Contemporary luxury brands have fully embraced social media as a quintessential channel for improving brand perceptions and developing customer relationships. However, what consumers actually do when engaging with luxury brands online has received limited attention to date. In this study, we theorize and investigate how the practices of lurking transform luxury consumption on visual social media. Specifically, we uncover four lurking practices related to luxury brand content on social media: compassing, curating, collecting, and conversing. On the one hand, these practices facilitate the de-materialization of luxury consumption by idealizing the properties of luxury brands; on the other hand, they re-materialize luxury consumption into new digital virtual actualizations. Taken together, lurking has a transformational effect on luxury consumption as evident in the ways lurkers consume intangible luxuries on visual social media. The article concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications arising from these findings.
- Digital virtual consumption
- Unconventional luxury consumption
- Visual social media