Researchers define luxury consumption as the consumers behaviour of seeking to buy brands and services for the status they bestow, regardless of consumers objective income or social class. luxury consumption broadly involves high-end high-priced luxury products. Most people do not consume these products regularly. Many consumers use such brands to fulfil material needs but also the social needs.
To observe the similarities and divergences pertaining to luxury consumption, I carried out a research study focusing on the luxury consumption patterns among the Indian and British consumers. The nations were chosen for their historic association, brand affiliation with luxury consumption and commonalities of brands available.
The research study focused on 3 fundamental antecedents of status consumption: (a) socio-psychological antecedents; (b) brand antecedents and (c) situational antecedents. The socio-psychological roots were further separated into three divergent categories namely: (a1) social gains; (a2) esteem indication and (a3) ostentation. The brand roots were also branched into 2 categories namely: (b1) management controlled brand features and (b2) market controlled brand features.
The results of the study suggest that British consumers used status consumption to achieve social gains, indicate esteem and ostentation behavior. However, in the Indian context consumers engaged in luxury consumption with generally ostentation. This proves the deviations between Western and Eastern consumers and the influence of culture and markets. The British Individualistic consumers focus on their actual self-concept (how one sees oneself) and the Indian consumers focus on others self-concept (how others see oneself).
With regard to Brand antecedents, it was observed that both, management controlled and market controlled brand characteristics have a noteworthy influence on status consumption. However, British consumers were importantly affected by brand antecedents than the Indian consumers. This can be ascribed to the nature of national competition. The UK is a highly developed and mature luxury market place wherein the people have been exposed to the status brands for longer in comparison to India. The longer exposure and higher accessibility to global brands as well as the higher rivalry among manufacturers makes the consumer in the UK increasingly conscious of the brands and their symbolic ties.
The results also suggest that luxury consumption among Indian consumers is extremely conditional on social occasions. The result demonstrates the sizeable differences among collectivist and individualistic consumers and their status consumption practices. Earlier explorations has highlighted that spending money on luxury consumption in celebrations and occasions of importance contributes many perceptible and intangible payoffs in the Indian marketplace include magnified social status for the consumers. Hence, in a collectivist market like India, consuming ostentatious products at particular social functions can raise an individuals intra-group and inter-group social identity and general presence.
The findings will assist managers in marketing their luxury brands cross-nationally.