Product design matters, but is it enough? Consumers’ responses to product design and environment congruence

Ehsan Naderi, Iman Naderi, Bimal Balakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to investigate the combined effects of product design and environment congruence on consumers’ aesthetic, affective and behavioral responses. Design/methodology/approach: Two lab experiments with a 2 (high-level design cues vs low-level design cues) × 2 (congruent environment vs non-congruent environment) between-subjects design were conducted to test the hypotheses. The experimental stimuli (product: digital camera; environment: product display in a retail environment) were presented in a 3D simulation environment using a large TV (Experiment 1) and a stereoscopic virtual reality headset. Findings: The results support the notion that product design cues elicit more positive aesthetic and affective responses. Environment congruence, on the other hand, plays a moderating role; product design cues elicit more favorable consumer responses in a congruent environment. In contrast, no such effect was found in a non-congruent environment. Practical implications: Creating a congruent environment is only effective for well-designed products. In contrast, for products with low-level design elements, the congruence of promotional environment is not instrumental and may not elicit more favorable responses. Hence, such products can simply be presented in a generic display, especially considering the significant costs associated with designing, building and setting up a congruent display. Originality/value: Despite the empirical findings supporting the significant role of product design and environment congruence on consumers’ perceptual and behavioral responses, there is a paucity of research on the combined effect of these two factors. The present investigation is an attempt to fill this gap and challenges the generalizations made in previous research suggesting that a product’s environment must be aligned with the design elements embedded in the product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-954
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 8 2020


  • Aesthetics
  • Affective response
  • Environment congruence
  • Product design
  • Product experience

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Product design matters, but is it enough? Consumers’ responses to product design and environment congruence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this