The Second-Hand Experience of Luxury Brands: A phenomenological study of consumers experience of second-hand bought luxury brands

Linette Fibiger Schamaitat

Student thesis: Master thesis


The brand experience has for many years been recognized as an important part of marketing practice, theory and study. This together with the growth of the second-hand (SH) market, the emergence of expensive SH boutiques and internet auctions specialized in SH luxury were the driving force of this thesis. It was found that the luxury brand experience in a SH market context has been left untouched by academic literature and the purpose of this thesis is therefore to shed light on this topic by investigating how luxury brands are experienced by SH consumers. Specific emphasis is put on the type of consumer-brand relationships and values experienced and their connection to each other. From an interpretivist’s worldview the SH consumer experiences are investigated through a preliminary explorative phenomenological study, conducting six semi-structured in-depth interviews about the consumers’ experiences purchasing and consuming SH bought luxury brands. The analysis revealed that the relationships and values experienced can be divided according to Fournier’s typologies of consumer-brand relationship forms, and by Smith and Colgate’s customer value creation framework. Eight different relationship forms were experienced by the participants of this study. These relationship forms differ widely and provide consumers with different benefits. Furthermore, strong relationships are predominantly engaged with brands closely related to participants’ personality (i.e. high affiliation brands), suggesting that consumer-brand identity fit affects the relationship strength. Weaker relationships uncovered tended to be mostly engaged with brands the participants considered it less important to them. It was also found that many different values covering all of Smith and Colgate’s four categories, and thirteen out of sixteen sub-dimensions, were experienced by the SH consumers of this study. Already existing value aspects have been detected, and new ones have been added to Smith and Colgate’s customer value creation framework. Brands considered closely related to consumers’ personality educe a great amount and variety of value, whereas the less intense and involved relationships tend to generate fewer values. The findings suggests that knowledge about SH market consumer-luxury-brand experiences can be an attributing factor to the growth and strengthening of a company brands heritage and value. It can also add new insight and knowledge to contemporary luxury brand theory and research.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages258