Phone and Self : How Smartphone Use Increases the Preference for Uniqueness

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationJournal of Marketing Research
Online published3 Aug 2022
Publication statusOnline published - 3 Aug 2022


One of the most dramatic shifts in recent years has been consumers’ increased use of smartphones for making purchases and choices, but does using a smartphone influence what consumers choose? This paper shows that, compared with using a personal computer (PC), making choices using a personal smartphone leads consumers to prefer more unique options. The authors theorize that because smartphones are considerably more personal and private than PCs, using them activates intimate self-knowledge and increases private self-focus, shifting attention toward individuating personal preferences, feelings, and inner states. Consequently, making choices using a personal smartphone, compared with a PC, tends to increase the preference for unique and self-expressive options. Six experiments and several replications examine the effects of personal smartphone use on the preference for unique options and test the underlying role of private self-focus. The findings have important implications for theories of self-focus, uniqueness seeking, and technology’s impact on consumers, as well as tangible implications for many online vendors, brands, and researchers who use mobile devices to interact with their respective audiences.

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