Shifting Generation: A Cross-generational Study of Customer-based Brand Equity in Luxury Fashion Branding

Sandra Gerhardt & Julie Marie Hermann

Student thesis: Master thesis


It has been widely debated in research to which extent generational differences influence purchase patterns. This is relevant in the luxury fashion industry where recent sales growth and profitability have been challenged by the need to adjust branding strategies to a significant shift in the customer landscape: The emergence of Generation Y as the new group of luxury consumers. Existing studies show that the two currently largest groups of luxury consumers, Generation X and Y, exhibit differences in brand value perceptions. Tailoring branding strategies to factor in these differences for effective targeting of different customer segments can be done by assessing customer-based brand equity (CBBE). Following a qualitative, single-case study design with Louis Vuitton as a focal brand, this study contributes to the existing literature by developing a CBBE model for luxury fashion brands to detect generational differences in CBBE creation. The model identifies four drivers (authenticity, brand image, brand associations, socialization), one moderator (personal values) and two outcomes of CBBE (brand awareness, customer attitudes) of CBBE. Within these parameters, the strongest differences in CBBE creation among Gen X and Gen Y were identified in customer’s perception of uniqueness and exclusivity, planning behavior, service preference, social perceptions, lifestyle, and willingness to pay. This study contributes to existing theory by justifying the need for generational cohort segmentation in luxury branding and illustrating generational influences in the creation of CBBE for luxury brands. The findings are further translated into actionable branding strategies along the 4Ps of marketing.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages397
SupervisorsStefan Markovic