Luxury and the Female Consumers' Identity Project

Line Hoe Brandt Skydsgaard & Malene Raahauge Lundgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Luxury has become democratised and thereby available for a larger population. With this development, the symbolism and cultural meaning that a brand has, have become more important in the consumption of products and brands. This study highlights the relationship between luxury goods and female consumers’ identity project from a Consumer Culture Theory perspective. It examines how concepts such as the extended self, collections, multiple selves, tribes, stigma and authenticity influence the female consumers’ identity project. This study also examines what happens to female consumers’ identity when a brand or product becomes mainstream. This study uses qualitative methods such as a focus group and eight individual interviews with Danish female consumers to examine how female consumers create their identity through the consumption of luxury goods. This study shows that luxury is difficult to define, as it is very subjective how luxury is perceived. The female consumers define that luxury possesses attributes such as quality, uniqueness and it is generally seen as something above the usual. The female consumers in this study primarily use the symbolism, that luxury products and brands can provide, to signal that they are well-balanced and in control of their lives (Danish: Styr på det). The concept of being in control is considered to be their ultimate goal. When buying luxury goods, female consumers are also searching for an aspect of uniqueness. If a brand or product have become mainstream, they will avoid it, as the symbolic meaning is not aligned with their identity. It is also concluded, that the product or brand should not be too unique, as the female consumers’ fear stigmatisation and are also searching for ways to fit in among their tribes. In their identity project, the female consumers try to stay true to themselves. They are challenged by their multiple identities that do not always align. This study further concludes that the identity project of female consumers is continuously evolving.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages255
SupervisorsHanne Pico Larsen