Augmented Reality and Authenticity: An Experimental Study to Investigate their Impact on Luxury Perception
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- Master of Science 
Abstract In recent years, studies about luxury perception have proliferated. Nonetheless, few of these have investigated both product internal and external factors that may have an impact on it. On one side, a large body of research has focused on the internal elements that constitute a high-end brand, such as authenticity. On the other side, little research has investigated whether external factors, such as the way a product is displayed (e.g., photo, video, augmented reality), may influence luxury perception. The current study sought to merge these two distinct streams of research, by shedding light on the impact of both internal and external factors. More specifically, we studied how authenticity shapes luxury perception and whether this relationship is influenced by presenting a product through different modes of visualization. In our study, we presented a Gucci bag through Augmented Reality (AR) and 2-Dimensional (2D) modes of visualization. We manipulated authenticity by using elements that recalled Italy (high authenticity, considering the brand’s origin) and Brazil (low authenticity, unrelated brand origin). The research focused on three main objectives: 1) confirm that origin, and thus authenticity, affects individuals’ luxury perception of the product; 2) test if this relationship is influenced by different modes of visualization; 3) investigate which characteristics of mode of visualization create such a perceptual difference. We first conducted a pre-test to ensure a common ground for authenticity. We employed a within subject design, priming participants with six different scenarios representing different sources of authenticity (heritage and pedigree, craftsmanship and country of origin). Then, we conducted a 2 x 2 between participants experiment, with factors authenticity (low vs. high) and visualization mode (2D vs. AR). 198 respondents were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions and they were asked to judge the products, as well as the experience itself. Our findings suggest that both authenticity and mode of visualization positively affect luxury perception. In our discussion we propose how this study can lead the way for an all-round exploration of AR in the communication of luxury brands’ authenticity. Finally, we explain the contribution of these findings to existent literature and the managerial insights that can be gained. Keywords: Luxury perception, mode of visualization, authenticity, Augmented Reality, interactivity.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2020