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Girding for Prestige: A Study on Conspicuous Consumption, Social Status Display and Materialism

Ulvi Cenap Topçu ()
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Ulvi Cenap Topçu: Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Graduate School of Social Sciences

International Conference on Marketing and Business Development Journal, 2017, vol. 1, issue 1, 184-191

Abstract: It is asserted in the literature that consumers' desire to display higher social status has positive influence on conspicuous consumption, along with choice of luxurious and prestigious goods. Some evidence is provided to support this understanding, nevertheless, a prevalent perspective is still lacking. Limitations in the field necessitate further studies with new approaches and methodological progression. The aim of this study is to investigate conspicuous consumption in this sense. The sample is composed of residents of two geographically close statistical regions, TRB1 and TRB2, while TRB2 is reported to have the lowest socio-economic development level in Turkey. The participants were invited by e-mails to contribute the study. In January 2017 458 participants from different institutions filled the first page including a 5-point Likert questionnaire and randomly directed to second pages with experiment design. The data was analyzed to test the hypotheses with structural equation modelling to reveal the relationships between conspicuous consumption, materialism and social status display. The results indicate significant relationships between the factors, supporting that social status seeking is positively related to conspicuous consumption, and materialism partially mediates this relationship. The quasi-experiment was designed to test whether intrasexual competition has an impact on conspicuous outfit choice. Consistent with the recent literature, only female participants demonstrated more conspicuous outfit preference, when primed by the experiment scenario in comparison to a neutral situation. Any significance was not found in the gender difference analysis of conspicuous consumption, social status display and materialism relations, while a significant difference is revealed by the quasi-experiment design towards outfit choice. The results promote that conspicuous consumption motivations can be examined further for different product types and situations.

Keywords: conspicuous consumption; outfit choice; social status display; materialism. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M31 D12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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