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Is fear of missing out (FOMO) a cultural construct? Investigating FOMO from a marketing perspective
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is an ongoing phenomenon. It is particularly important in the field of marketing as it is linked to impulsive shopping behaviour and other consequences that can affect the brand–consumer relationship. Existing literature suggests that FOMO is influenced by social media consumption, the level of collectivism versus individualism, and a sense of belonging. The present study deepens understanding of FOMO by examining its associations with social media consumption both in English and in consumers’ ethnic languages, collectivism versus individualism, and ethnic identity. The data were obtained via an online survey of 3,286 respondents of different ethnicities (non-Hispanic white, Hispanic, African American, Asian American). The results show that while consumption of English-language social media is not significantly related to FOMO, the consumption of social media in other languages appears to be a significant predictor of FOMO. The study also finds that collectivism and ethnic identity appear to have a strong correlation with FOMO and can be used as predictors of FOMO. These findings support the idea that FOMO is highly cultural. The paper goes on to discuss how these conclusions contribute to the literature, along with the managerial implications of the findings.
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Faren Karimkhan is a doctoral candidate at Florida State University, School of Communication. Her research focuses on multi-cultural marketing, social media marketing in the fashion and cosmetic industry, and consumer behaviour among ethnic minorities. She teaches courses in multicultural marketing at Florida State University. She is also is a visiting lecturer at Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.
Sindy Chapa is the director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University (FSU). Dr Chapa is published in recognized academic journals including International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research, International Business & Economics Research, Journal of Marketing Communication, Journal of Spanish Language Media, Journal of Consumer Behavior, and Journal of Multidisciplinary Business Review among others. Dr Chapa’s research concentrates on understanding Hispanic and cross-ethnic consumer behavior in the area of cross-cultural marketing communication and advertising.