Consumer’s Attitudes and Behaviors with Regards to Luxury Fashion
The purpose of this study is to articulate consumer’s attitudes and behaviors with regards to luxury fashion. A survey was developed concerning consuming luxury fashion and influences. The findings from two correlation tests showed there was a relation between wanting to buy luxury fashion based off the need to affiliate.
With luxury companies boasting of increasingly steady profits (Forbes, 2015). It is apparent that there is no stopping, that globally there is an overconsumption of luxury fashion. However, one must think what is the underlying cause to this increased growth? How do these companies to continue to garner more customers so that the luxury market is flourishing world-wide (Forbes, 2015). The root of the cause is seemingly deep within consumer’s high need to affiliate and belong to a select group that can afford these luxuries. In order to assimilate into this wealthy social status, acquiring a variety of luxury goods to emulate an image of luxury appears to be necessary (Han, Y. J., Nunes, J. C., & Drèze, X, 2010). Luxury brands carry on an image of higher quality products and an eye-catching, distinctive, and unique aesthetic (Loureiro, S. M. C., Maximiano, M., & Panchapakesan, P, 2018). The psychology behind consumers’ overconsumption of luxury goods is derived within their false needs, need for affiliation, and need satisfaction. Such factors include their emotional response to purchasing luxury fashion and their materialistic false needs
As well as positioning themselves within an aspirational group within social class hierarchy. Luxury consumer’s exhibit a sense of elevated privilege due to their belief that donning luxury fashion will garner reverence and esteem amongst their social circle (Hudders, Liselot & Pandelaere, Mario & Vyncke, & Patrick, 2013). Recognizing the root of the cause is one step in understanding these materialistic tendencies buried within the minds millions. These elements contribute to the heighten rise of luxury fashion brands profits, presenting a positive correlation of luxury fashion consumption due to factors aforementioned (Hudders, Liselot & Pandelaere, Mario & Vyncke, & Patrick, 2013). Individuals may find themselves caught within normative social influence, compelled into copying each other for the sake of fitting in. The consumer is suspended in an endless maze in which they feel the need to pursue more and more of these luxury fashion goods in order to keep up with society’s elite aspirational group (Hudders, Liselot & Pandelaere, Mario & Vyncke, & Patrick, 2013).
The purpose of this study is to research consumer’s attitudes and behaviors with regards to luxury fashion. The study researched how the consumers’ false needs and emotional response wearing luxury fashion is related to the consumption of luxury goods.
Working Hypothesis: There is a relationship between the consumption of luxury fashion goods and consumer’s emotional response to wearing luxury fashion goods.
Null Hypothesis: There is no relationship between the consumption of luxury fashion goods and consumer’s emotional response to wearing luxury fashion goods.
Working Hypothesis: There is a relationship between the consumption of luxury fashion goods and the false needs consumers have for luxury fashion goods.
Null Hypothesis: There is no relationship between the consumption of luxury fashion goods and the false needs consumers have for luxury fashion goods.
This study was conducted from participants within our social circle such as friends and family. If random sampling was implemented that would have been more effective, as ultimately as data collected seemed to be skewed and slightly biased. Ideally if extra time was allocated to broaden data results there would be additional results.
Review of Literature
The purpose of this literature review is to research consumer attitudes and behavior with regards to consumption of luxury fashion. Research was focused on consumer shopping habits and external influences. Such as social media and social group affecting one’s habits purchasing luxury fashion goods.
Luxury Fashion Marketing
Luxury fashion marketing oftentimes strategically implement clever marketing plans in order to plant within their target market a strong desire and aspiration to acquire their products (Loureiro, S. M. C., Maximiano, M., & Panchapakesan, P, 2018). These marketing strategies are carefully choreographed oftentimes utilizing high fashion models or A-list celebrities. These marketing tactics are placed within high fashion magazines in order to elevate the showcasing of their products. The precision in which luxury marketing is done to further establish their distinction as the superior brand amongst the rest (Han, Y. J., Nunes, J. C., & Drèze, X, 2010). All in all, done to increase sales and drive business within their target market group.
Luxury Brand Image, Exclusivity, and Status Symbols
The grand allure to these luxury brands lies within their brand image. How that is done varies by each brand’s history, heritage, and vision of luxury. The joy in attaining the unattainable to the average consumer, creates a heighten sense of self-worth, and sense of style rest (Han, Y. J., Nunes, J. C., & Drèze, X, 2010). This aspiration to join the select prestige group, thus creates the want to attain more luxury goods. These factors motivates customers to enter luxury stores, and explore the world luxury brands have curated to entice shoppers to buy their product. A world where their special know-how is showcased in their exclusive products. Purchasing such luxury goods oftentimes is like wearing a status symbol. These symbols signal to on-lookers that they’ve made it in life thus and can afford to wear such brands (Han, Y. J., Nunes, J. C., & Drèze, X, 2010). The basic implications that consumers of Veblen goods carries preconceived notions. Such that luxury brand’s products are limited, of higher quality, high-priced, and so therefore majority cannot pay for such goods. This particular consumer positions themselves to a wealthy select group that can afford luxury goods (Hudders, Liselot & Pandelaere, Mario & Vyncke, Patrick, 2013).
Income and Luxury Fashion Shopping
Many associate luxury brands for only the wealthy, however there are several groups in which luxury consumers fall into. These groups are determined by ones’ excess of income and need for status. The consumer can either choose to be understated with their luxury purchases, or feel the need to be conspicuous with heavily branded luxury goods. The more flamboyant and gaudy the consumer’s fashion choices are, the more there is to signal to those within their social circle they are of the upper echelon of society (Han, Y. J., Nunes, J. C., & Drèze, X, 2010). There is an apparent correlation between strong values to be seen wearing luxury fashion brands in order to position themselves as wealthy. This is one of the many reasons why excessive consumption of luxury fashion goods is at an all-time high, so much so that luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH posted record breaking profits this year (Abad, M, 2019).
Social Media Influences
In today’s age of social media, there is an immense influence placed on consumers to buy more than ever before (Loureiro, S. M. C., Maximiano, M., & Panchapakesan, P, 2018). With online retail just at the finger-tips of consumers’, implementing online retail within social media has brought forth a whole new experience for consumers. Luxury fashion brands have curated social media platforms for consumers to read reviews on their products by other luxury fashion consumers before buying. Informational social influence affects consumers when they copy the behavior of others when in need of decision making (Loureiro, S. M. C., Maximiano, M., & Panchapakesan, P, 2018). Another element social media has brought forth is the age of the social media influencer. An influencer can have a social media platform with millions of followers from around the world viewing their curated photos If popular influencer uploads a photograph wearing a particular luxury brand’s handbag, and there’s a sudden spike in the sale of this handbag. Therefore, clearly correlates to the exposure of this handbag worn by the social media influencer.
Consumer Satisfaction in the Purchasing of Luxury Fashion
Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between consumer’s purchasing of luxury and the experience of owning the product. Good purchasing experience promotes good relationship with the brand (Loureiro, S. M. C., Maximiano, M., & Panchapakesan, P, 2018). The sense of euphoria whilst shopping for luxury fashion goods is another motive to buy more. Tying that to false needs the consumer feels when wearing luxury fashion goods, these factors are some of the many reasons consumers repeatedly purchase luxury fashion goods (Loureiro, S. M. C., Maximiano, M., & Panchapakesan, P, 2018).
Spiraling Effect into the Overconsumption of Luxury Fashion
Living within the world of excess, there are a variety of factors interworking within the consumer’s psyche. Consumer’s experiencing positive emotions whilst purchasing luxurious fashion items, deeming themselves to be of a select group by wearing such luxury status symbols, and believing that luxury fashion distinguishes them amongst their social circle (Loureiro, S. M. C., Maximiano, M., & Panchapakesan, P, 2018). Another major factor that creates more anticipation for the luxury consumer, is the hype many luxury brands create by purposefully limiting product availability (Hudders, Liselot & Pandelaere, Mario & Vyncke, Patrick, 2013). This hype creates eagerness to obtain more luxury goods steering the consumers to purchase even more.
Consumers’ buying habits is ultimately directed by a multitude of factors internal and external that guide the consumer to buy into the luxury fashion industry. With clever marketing and social media influencing only validating consumer behavior to purchase more luxury goods. There is apparently no end to the booming luxury fashion industry, with each season bringing forth new design there is no ceasing in the overconsumption of luxury fashion goods. Keeping up with the latest fashion trends fresh off the runway, consumers feel the need to buy now before losing the opportunity to own elusive luxury goods. Doing so all in hopes of being categorized within the aspirational select group that can afford such luxuries. This seemingly creates a domino-effect for consumers, snowballing into luxury fashion good collectors. These consumers replace needs with wants, increasing the demand for such Veblen goods.
The dependent variable for hypothesis one and two was consumer attitudes and behaviors towards luxury fashion goods. These factors were measured against the independent variables emotional response to luxury fashion goods and the false needs for luxury fashion. See Figure 1.
This study conducted a questionnaire to determine consumer attitudes and behaviors towards luxury fashion goods. The questionnaire was done in part using the five point Likert-type scale, using values 1= Strongly agree and 5= Strongly disagree. These results were then utilized to then assess the the respondents behaviors, attitudes, and demographics. The questionnaire consisted of 33 questions and comprised of 6 main sections. The primary hypothesis of this paper is centered on the first nine questions and third portion of this questionnaire. From Q1-Q9 and Q14-Q18 gauged consumer’s emotional response, false needs to own luxury fashion, and consumer motivations. The last section consisted of demographics therefore the Likert scale was not utilized. Respondents would select the correct category that suited them. Various questions measured age, gender, and income level. The survey also included a question with continuous answers where the respondents could reply how many hours they spend on social media applications within a day.
The questionnaire was developed using convenience sampling, which means that members within the group dispersed the survey via their social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). The sample was comprised of 237 survey recorded responses. From the responses, it was deduced that 144 of the 237 respondents are female, making female respondents the majority.
Method of Data Collection
The questionnaire was developed in September 2019 and the official survey went live in October 2019 utilizing the Qualtrics Survey Software. Researchers within the group dispersed the survey via their social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). The respondents were primarily friends and family of the researchers stemming from Northern California to Southern California. The recorded surveys were done anonymously and voluntarily. Afterwards, the results were refined in order to remove incomplete or invalid answers.
Statistical Analysis of Data
In order to utilize the survey results, two correlation tests were performed, and as well as frequency and percent testing. The correlation test was performed on both hypotheses. Due to both hypotheses testing the relationship between the dependent variable of luxury fashion goods and the independent variables emotional response and false needs.