The Indian Luxury market has evolved in a dynamic manner. Indian consumers are adopting the global luxury brands and trends more conveniently and at much faster pace than anticipated. Internet has further enabled the companies to reach the Indian consumers in distant areas. It is estimated that Indian luxury market shall touch $30 billion mark by 2015 and the country may become the world’s fifth largest consumer market by 2025. Laxman Narasimhan, Director, Mckinsey, rightly pointed that, “Between China and India you are looking at a quarter of the global luxury market in 2015.The growth in India between 2015 and 2020 will become even larger as more people come into the consumption curve. Nine million households will be targets for luxury or near luxury consumption. Nearly 42 per cent of India’s wealthy households are in Delhi and Mumbai. Indian consumers really care about brands. Almost 22 per cent of Indian consumers try foreign products and brands.” Luxury products have become affordable for more consumers, especially for consumers of the middle class who have more disposable income than ever before (Hauck & Stanforth, 2007) and hence luxury brands have the opportunity to flourish.
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!Essay Writing Service
Rising prices of products had not deterred the consumers from symbolic consumption. The rise of Indian middle class has lead to a shift in the way consumers consume. Sheth (1999) argues that “the idea of upward social mobility motivates people of all castes…the quest today is not for registering higher ritual status; it is universally for wealth, political power and modern lifestyles.” Osella and Osella (2000) indicated that there are substantial changes in consumption pattern, behaviors and aspirations amongst all social groups. Husic & Cicic (2009) opined that luxury products are consumed by individuals from all social and income classes and these products give them pleasure and confidence.
The phenomena of social comparison have been discussed much in western context. The paper attempts to understand the relationship between luxury brand consumption and Social comparison with special reference to Jaipur and Delhi. Paper tries to understand the role of demographic factors, interpersonal factors and personality traits. Since media plays an important role in shaping consumer behavior, role of media in influencing luxury brand consumption and social comparison will also be studied. The paper will contribute to academic research done in the area of luxury brands and social comparison and will relate media with social comparison.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
According to Festinger’s (1954), theory of social comparison, people compare themselves to other members of society when objective means are not available. He also believed that social comparison takes place within groups and other face-to-face situations. Richins (1992) mentioned that two types of information can be derived from social comparison. Firstly, people can utilize comparison to conclude whether they are “correct” or “normal”. Secondly, social comparison is used to assess the relative standing. Comparisons of abilities and circumstances leads to this information.
AGE, GENDER AND INCOME
Children are socialized in a materialistic world. They start creating attachments with the worldly possessions at an early age. Chaplin and John (2007) found that materialism arises from middle childhood (age 8-9) to early adolescence (age 12-13) and then decreases from early to late adolescents (ages 16-18). John (1999) and Kasser (2005) studied the consumer socialization process; however they failed to establish any relationship between age and materialism. Chan et al (2006) in their study concluded that older adolescents are more materialistic in comparison to younger consumers. They consider this an effect of having greater contact with older individuals who are more successful and own luxury goods which are seen as status symbols. It is contemplated that the consumption behavior of these more successful individuals are emulated by the older consumers. Eastman & Eastman (2011) found that younger consumers are more motivated to consume luxury goods.
Caplovitz (1967) said that in United States not only low income families strongly prefer new appliances, but they are inclined to buy the more expensive models. These reference for new and more expensive models points towards something more than a strictly utilitarian interest in these appliances. Their usefulness matters of course but beyond that these appliances evidently express their owner’s aspirations for status. He emphasized the fact that people buy appliances to show off their status, sometimes they do so in a situation when they do not have that monetary capacity. So they consume more, so that they may show off their status more. According to Vatikiotis’s (1996) examined that the main motivation among Eastern Asian middle class consumers to buy luxury products is the need and aspiration for status. Goldman (1999) concluded in his study that the consumers from lower income level involve themselves to use luxury products to achieve higher social class, they are more status -conscious, whereas middle or higher income consumers buy luxury products not only because of the need of status but also for their own personal well being and proof that they have got the freedom of wealth.
Wells & Prensky (1996) opined that the products that are found in the luxury segment are more targeted towards female consumers. This can be attributed to the fact that luxury buying requires more time and attention as it is a high involvement purchase, which generally is found with female consumers. According to Frank (1999) the reason why women considers shopping as important is because shopping can render them with self sense and a place to make decisions of their own. This may be one of the reasons that luxury brands are targeting females more than males.
Churchill and Moschis (1979) in their study found that television serves as good source of information which is used in intra- family communication and influences the consumption patterns. They also suggested that newspaper reading highly enriches the consumers’ knowledge about consumer skills, consumer affairs and incite consumers for consumption. Bandura (1971) suggested that the mass media figures influence the children. Children imitate the brand endorsers’ behavior. Singh (2009) in her study opined that the mass media arouses the aspirations of the people. The images shown in media motivate people to say and buy those things that are not required by them. Media influences the social comparison process among the individuals. Individuals compare themselves with the media images. Meredith & Schewe (2002) stated that advertising arouses the desire to purchase materialistic objects and increase materialism. Luxury products are associated with certain personal, social and cultural values. These values are communicated and disseminated by mass media, especially, advertising. The images and the symbols shown in the advertisement of luxury brands affect how individuals define luxury and how consumers spend their disposable income Mortelmans (2005).
Wattanasuwan (2005), Amaldoss and Jain (2005) and Goldman (1999) studied the function of luxury brands and concluded that luxury brands satisfy not only the utilitarian needs of the consumers but also the hedonic needs of the consumers. Luxury brands are a source of social and economic status. The product is an indicator of wealth and status. The primary motive to consumer these products are to impress others. Chaudhari and Majumdar (2006) promoted ostentation as a motivation to purchase luxury brands. They concluded that consumers feel that luxury brands indicates wealth and therefore power and status, this motivates the individuals to purchase the luxury product which will help them to impress others. Dubois and Duquesne (1993) also mentioned this by stating that “wish to seek status and recognition, whether to impress others or to impress oneself”. Paurav Shukla (2010) opined that status consumption comprised of high- end expensive luxury products. They are not consumed regularly rather they are consumed occasionally on social events of importance. These goods satisfy material needs as well as social needs. Through consumption of these goods consumers try to impress and gain among his/her colleagues, superiors, social connections and possibly future spouse. Eng and Bogaert (2010) studied the attitude towards luxury consumption and found that luxury consumption is used to exhibit wealth and carry symbolic meaning. The luxury brands are used to communicate one’s social position. And thus it fulfills the hedonic needs. O’Cass & Frost, (2004) concluded that purchasing luxury products not only give the individual the satisfaction of possessing the thing rather it also gives a psychological benefits of prestige and a sense of belonging to an elite group.
The extensive literature review helped us to develop the objectives of the study. More specifically the objectives of the study are as following:
To examine the impact of gender on Luxury brand consumption and social comparison.
To examine the impact of income on Luxury brand consumption and social comparison.
To examine the impact of age on Luxury brand consumption and social comparison.
To examine the role of Media on social comparison.
To study the relationship between Ostentation and Luxury brand consumption.
On the basis of the objectives of the study we have formulated the following hypothesis.
H1: Gender has a significant influence on the Luxury Brand Consumption and Social comparison.
H2: Income has a significant influence on the Luxury Brand Consumption and Social comparison.
H3: Age has a significant influence on the Luxury Brand Consumption and Social comparison.
H4: Media has a significant influence on the social comparison.
H5: Ostentation has a significant influence on the Luxury Brand comparison.
Design of the questionnaire is based on review of literature. The scaled items to develop the construct have been borrowed from INCOM Scale (Gibbons and Bunk, 1999). The questionnaire in this study is divided into two parts. First part of the questionnaire is designed to get the data about the personal profile of the respondent and the second part of the questionnaire had 20 statements covering the variables of the study. Each statement was presented on a five point likert scale question where 1 stands for the strongly disagree and 5 stands for the strongly agree.
Pretesting of the questionnaire has been done before it is finally administered to the respondents. Construct clarity, wording and language have been the main focus for the pretesting of the questionnaire. Pretesting of the questionnaire has been completed in two rounds. In the first round the opinion of the prominent academicians and practitioners has been taken and their suggestions have been incorporated in the questionnaire. In the 2nd round of pre-testing the questionnaire was administered to the 20 sampled respondents and their feedback was incorporated in the questionnaire. A forwarding letter duly signed by the researchers was send with the questionnaire giving the respondent an idea of research being conducted and requesting the respondents to give full cooperation in filling the questionnaires.
The primary data has been collected by administering the questionnaire to the respondents which were selected conveniently. The sample has been selected from Delhi and Ghaziabad. The study has used both online and offline mediums to collect the data. For the offline medium, the questionnaire has been administered to the respondents in the malls where luxury brand are having their outlets. For the online medium the questionnaire has been mailed to those respondents to whom the researchers know that they use the luxury brands. This paper reports the results of a study of luxury brand consumption and social comparison.
The sample population has slightly more males (52%) than females (48%). In terms of age youth (21 -29) dominates the sample constituting 35% of the total sample population followed by the age group (30 – 39) with the percentage of 23%. For education Majority of the sample are graduates, post graduates and Ph.D.’s. For the occupation majority of the representation in the sample is coming from private employees and students. Almost 61% of the sampled respondents have annual household income 8 Lakh and above.
Demographic Profiling of the Sample Characteristics Summary (N = 378)
20 or below
60 or older
Annual Household Income
Below 4 Lakhs
4 lakhs – 8 Lakhs
8 lakhs and Above
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:
Related ServicesView all
DMCA / Removal Request
If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: