Consumer responses to functional, aesthetic and symbolic product design in online reviews

Marina Candi*, Haeran Jae, Suzanne Makarem, Mayoor Mohan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research addresses calls to consider consumer responses to product design along three dimensions: functional, aesthetic, and symbolic design. Based on an analysis of online consumer reviews, this research sheds light on the role of all three design dimensions and reveals how each uniquely contributes to consumers' behavioral responses directly and indirectly though emotional arousal—a key mediator. Furthermore, an important distinction—rooted in consumer information processing models—is made between low-involvement and high-involvement products. The results indicate that the effectiveness of each of the three design dimensions differs depending on the level of product involvement. Taken together, the research findings highlight the importance of taking all three design dimensions into account, including the symbolic design dimension, which has received relatively little attention to date.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date10 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • aesthetic design
  • functional design
  • online reviews
  • product design
  • product involvement
  • symbolic design


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