BMO 6630 : Business Research Methods
Assessment 01 : Articles Collection & Structured Abstract
This structured abstract reviews the topic of “Conspicuous Consumption and Intentions of Consumers” through research studies conducted by (i) Thorstein Veblen, (ii) Jie Yang, Jieqiong Ma, Mark Arnold and Krittinee Nuttavuthisit, (iii) Jelena Golubeva, Riina Koris and Katri Kerem and (iv) Dalia Abdelrahman Farrag.
Brief summary of the Theory and discussion of progression in the field
Veblen (2009, p.6) in his study of the leisure class analyses the experiences of everyday life and observations. He examines the leisure habits, characteristics and people’s behaviours of the Babarian society as the basis where leisure class has initiated. (Veblen 2009, p.5) They are viewed in terms of conspicuous and vicarious consumption or a waste sometimes. Some consumption habits of upper class are to display status and not for its functional utility or usefulness. Veblen (2009, p.91) emphasises that owning and displaying of luxury items is to advertise wealth, status and prestige as conspicuous consumption. Further he explains that people tend to engage in conspicuous consumption merely for the purpose of displaying their superiority among others in the society and they are used as symbols to distinguish between social classes.
Veblen’s (2009) analysis has now become a great piece of literature for understanding the intentions and behaviour of various consumer classes in the modern society of which the study has become significant topics of many researchers at present.
Yang et al. (2018) and Farrag (2017) have examined other factors that affect conspicuous consumption. Yang et al. (2018) have found that global identity plays a main role in purchase intention of consumers to luxury goods. Farrag (2017) has found that fashion involvement, brand consciousness, social comparison and experiential needs have a significant impact on purchase intentions on luxury goods. Interestingly, Golubeva et al. (2018) have found that dress is still a good sign of displaying conspicuous consumption and is used to enhance social status which agrees to Veblen (2009,p.198) who explained that people’s dress is always a display and representation of pecuniary standing and dress is more for show off and not for protection.
Common themes/ findings
As discussed, Veblen (2009, p.91) studies the consumption patterns of the upper class in the society and he emphasises that people tend to purchase luxurious goods in order to display their wealth, status and prestige among others in the society. Owning and usage of luxurious goods, glamorous and expensive clothes are signs to identify the wealthiest. (Veblen 2009, p.198)
The work of Golubeva et al. (2018) aligns with the common theme of Veblen (2009). They indicate that choice of garment is a way of communicating social standing, dominance and wealth and fashion has become one of the most obvious mechanisms of displaying class or status. Their study reveals that attitudes towards conspicuous consumption does not depend on elite taste but still depends on conspicuous taste. Further the comments illustrates that there is a sense of modest choices included in their conspicuous consumption.
Yang et al. (2018) and Farrag (2017) have studied to a further extent of identifying other factors that influence the intention of purchasing of luxury goods. Yang et al. (2018) suggest that global identity has a positive relationship between purchase intentions of luxury products. They emphasise that consumers compare and imitate modern cultures and claim their membership of global community by conspicuous consumption. (Yang et al. 2018) Simultaneously they accept the fact that luxury products possess a social status that could enhance the global recognition of its consumers. Farrag’s (2017) work indicates that the most influential factor on attitude towards luxury consumption is experiential needs. Subsequently there is an impact of fashion involvement, brand consciousness and social comparison as well.
Different Themes/ Findings
The underlying themes across all the articles are very much identical and all are centred on the concept of conspicuous consumption or luxury consumption.
Veblen’s (2009) analysis depicts that consumption of luxury goods is mainly as a display sign of status, prestige and social standing of upper class society. Golubeva et al. (2018) in their study have found that it is still the same in choice of garment to enhance and display status of the elite.
However the other two of the studies have come up with different factors and reasons that influence conspicuous consumption behaviour. Farrag’s (2017) study indicates that Veblen’s (2009) traditional conspicuous consumption model has transferred to an experiential model at present. His findings say that people seek variety, new experiences and sensory gratification the most compared to materialism.
The study of Yang et al. (2018) has gone beyond the traditional perceived values of luxury products and identifies that global identity becomes an important icon in consumer’s intention to purchase luxury goods. Perceived individual value and perceived social value is said to be the key attributes that affect luxury consumption. (Yang et al. 2018)
However there are no major differences in the basic theme but the focus of each researcher has broadened through different aspects.
Study limitations and how they differ across the various research designs
Veblen (2009) in his study analyses conspicuous consumptions based on observations and social experiences. Conspicuous consumption is subjective to a person’s intentions, purpose, behaviour and motives which are relatively complex to measure and analyse.
Golubeva et al. (2018) have stated the limitations of their study as the choice of dress could have been depended on the venue of the event and its plain atmosphere without a functional glamour and the convenience in travelling. Further there could be a possibility of bias due to the attendees are pre aware that they are always being hotly observed on such special occasions. These have a tendency of deviation in their qualitative research findings.
Yang et al. (2018) have used a quantitative research method for its convenience. However the use of a mixed method and a wider sample covering a wider domain of countries could have generalised the results. Unfortunately one country has not fully supported their hypothesis as well. Further their study can be expanded to reflect cultural differences, religious groups, different age groups and different attitudes and focus groups in order to understand deeper how global identity influences purchase intentions of luxury goods.
Farrag (2017) has used a mixed research method but limited the study to a sample of Qatari population only whereas the study could be more comprehensive by including more variables that influence the attitude towards luxury consumption such as brand prominence, vanity and functional value and also the study can be expanded by relating different geographical and demographical factors.
Future research directions proposed in the articles
Veblen (2009) in his first book “The Theory of the Leisure Class” introduces the concept of conspicuous consumption that reflects the social goal of impressing others and displaying one’s own wealth, power and superiority which has been recognised by many researchers for further studying.
Golubeva et al. (2018) suggest that future research should concentrate on exploring the phenomenon of dress and conspicuous consumption in a longitudinal study where period results could be analysed.
Yang et al. (2018) suggest that there should be more research to examine the effect of consumer’s global identity on their purchase intention on luxury goods.
Farrag (2017) suggest that developing a typology for Qatari luxury consumers will help brand owners to implement productive marketing strategies and also to conduct future studies based on social media influence and peer influence to be more effective.
Farrag, D. A. 2017, ‘The Young Luxury Consumer in Qatar’, Young Consumers, Vol. 18 Iss.4 pp.393-407
Golubeva, J. Koris, R. & Kerem, K. 2018, ‘The Dress I Wear Says More Than a Thousand Words: Conspicuous Choice of Garment Among Estonian Elite’, Journal of Management and Change, Vol.36/37 pp.78-98
Veblen, T. 2009, The Theory of the Leisure Class, The Floating Press, Waiheke Island
Yang, J. Ma, J. Arnold, M. & Nuttavuthisit, K. 2018, ‘Global Identity, Perception of luxury value and consumer purchase intention: a cross – cultural examinatio’, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol.35 Iss .5 pp.533-542
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