Cultural Influences on Luxury Consumption: A Study of East vs. West

Luxury

Luxury Consumption Behavior in East vs. West

Western and Eastern societies have different cultural values that impact consumer behavior and attitude toward luxury patterns. Wong and Ahuvia (1998) researched Southeast Asian and Western societies’ behavior toward luxury consumption and determined that Southeast Asian consumers would focus more on their financial resources (both explicit and public), such as designer-branded items, expensive automobiles, precious jewels, etc., while Western customers tend to focus on the private meanings of their possessions. They contend that while Southeast Asian consumers make purchases in compliance with the views and/or behaviors of others (social conformism), demonstrable materialism (which is typical of a materially focused, family-oriented, and hierarchical culture) can or cannot represent internal personal preferences.

Cultural Attitudes towards Luxury Consumption Behavior

The tendency for interpersonal influences and “concern about others’ opinions” are the key driving forces for status luxury buying among Arabian consumers, regardless of their financial situation or social standing. According to De Barnier, Rodina, and Valette-Florence (2006), the five factors most relevant to customers’ perceptions of luxury in the United Kingdom, France, and Russia are visual appeal, high-quality, past experiences with items, price, and self-pleasure. 

Consumers in the analyzed nations adopt the same hedonic perspective towards luxury products and services, finding delight in their appearance, inherent value, and unique past. These societies often see self-pleasure as a new facet of luxury. However, differences in culture, society, and economic status have led to certain differentiating characteristics: for the French, ambition, and product conspicuousness; for the British, functionality and luxurious ambiance; for the Russians, practicality.

The Impact of Cultural Values on Luxury Consumption Behavior 

Individualism vs. Collectivism

Individualist cultures try to be different and separate from the crowd. They often concentrate on the most recent fashions, which makes rapid and inexpensive clothing appealing in these countries. Individualists are less brand loyal and more inclined to shop in-person and online because they spend more time looking for the greatest deals based on price rather than quality. 

Additionally, people are more likely to return goods that don’t meet their expectations, particularly from unfamiliar businesses. Individualists seldom consider clothing in the long term. Therefore quality is sometimes overlooked in the pursuit of affordable fashion. They shop more often than in collectivist cultures, buy more on impulse, and search for products that will make them stand out from the crowd while adhering to fashion trends to keep up with the latest popular trends.  

Collectivist people tend to follow other people. They are ready to spend more money on a higher-quality product that will last a long time because they value quality above lower pricing. They shop for themselves and their family, often purchasing various products from several sections in the same reputable retailer. Shopping excursions and impulsive purchases are less prevalent among them since they value excellent items and have long-term perspectives. 

Collectivist society members are brand loyal and seldom purchase internet since they want to touch and feel items before purchasing. Returns are also less common since they examine more carefully for quality and tend to stick with well-known brands. Returns are often done for changing sizes rather than to return goods entirely. In comparison to individualist cultures, expectations for quality are substantially greater.

Power Distance

The outcomes of buying status conviction (belief in the advantages of purchasing status brands to improve one’s social position) revealed that the status need only operates when consumers perceive the advantages of purchasing status brands for the sake of advancement in society; the moderating effect of self-worth revealed that the power-distance conviction would only influence people’s choices on status brands when they perceive a need to elevate their social status due to their relatively low social standing.

Short-term and Long-term Orientation

This aspect focuses on how certain societies handle the demands of the present while embracing the problems and challenges of the future. Normative cultures that fall short in this area tend to uphold tradition, while realistic societies promote saving and innovation. On the other hand, short-term societies valued the steadiness of the moment and embraced it. The past, its culture, and its traditions are crucial. Long-term-minded clients are more likely to be cost-conscious and to base their selections primarily on pricing. They are thus less prone to indulge in hedonistic luxury items. Long-term orientation, on the other hand, emphasizes hierarchical connections like social class and perceived status more.

As a result, those with a long-term perspective may see luxury goods as an investment to preserve their social standing. Conversely, those with a short-term orientation place less emphasis on pricing when making purchase judgments, are more interested in conspicuous consumption and market trends, and have worse saving and investing practices (De Mooij & Hofstede, 2011). Then they could indulge in expensive purchases.

References

  1. De Mooij, M. & Hofstede, G. (2011). Cross-Cultural Consumer Behavior: A Review of Research Findings. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 23(3),181-192.
  2. deBarnier, V., Rodina, I., & Valette-Florence, P. (2006). Which
  3. deBarnier, V., Rodina, I., & Valette-Florence, P. (2006). Which
  4. deBarnier, V., Rodina, I., & Valette-Florence, P. (2006). Which luxury perceptions affect most consumer purchase behavior? A cross-cultural explanatory study in France, the United Kingdom and Russia. Working paper, University Pierre Mendes, Grenoble, France. DOI:10.1080/08961530.2011.578057 
  5. deBarnier, V., Rodina, I., & Valette-Florence, P. (2006). Which luxury perceptions affect most consumer purchase behavior? A cross-cultural explanatory study in France, the United Kingdom and Russia. Working paper, University Pierre Mendes, Grenoble, France. DOI:10.1080/08961530.2011.578057
  6. Wong, N., & Ahuvia, A. Ch. (1998). Personal taste and family face: Luxury consumption in Confucian and Western societies. ResearchGate, 15(5), 423 – 441. DOI:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6793(199808)15:5<423::AID-MAR2>3.0.CO;2-9.
  7. deBarnier, V., Rodina, I., & Valette-Florence, P. (2006). Which luxury perceptions affect most consumer purchase behavior? A cross-cultural explanatory study in France, the United Kingdom and Russia. Working paper, University Pierre Mendes, Grenoble, France. DOI:10.1080/08961530.2011.578057
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