Psychological and cultural insights into consumption of luxury Western brands in India

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Abstract:

India has always had wealthy elites such as the maharajas, upper class and royalty that consume luxury products throughout its consumption history. The relatively recent economic rise of the middle class with an increase in disposable income is leading to consumption of luxury en mass. This qualitative study examines why consumers buy luxury, what they believe luxury is and how their perception of luxury impacts buying behaviour in the context of India. The present study explores luxury constructs drawn from the literature and provides some explanation for luxury consumption behaviour in India. The findings reveal that psychological and cultural factors in Indian society play a major part in shaping luxury consumption. While the findings suggest little support for homogenous luxury preference, Indian consumers share cultural characteristics of lavish consumption of luxury and display of wealth in social functions. Luxury reflects conspicuous consumption and status, and signals wealth for individuals, and conveys social identity and status in Indian society.

Keywords: CULTURE-PSYCHOLOGY; INDIAN LUXURY CONSUMPTION; LUXURY PERCEPTION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/147539210X497620

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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