Consumer Behavior

Are Virtual Fashion Influencers (VFIs) Cool and Eerie? Effects of VFIs’ Form- and Behavioral-realism on Consumer Ambivalence

Authors
  • Inhwa Kim (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Chung-Wha (Chloe) KI (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
  • Youn-Kyung Kim (University of Tennessee)

Abstract

As virtual fashion influencers (VFIs) grow in popularity, understanding how consumers perceive VFIs in appearance and behavior will assist fashion retailers in effectively designing VFIs. We examined whether and how a VFIs’ design elements (anthropomorphic appearance and interactivity) elicit consumers’ ambivalent emotions (eeriness and coolness) toward the VFI, which would ultimately affect the VFI’s marketing performance. This study employed a2 (form realism: low [character-like VFI] vs. high [human-like VFI]) x 2(behavioral realism: low [scripted response] vs. high [natural response]) between-subjects design. An online U.S. female Gen MZ consumer panel (n = 145) participated in the survey and was assigned to one of the four experimental conditions. Two-way ANCOVA revealed the main effects of form realism and interaction effects between the form and behavioral realism on both eeriness and coolness. Multiple regression analysis revealed that coolness influenced intentions to follow and to purchase, while eeriness did not.

Keywords: Influencer marketing, virtual influencers, AI influencers, Consumer ambivalence, Eeriness, Coolness

How to Cite:

Kim, I., KI, C. & Kim, Y., (2022) “Are Virtual Fashion Influencers (VFIs) Cool and Eerie? Effects of VFIs’ Form- and Behavioral-realism on Consumer Ambivalence”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 79(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/itaa.15919

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Published on
31 Dec 2022
Peer Reviewed