How Are Men’s Testosterone Levels Linked to Luxury Goods?

We all know that males have higher testosterone levels than women. However, while the hormone has often been linked to masculinity, did you know that there are certainly other aspects of it too that we are just beginning to understand now? Research shows that higher levels of testosterone in men drive them towards spending more on luxury items. Find out more about this curious habit in males and how it affects their expenses.


What’s Your Status?

If you are a man and expensive cars, watches, and other premium goods arouse you; you have a higher testosterone level. The University of Pennsylvania observed 243 men between the ages of 18 and 55 to find a link between testosterone and its status-enhancing behaviour in men.


More about the Study

In this process, the men were randomly given a gel to apply to their bodies. Some of the gels included testosterone whereas others were simple placebos. After a few hours, the University’s team conducted two experiments on them to record their preferences for the assortment of goods showcased to them. 

Let’s look at the two experiments first and then see what the researchers determined.


The First Experiment:

Each participant was shown logos of brands, each differing in terms of status but not quality. The result showed men that applied the gel including testosterone were more drawn towards brands with a seemingly higher status. Whereas men who received placebos were more rational and were not bothered about the status.


The Second Experiment:

For the second task, descriptions of products marked as high-quality or power and status-enhancing were given to them. From sunglasses to coffee machines, the individuals who applied the testosterone gels reacted positively to the items marked as ‘status-enhancing’. On the other hand, men who received placebos were less likely to do the same.


The research concluded that men with elevated testosterone levels have an urge to promote their social status. The same observation can be made in case of animals. The creatures boast their colourful coats and other features that help them attract mates. If you think about it, peacocks are better off without their tails, they can evade predators much easily and find food a lot faster. This need to attract mates in biology is called costly signalling.

Similarly, men convey status in terms of wealth, flashy gear and designer wear. They can live without it, but by buying expensive items he flaunts his dominance over the others. Boosted testosterone levels provoke this tendency, as suggested by the study.

Lead author Gideon Nave explains this further,” In some ways, this is similar to someone driving a limo or a Hummer or a Ferrari. It is a way of showing or signalling that you can afford to do so.” Nave observed that during circumstances such as a major sporting event, a divorce, and graduations, the testosterone level in men experiences a sudden transient rush.

Marketers may find this research by the University of Pennsylvania to understand consumer behaviour and mend their sale strategies accordingly.



Founder, CEO at Addicted
Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!