Spirituality and Consumerism: Consumer Behaviour Among Muslim University Students In Malaysia

AbdulGafar Olawale Fahm, Jemeel Adedotun Sanni


Spirituality is a motivational variable that relates to many aspects of consumerism and economic constructs in terms of personal perceptions and behaviors. The study examined the influence of spirituality in the materialistic interest of consumers. Samples of students of undergraduate and postgraduate in Malaysia were included in this study and the analysis was carried out to see the bi-directional causality of spirituality and consumerism and to see the effect of one on the other. Results showed that those scoring high on spirituality have less interest in material acquisition. The findings also showed that the orientation of the respondents is not reflected in the way they give charity as majority of them will only spend a small portion of their extra money on charity and more on their personal expenses. This clearly shows that the propensity to give out is low. This study, therefore, concludes that spirituality can be positively related to economic attitudes that favored a more social responsibility orientation, supporting programs and individual initiatives that were responsive to the economic suffering of people. The study hereby recommends that individuals should have a sense of giving as spirituality encourages a high level of charitable activities.

Full Text:



Aupers, S., & Houtman, D. (2006). Beyond the spiritual supermarket: The social and public significance of new age spirituality. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 21(2), 201–222.

Bakar, A., Lee, R., & Hazarina Hashim, N. (2013). Parsing religiosity, guilt and materialism on consumer ethics. Journal of Islamic Marketing, 4(3), 232–244. http://doi.org/10.1108/JIMA-04-2012-0018

Baker, A. M., Moschis, G. P., Ong, F. S., & Pattanapanyasat, R. P. (2013). Materialism and life satisfaction: The role of stress and religiosity. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 47(3), 548–563. http://doi.org/10.1111/joca.12013

Davies, K., & Freathy, P. (2014). Marketplace spirituality: challenges for the New Age retailer. The Service Industries Journal, 34(15), 1185–1198.

DeAngelis, T. (2004). Consumerism--Consumerism and its discontents. Monitor on Psychology, 35, 52.

Ilter, B., Bayraktaroglu, G., & Ipek, I. (2017). Impact of Islamic religiosity on materialistic values in Turkey. Journal of Islamic Marketing, 8(4), 533–557. http://doi.org/10.1108/JIMA-12-2015-0092

Kale, S., Kamineni, R., & Munuera-Aleman, J. L. (2004). Spirituality and consumer behavior: concept and consequences. In Proceedings of the 33rd EMAC Conference, held in Murcia, Spain, 18-21 May, 2004.

Marmor-Lavie, G., & Stout, P. A. (2016). Consumers’ insights about spirituality in advertising. Journal of Media and Religion, 15(4), 169–185.

Mason, M. (2010). The Spirituality of Young Australians. In S. Collins-Mayo & P. Dandelion (Eds.), Religion and Youth.

McGhee, P., & Grant, P. (2008). Spirituality and ethical behaviour in the workplace: Wishful thinking or authentic reality. EJBO-Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies.

Papaoikonomou, E., Ryan, G., & Valverde, M. (2011). Mapping ethical consumer behavior: Integrating the empirical research and identifying future directions. Ethics & Behavior, 21(3), 197–221.

Rahman, M., Albaity, M., & Maruf, B. (2017). The Role of Religiosity on the Relationship Between Materialism and Fashion Clothing Consumption Among Malaysian Generation Y Consumers. Social Indicators Research, 132(2), 757–783. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-016-1310-9

Redden, G. (2016). Revisiting the spiritual supermarket: does the commodification of spirituality necessarily devalue it? Culture and Religion, 17(2), 231–249.

Rindfleish, J. (2005). Consuming the self: New Age spirituality as “social product” in consumer society. Consumption, Markets and Culture, 8(4), 343–360.

Rook, D. W. (1985). The ritual dimension of consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 12(3), 251–264.

Sandıkcı, Ö. (2018). Religion and the marketplace: constructing the “new”Muslim consumer. Religion, 1–21.

Shaw, I. (2003). Introduction: Themed Section on Consumerism and Social Policy. Social Policy and Society, 2(1), 33–34.

Stephenson, W. (2003). Scoring Ecstasy: MDMA, consumerism and spirituality in the early fiction of Irvine Welsh. Journal for Cultural Research, 7(2), 147–163.

Sutcliffe, S. J., & Gilhus, I. S. (2014). New age spirituality: rethinking religion. Routledge.

Sweeting, H., Hunt, K., & Bhaskar, A. (2012). Consumerism and well-being in early adolescence. Journal of Youth Studies, 15(6), 802–820.

Taheri, B. (2016). Emotional Connection, Materialism, and Religiosity: An Islamic Tourism Experience. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 33(7), 1011–1027. http://doi.org/10.1080/10548408.2015.1078761

Wong, L. (2007). Market cultures, the middle classes and Islam: consuming the market? Consumption, Markets and Culture, 10(4), 451–480.


  • There are currently no refbacks.