Understanding the Consumption of Affordable Luxury: An Analysis of Consumption Motives for Fashion Products

Alexander Dahl Torrence

Student thesis: Master thesis


For many years, research related to the concept of luxury has focused on the conspicuous motivations for consuming luxury products. This is however no longer the case. In recent years, a new type of luxury product has taken the market by storm. The astounding success of the affordable luxury product category has lead to a development where the traditional conceptualization of luxury is in the midst of being redefined, and this has created a need to reexamine and reevaluate some core assumption related to luxury research and - marketing. The redefinition of luxury is the result of an interdependent relationship between macro- and micro-level sociocultural dynamics. In the post-modern reality of today, the macro-level vertical configuration of a class-based social hierarchy has been replaced by a horizontally configured constellation of sociocultural groups, which influence individual cognition and perception at the micro-level. In this way, consumers of affordable luxury products represent a distinct segment with distinct cognitive dispositions affecting how they perceive luxury, and what they desire to accomplish by consuming luxury products. A survey-based quantitative analysis of the cognitive dispositions of consumers who prefer affordable luxury and consumers who prefer traditional luxury revealed, that consumers of affordable luxury are more motivated by hedonism and subjective image-congruency than consumers of traditional luxury. Consumers of affordable luxury were also found to be less concerned with monitoring and controlling their display of identity than consumers of traditional luxury. This uncoupling of conspicuousness from luxury has certain consequences for brand managers in the affordable luxury category. Instead of focusing on the symbolic and externally directed dimensions related to luxury consumption, brand managers of affordable luxury brands should focus on promoting the experiential aspects of their brand. This implies a focus on ensuring that the identity of their brand is in sync with the self-concept of their core consumers.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages86