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Alternative Channels of Luxury Consumption by the Low-Income Segment

Adekanmbi, O. (2023). Alternative Channels of Luxury Consumption by the Low-Income Segment. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Alternative luxury consumption refers to all forms of luxury access and usage that can substitute for the original luxury and this can be in the form of second-hand, rented and counterfeit luxury. For the low-income segment, the luxury concept is very fluid, hence the ease of transition between available alternative options. This segment easily transits between these three forms of alternative luxury channels to meet their self-defined goals. Therefore, while the three forms of luxury consumption may look different in practice, they share very important underlying similarities from the point of view of people from the low-income segment, who use them interchangeably to meet their personal needs and goals.

This alternative consumption behaviour presents a huge risk to the authentic luxury market as the massification of luxury through the growing alternative channels will continue to weaken the aspirational meaning of luxury. The original buyers of authentic luxury may find reasons to detach from luxury usage because it is no longer serving its exclusive value for social distinction.

Previous literature investigating alternative luxury consumption has focused on an isolated understanding of each of these alternative options to luxury consumption, thus leaving a gap of assessing individuals’ readiness to partake in any kind of alternative luxury consumption from an integrated perspective. This study fills that gap by focusing on alternative luxury consumption in its holistic and unified manner using various theories as the basis, including Ajzen’s theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 2001), the theory of goal-directed behaviours (Perugini and Bagozzi, 2001), theory of goals systems (Kruglanski et al., 2015), and the functional theory of attitudes (Kazu, 1960). It attempts to jointly understand what any of the three alternative luxury access dimensions means to low-income groups and how this understanding can be useful in determining how best to de-risk the global authentic market.

The study aimed to investigate alternative luxury consumption in the young, low income population of Nigeria. There are two parts to the study. The first part is qualitative and consisted of two focus groups from which I understood the main themes related to alternative luxury consumption from the low-income viewpoint. The second part consisted of theorizing, constructing and validating a construct, Alternative Luxury Consumption Readiness (ALCR), as a measure of an individuals’ readiness to use, promote and recommend any of the three forms of alternative luxury options. Furthermore, a theoretical model which placed ALCR as a mediator between the functions of attitude towards alternative luxury and alternative luxury consumption was tested.

Using various statistical analyses, it was determined that ALCR has great reliability and validity. In the model, four of the five attitude functions predicted ALCR, and that their relationship with alternative luxury consumption behaviour was mediated by ALCR. The utility function, which allows people from the low-income segment of a population to experiment, explore and enjoy luxury on their own terms, has the highest predictive ability of behaviour. Furthermore, ALCR was found as similar but distinct from other existing concepts in the luxury literature. Therefore, it was determined that ALCR is a reliable and valid instrument which may be used to assess alternative consumption readiness. The implications of these findings are also discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: Bayes Business School > Bayes Business School Doctoral Theses
Bayes Business School > Management
Doctoral Theses
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