Gestalt feature is an important concept of Gestalt psychology, which refers to the organizational feature that can make the originally separated elements easy to be perceived as a good “whole”. The core idea of Gestalt theory is that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. It is believed that when individuals perceive external objects, they do not passively accept external stimulus input, but rather perceive the color, texture, spatial distribution and shape of the objects to complete the preliminary visual recognition, and then proactively perceive objects with good Gestalt feature such as proximity, similarity and symmetry as a meaningful “whole”. At the same time, individuals can process those objects more quickly and efficiently, and express a more positive attitude.
The study of Gestalt feature originates from the visual field, but it is not limited to this domain. In recent years, a number of studies have begun to focus on the effect of Gestalt feature on consumer behavior. According to the review of the previous literature, the vectors of Gestalt feature in the consumer field can be divided into five aspects: commodity advertising, brand identity, shopping environment, commodity display, and currency use. At the same time, according to consumers’ contact with these five aspects, it can be further summarized into three consumption stages. In the pre-consumption stage, the Gestalt feature of commodity advertising and brand identity would have a positive effect on consumers’ brand attitudes; during the mid-consumption stage, consumer behavior would be affected by the Gestalt feature of shopping environment, commodity display and currency. Finally, Gestalt feature would have a continuous impact on the commodity value evaluation and quantity estimation in the post-consumption stage.
In addition to explaining the impact of Gestalt feature on consumer behavior, this paper also analyzes its mechanism from the perspective of attention research and processing fluency. We believe that on the one hand, those objects with Gestalt feature can give consumers more aesthetic experience which could attract more attention in the appraisal stage and maintain during the coping stage, so that consumers would have a preference for the “whole”. On the other hand, the Gestalt feature of consumer objects can bring higher processing fluency, and the positive emotions caused by this fluency can further strengthen consumers’ preference for the “whole”.
Finally, on the basis of reviewing the existing research, this paper also has an original discussion on the future research direction. Future research can further explore the antecedent and consequence variables of the effect of Gestalt feature, as well as other relevant moderators. More effective research tools could also be used in the future research.