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The Marketing of Luxury Goods: An exploratory study – three conceptual dimensions

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In this article, an approach to understanding the meaning of luxury goods is presented. The existing definitions are reviewed. The study suggests an approach to understanding luxury goods based on the concept of luxury products as symbols of personal and social identity. It is suggested that luxury goods can be differentiated from normal or 'non' luxury goods by the extent to which they exhibit a distinctive mix of three important dimensions of instrumental performance in terms of functionalism, experientialism and symbolic interactionism. It is argued that this approach, albeit exploratory, is important since it gives marketing practitioners involved in luxury goods insight into identifying relevant marketing management activities, particularly in the area of marketing communication. The study suggests that the symbols displayed by luxury products have a major influence on the choice of one product compared to another. Empirical consumer research into the three proposed dimensions is presented, by contrasting the difference between two non luxury goods items as positioned by the manufacturer and two items positioned by the manufacturer as luxury goods: fine bone-china/porcelain tableware and a prestige car. The conclusions from the study are discussed briefly in terms of the implications for the management of marketing programmes for luxury goods products.
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Keywords: COMMUNICATION; CONCEPTUAL DIMENSIONS; CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR; LUXURY; STATUS; SYMBOLS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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