Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

In the Eye of the Beholder? The Effect of Product Appearance on Shareholder Value

Schöler, Lisa
Homburg, Christian
Volume: 32
Number: 5
Pages: 704 - 715
ISSN-Print: 0737-6782
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2015

In times of convergence with regard to product functionality and performance, the appearance of a product constitutes an important source of competitive advantage. Astonishingly, only a few studies have empirically examined the relationship between design‐related aspects and firm value. Moreover, existing studies predominantly use accounting‐based and/or subjective performance measures. Against this background, the present work assesses the contribution of the three most important product design dimensions (i.e., aesthetic, ergonomic, and symbolic value) to the creation of firm value in the context of the automotive and consumer electronics industry. To do so, we examine stock market reactions to the unveiling of a new product's appearance to the public using event study methodology. In particular, we combine perceptual data at the consumer level with stock market data to examine how target consumers' perceptions of the aforementioned design dimensions are related to abnormal returns following the unveiling of a new product. Results reveal that ergonomic value is positively related to abnormal returns, while aesthetic value only exerts a significant positive effect on abnormal returns if the product also exhibits a certain degree of functional product advantage. Finally, symbolic value exerts a negative influence on stock market reactions. These findings have important implications for the allocation of design‐related investments to aesthetic, ergonomic, and symbolic design features.