Personal luxury values associated with fashion brand consumption: An exploratory analysis of demographic variations in the United States

Hye-Young Kim, Jeong Ju Yoo, Dooyoung Choi, Jieun Kim, Kim K.P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Researchers have focused on the explanation that consumers buy luxury brands ‘to impress others’ (Tsai, 2005; O’Cass & Frost, 2002; Wiedmann, Hennigs, & Siebels, 2009). Marketers have designed branding strategies that reflect the idea that consumer purchasing is affected by an internal drive to create a favorable social image (Tsai, 2005). However, researchers exploring customer perceptions of and motives for purchasing luxury brands have suggested that socially-oriented motives are insufficient explanations for luxury brand consumption (Wiedmann et al., 2009). These researchers stress that person-ally-oriented motives have been overlooked in the marketing management of luxury brands. Additionally, empirical research focusing on personal motives is comparatively scarce (Tsai, 2005; Wiedmann et al., 2009). Our study attempted to address this research void by identifying personal luxury values U.S. consumers’ associated with their fashion brand consumption. Specific research questions examined were: RQ1: What demographic characteristics are related to personal luxury values? RQ2: What personal luxury values are related to consumers’ intentions to purchase luxury fashion brands? A range of motivators can underlie luxury brand consumption. First, some consumers may seek self-directed pleasure from consuming luxury brands and thus their purchase objective has little to do with pleasing peers or social groups (Tsai, 2005). These consumers often buy luxury brands to experience bliss or contentment. Second, self-gift giving could be an important motive that underlies luxury brand consumption. O’Cass and Frost (2002) found that some consumers purchase luxury products as gifts for themselves. Third, a consumer’s self-concept could affect luxury brand consumption. Recently, Wiedmann et al. (2009) confirmed that consumers’ perceived congruity of a luxury brand with their self-image or intended self-image is an important variable for segmenting luxury consumers. Building on this fact, consumers may use luxury brands to integrate symbolic meaning into their own identities or they may use the brands to support and develop those identities (e.g., self-completion). Finally, Wiedmann et al. (2009) found that some consumers engaged in luxury brand consumption as a form of self-actualization or life-enrichment. Data were collected using a web survey tool with the help of a marketing research company. Participants were US consumers (n=316) who had purchased a luxury fashion brand in the past three years. Factor analysis with varimax rotation was conducted on 14 personal luxury value items. Items with factor loadings greater than.60 were retained. Two cross-loaded items were dropped resulting in four factors that accounted for 71.1% of the total variance. Item loadings ranged from.64 to.90. Each of the factors had an eigenvalue greater than one. Factor 1 was labeled life enrichment (α=.81) and included four items (e.g., Self-actualization is an important motivator for my luxury fashion brand consumption.). Factor 2 was labeled self-gifting (α=.80) and included three items (e.g., Reward for hard work or that I feel I have earned or am entitled to is an important motivator for my luxury fashion brand consumption.). Factor 3 was labeled self-identity (α=.73) and included three items (e.g., I never buy a luxury fashion brand inconsistent with the characteristics with which I describe myself.). Factor 4 was labeled self-directed pleasure (α=.74) and included two items (e.g., I can enjoy luxury fashion brands entirely on my own terms no matter what others may feel about them.). To answer RQ1, multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was employed using income as a covariate. Age (Multivariate F=7.75, p<.001) had the most significant relationship to self-gift giving and life enrichment luxury values. Education (Multivariate F=3.07, p<.05) had a significant relationship with self-identity. Further univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) on age indicated that younger respondents (18-30 years old) showed higher levels of self-gifting (F=25.08, p<.001) and life enrichment (F=18.40, p<.001) values than older consumers (51 or older). ANCOVA analysis on education also revealed that those with a four-year college degree or higher had a higher level of the self-identity value than who did not have a four-year college degree (F=4.69, pp<.05). No main effects were found for gender. However, an interaction effect between gender and education (F=2.76, p<.05) was found for the self-identity value (F=4.29, p<.05). Male respondents with a four-year college degree had a higher level of the self-identity value than females and males who did not have a four-year college degree and females who had at least a four year college degree. No other significant interaction effects were found. Regarding RQ2, the results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that the following three personal luxury values were significantly related to respondents’ intention to purchase luxury fashion brands: self-directed pleasure (β=.25, p<.001), self-gifting (β=.20, p<.001), and self-identity (β=.11, p<.05). By understanding what personal luxury values are sought by American consumers, global luxury fashion marketers could be in a better position: (a) to formulate and implement effective advertising, publicity, special events and personal selling strategies as well as mechanisms of consumer relationship management, and (b) execute marketing programs and activities to build brand images that appeal to and motivate American consumers to purchase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Global Fashion Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 KAMS. All rights reserved.


  • American consumers
  • Demographic variables
  • Fashion marketing
  • Luxury brands
  • Personal luxury values


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