). Product design
af

fects consumers’ decision making process (Berkow itz, 1987; Bruce & Whitehead, 1988; Veryzer, 1993, 1999) via
emotions (Kumar and Garg , 2010). Besides, aesthetical factors of product design can be complicated because
aesth

etics plays key role for product perception, product identification and use of the product (Veryzer , 1995). A
g

ood design increases the usage experiences; therefor e it adds value to the product and attracts consumers (Bloch ,
1995).
3. Price Sensitivity
Price sensitivity is one of the most important factors th at inf
luence price perceptions and consumers’ purchasing
decisions (Harmon et al., 2007). Consumers have price sensitivity for many product ranges because they want to get
m

aximum benefits for all products or service (Al -Mamun et al. , 2014) . The term of price sensitivity refers to
co

nsumers’ sense s and reactions to differences in prices of products (Monroe , 1973).
Consumers’ demographic profiles influence their price sensitivity (Kim et. al., 1999). Repeated display to
f

eatured brands as well as consumers’ price threshold levels may also affect consumers’ price sensitivity (Shankar ;
Krish

namurthi , 1996; Han et al., 2001). Price sensitivity measurement has an important role to describe consumers’
w

illingness to pay and to evaluate price knowledge of consumers (Salamandic et al. , 2014) . Therefore this study
ai

ms to investigate the relationship between consumers’ price sensitivity and visual product aesthetics.
4. Hypotheses
The concept of aesthetic has a significant impact on
the financial decisions (Townsend and Shu, 2010).
Regardless type of consumption, product differentiation can be based on aesthetics, and aesthetic designs indicate a
higher willingness to pay in order to have the product immediately, feel a growing interest in products to flaunt and
like products that are likely to trigger positive respons es. (Reimann et al., 2010: 431). Aesthetically attractive
products enable marketers to determine higher prices (Schmitt and Simonson, 2000; Kristensen et al. 2012).
C

onsequently, visual aesthetics of products influence price related concepts (Orth et al., 2010).
Consumers are less price sensitive when the product is m
ore unique and the product is supposed to have high-
quality, good image or de luxe (Kotler, 1997). Visual aesth etics of
a product adds value to the product and m akes it
more unique and special. In accordance with these explanations, especially, due to unique-value effect, level of price
sen

sitivity of consumer should decrease when the product is more unique. Although there are some studies analyzing
the relationship between product aesthetics and price relate d concepts mentioned above (Bloch et all 2003; Orth et
all 2010; Bloch 1995; Rompay ; Pruyn 2011; Schmitt and Simonson, 2000; Kotler 1997; Kristensen et al. 2012;
T

ownsend and Shu, 2010; Rompay et all 2012) there is a lack of literature on the relationship between visual product
aesth

etics and price sensitivity. Visual aesthetics of the product ca n
affect the level of price sensitivity in consumers
considerably. This study aims to in vestigate the relationship between visual aesthetics of products and consumers’
price sensitivity. The following hypotheses were developed:

H
1: Visual product aesthetics is associated with price sensitivity.
H
1a: Value is associated with price sensitivity.
H
1b: Acumen is associated with price sensitivity.
H
1c: Response is associated with price sensitivity.

5. Methodology
5.1 Sample and Data Collection

531
Yigit Mumcu and Halil Semih Kimzan / Procedia Economics and Finance 26 ( 2015 ) 528 – 534

Data for the study were collected via a survey from Eskisehir (a city of Turkey). 510 surveys were
co

llected.Table 1 demonstrates demographic characteristics of the sample.

Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of the Sample Frequency Percentage Marital Status
Married
320
62.75
Single 190 37.25 Total 510 100
Gender
Female 171 33.5 Male 339 66.5 Total 510 100
Age
18-25 64 12.6 26-33 150 29.4 34-41 115 22.6 42-49 117 22.9 50-57 52 10.2 58 and above 12 2.3 Total 510 100
Education
Primary School 14 2.7 High School 120 23.5 Bachelors 337 66.1 Master/PhD 39 7.6 Total 510 100 Income 0-750 Turkish Liras 9 1.8 751 -1500 Turkish Liras 140 27.5 1501 -2250 Turkish Liras 90 17.6 2251 -3000 Turkish Liras 121 23.7 3001 -3750 Turkish Liras 51 10 3751 -4500 Turkish Liras 51 10 4501 Turkish Liras and above 48 9.4 Total 510 100

5.2 Measures

Product aesthetics (independent variab le)
was measured by the scale of Bloch et al. (2013). The scale includes
value, acumen and response dimensions of visual pr oduct aesthetics. These items were measured with 5-point, Likert
t

ype scales (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). Price sensitivity (dependent variable) was measured by the
s

cale of Wakefield and Inman (2003). The items of the scale were measured with 5 -point, Likert type scales (1 =
s

trongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree).

5.3 Analyses and Results

The arithmetic mean values of product aesthetics scale were betw
een 2.92 and 3.98 while price sensitivity scale
items have arithmetic mean values between 2.85 and 3.19 (Table 2).

Table 2: Mean and Standard Deviation Values of Items
Mean Value Standard Deviation Product Aesthetics 1. Owning products that have superior designs makes me feel good about myself. 3.98 0.61

532 Yigit Mumcu and Halil Semih Kimzan / Procedia Economics and Finance 26 ( 2015 ) 528 – 534
2. I enjoy seeing displays of products that have superior designs. 3.96 0.55 3. A product’s design is a source of pleasure for me. 3.81 0.63 4. Beautiful product designs make our world a better place to live. 3.67 0.70 5. Being able to see subtle differences in product designs is one skill that I have developed over time. 3.76 0.71 6. I see things in a product’s design that other people tend to pass over. 3.78 0.70 7. I have the ability to imagine how a product will fit in with designs of other things I already own. 3.82 0.69 8. I have a pretty good idea of what makes one product look better than its compe titors. 3.85 1.90 9. Sometimes the way a product looks seems to reach out and grab me. 3.74 0.68 10. If a product’s design really “speaks” to me, I feel that I must buy it. 2.96 1.21 11. When I see a product that has a really great design, I feel a strong a strong urge to buy it. 2.92 1.19 Price Sensitivity
12. I’m willing to make an extra effort to ?nd a low price. 3.11 1.34 13. I will change what I had planned to buy in order to take advantage of a lower price. 2.85 1.66 14. I am sensitive to differences in prices. 3.19 1.36 (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree)

5.4 Validity and reliability

Cronbach Alpha scores of product aesthetics and price se ns
itivity scales were 0.915 and 0.962 (Table 3). These
reliability values were in acceptable limits. 6th and 8th ite ms of the visual product aesthetics scale were eliminated
because of the factor and reliability analyses.
Table 3: The Results of Factor Analysis and Reliability Analysis of the Scales Items Factor
Loadings Reliabilitya
Visual Product Aesthetics
Value
1. Owning products that have superior designs makes me feel good about myself. 0.837
2. I enjoy seeing displays of products that have superior designs. 0.826
3. A product’s design is a source of pleasure for me. 0.773
4. Beautiful product designs make our world a better place to live. 0.683 Response 11. When I see a product that has a really great design, I feel a strong a strong urge to buy it. 0.915 0.915 10. If a product’s design really “speaks” to me, I feel that I must buy it. 0.907 9. Sometimes the way a product looks seems to reach out and grab me. 0.563 Acumen 7. I have the ability to imagine how a product will fit in with designs of other things I already own. 0.595

5. Being able to see subtle differences in product designs is one skill that I have developed over time. 0.584 KMO: 0.885, Chi -Square: 4711.555, df: 55, P