Hyun Suk Suh


Owing to increased number of luxury brand users, both genuine and counterfeit luxury product consumption continues to increase every year. Luxury brand is defined as use or display of a particular branded products which brings the ownership prestige apart from its functional utility(Grossmand and Shapiro 1988). Some luxury brands have imitations sold in marketplace due to their popularity. These imitations or counterfeits have been jumping on the bandwagon of the upturn in sales of their originals. The purpose of our study is to understand consumer`s underlying motives to consume luxury brands, genuine and or counterfeits. To do this, we propose functional theories of attitudes, decision-making styles, and life attitudes to form the determining causes for different consumption choices of luxury brands: genuine brands, counterfeit brands, both genuine and counterfeit brands, and no consumption on luxury brands types. In proposed causal pathways, we examine moderated effects of socio-psychological factors to further investigate if consumer profiles would exert influences in causal relationships. From the existing theories of functional attitudes: value-expressive and social-adjustive attitudes, we developed and introduced a new measure of rationality-consumptive attitude. From the existing eight decision- making characteristics of consumer styles inventory(CSI), three measures of high-quality, hedonic- shopping, and price-shopping styles were primarily applied in the study along with newly introduced measure of ‘high-price’ being added, which makes four total. Seven life attitude measures of life purpose, life control, will to meaning, goal seeking, future mean to fulfill, life satisfaction, and religiosity were applied. Finally, such socio-psychological measures as age, gender, marital status, income, and age-gap between couples were assumed to function as moderators. With 430 valid study samples, ages from 20s to 50s, with more females(316) than males(114), with average personal possessions of 5 genuine and 9 counterfeit luxury brands, we conducted questionnaire survey. Results indicated that social-adjustive function is totally disappeared in the relationship due to current social trend of widespread consumptions on both genuine and counterfeit brands which in turn, make consumers feel less special on wearing or carrying them unlike in the past. Self-expressive function and rationality-consumptive functions act as strong catalysts for genuine brand consumption and counterfeit brand consumption, respectively. On consumers` decision-making styles, high-price sublation is the most powerful indicator anticipating counterfeit consumption, even more powerful than personal incomes. In life attitude, the overall model fit was not validated, and only life control and life satisfaction are proven to be significant on both genuine and counterfeit product consumptions. Employment of socio-psychological factors in the model improved understanding of users further. Young consumers tend to go for genuine products over counterfeits. Consumers in different income groups; low, medium and high, all significantly consume genuine products for reasons of different decision-making styles. The results indicated that consumers whose personal disposition is predisposed to consume products in the form of reflection of his or her personality, go only for genuine brands for quality reason, while consumers who rationally consume products for its function or usability, go only for counterfeits for high-price sublation reason. Meanwhile, both product users support for high-price orientation who are not well off.

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