The Sources of the Many Faces of Consumer Smartphone Attachment: A Value-in-Use Perspective

Stefanie Sohn*, Evmorfia Karampournioti, Klaus-Peter Wiedmann, Wolfgang Fritz

*Corresponding author for this work

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Smartphones have evolved to be among the most important objects in peoples’ daily lives. However, little knowledge exists on users’ relationships with smartphones. This study examines the user-smartphone relationship from an attachment perspective. More specifically, the present research develops an understanding of the different faces of smartphone attachment considering the perceived value-in-use of smartphones as a source. The findings of an online survey among smartphone users reveal that users are attached to the smartphone itself because of the value it derives during usage. Most interestingly, the effects of perceived value-in-use have been found to be ambivalent because they can enhance both positive (e.g., passion) and negative (e.g., separation distress) aspects of smartphone attachment. Moreover, specific compositions of the value-in-use define the individual facets of smartphone attachment. For instance, passion has been found to be determined by social, hedonic, and utilitarian value-in-use, whereas distress is triggered by both perceived utilitarian and hedonic value-in-use. In sum, this study’s findings help to understand and manage consumers’ smartphone attachment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1399-1412
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Smartphone attachment, value-in-use, emotional attachment, distress, passion


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