Edited by Felicitas Morhart, Keith Wilcox and Sandor Czellar
Chapter 5: Fulfilling social needs through luxury consumption
This chapter builds off the idea that luxury consumption is a joint function of the magnitude and nature of consumers’ need for status. We articulate how consumers employ three distinct strategies facilitating the use of luxury goods as instruments to secure and gain social status: (1) snob (distinguishing oneself though differentiation), (2) Veblen (distinguishing oneself through conspicuous consumption), and (3) bandwagon (assimilation through imitation). We further propose that two main motives are at work across all three strategies – assimilation versus differentiation – and offer a research panorama of past effort unpacking their dynamics. Finally, we distinguish between luxury consumption with a focus on one’s position and image (focus on spending on self) and with a focus on others (focus on spending on others; gift-giving) and review how consumers build social capital through luxury gift giving before closing with suggestions for future promising research opportunities in a digital age.
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