Proceedings of 10th Annual London Business Research Conference

Proceedings of 10th Annual London Business Research Conference
10 - 11 August 2015, Imperial College, London, UK, ISBN: 978-1-922069-81-8
Beyond Status! Why New Luxury Customers in India Are
Buying Luxury
Varuna Newatiya* and Richa Agrawal
‘Democratisation of luxury’ has led to the entry of new luxury customers into the market. Emerging
economies like India are witnessing the growth of new luxury customers who are young, aspiring
and mostly middle class working professionals. Lucrative IT jobs, high disposable income and a
desire to live a quality life is driving these customers towards luxury. Traditional understanding of
why people buy luxury may not apply today, since luxury is no longer confined to the elite.
Therefore, the present study is an attempt to explore the reasons why new luxury customers in
India are buying luxury. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, which were transcribed. A
content analysis was done using Leximancer software which identified 6 themes (representing
reasons for purchase). These include, Celebration of success (100%), Exclusivity (76%), Gaining
confidence (62%), Aspirational (49%), Satisfy curiosity (33%) and Status symbol (32%) in the
order of their importance within the text, as per the connectivity scores (%) generated by
Leximancer. Findings reveal that luxury products are mainly bought as self-reward to celebrate
success, gain exclusivity and self-confidence. Acquisition of luxury enhances self- esteem and is
a matter of pride for some. Curiosity to explore and experience luxury also drives purchase
amongst customers new to the world of luxury. Traditionally, luxury has been bought by the elite
for conspicuous reasons i.e., to display wealth and gain social status. However, in our study
consumption to gain status emerged as the least important reason for purchase. Luxury
consumption for personal enjoyment and self-fulfilment is more prominent among the new
customers in India than a desire to impress others. A shift in the consumption of luxury is evident
from a conspicuous consumption in the past to a more personal and experiential consumption in
the present. The emerging insights from the study will help luxury brands design marketing
strategies to successfully connect with the new luxury customers.
Keywords: Consumer behaviour, Luxury brands, Asian consumers, India, Emerging
Track: Marketing
Varuna Newatiya*, Indian Institute of technology Madras, [email protected]
Dr. Richa Agrawal, Indian Institute of technology Madras, [email protected], Department of Management
Studies (DoMS), Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Guindy, Chennai, Tamilnadu – 600036, India, Ph:
044 2257 4550; +91-9884810185, *Presenting author