In search of status: unpacking the triggers behind, and impacts of, status seeking behaviours across different products and countries
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:44 by Nazia Nabi
The status concerns of consumers are considered a critical issue that shapes their behaviours. Consumers strive to fulfil their need for status through acquiring and consuming specific products and/or services that display their status to others. At present,the tendency for consumers to attain status through consuming products and/or services is a global phenomenon and is continuing to grow. To this end, this thesis examines the triggers that drive consumers toward the acquisition and consumption of specific products and/or services for status purposes. Furthermore, the extents to which status impacts consumers' satisfaction with life, as well as their loyalty toward specific brands are also examined. For the thesis purpose, data were collected from the USA and Bangladesh. By examining status consumption across different countries and products, this thesis provides additional insights to the literature. The findings of this thesis also generate important implications for marketers of status products and brands and policy makers about social issues related to status consumption. To examine status consumption, three studies have been conducted. Therefore, this thesis employs the "thesis by publications" format, and consists of the three independent, but related academic papers focusing on status consumption. Paper one, "Status consumption in newly emerging countries : the influence of personality traits and the mediating role of motivation to consume conspicuously", has been published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. To uncover the underlying reasons for consuming status products in emerging countries which are experiencing economic transition, two personality traits -susceptibility to interpersonal influence and need for uniqueness - were examined. Further, the mediating role of motivation to consume conspicuously were studied to gain a deeper appreciation of consumption and to test the theoretical relationships between susceptibility to interpersonal influence, need for uniqueness and status consumption in such country context. In this regard, the conspicuous role of two product categories - automobiles as well as fashion clothing and apparel. Applying social identity and social comparison theories and drawing on data from Bangladesh, the findings provide insights about the positive influence of susceptibility to interpersonal influence and need for uniqueness on status consumption in an emerging country. Further, this study shows the extent to which motivation to consume automobiles, and fashion clothing and apparel conspicuously mediates the relationship between status consumption and susceptibility to interpersonal influence, but not need for uniqueness. Paper two, "In search for status and a satisfying life: Unpacking cultural and consumer drivers of status seeking and life satisfaction in developed and emerging countries", is under review in the European Journal of Marketing. Grounded on social comparison theory,this study examines the interplay between status consumption, life satisfaction, and cultural orientations (individualism and collectivism) in two different countries - the USA and Bangladesh. In addressing status consumption and life satisfaction, this study brings attention to creative choice counter-conformity as an important factor. Drawing on data from two countries - the USA and Bangladesh, the findings provide evidence of the positive relationship between cultural orientations, both individualism and collectivism, and status consumption across countries. The influence of individualism and collectivism were shown to be stronger in the developed country than in the emerging country. Furthermore, the findings suggest a stronger relationship between status consumption and life satisfaction in the emerging country compared to the developed country. Finally, creative choice counter conformity was found to mediate this relationship in the developed country, not in the emerging country. Paper three, "Examining the perceived brand status in relation to consumers'intrinsic/extrinsic motivations, anticipated emotions and loyalty in the context of luxury hotels", is under review in Tourism Management. This study examines the perceived status of service brands in the context of luxury hotels. Taking into consideration the significant growth of the luxury hotel industry, this paper investigates the extent to which perceived status of luxury hotel brands relates to consumers' intrinsic and extrinsic motivations,positive and negative emotions, as well as consumers' loyalty in terms of share of wallet and consideration set size. Applying self-determination theory and drawing on data from the USA, the findings show that intrinsic motivation in the form of self-consistency was positively related to the perceived status of luxury hotel brands. Additionally, it was expected that snob effect, an extrinsic motivation, negatively moderates the relationship between self-consistency and the perceived status of luxury hotel brands as consumers often select brands to enhance their social self than their personal self. Contrary to the expectation, the findings did not support the moderating role of snob effect. Further, the perceived status of luxury hotel brands was shown to be positively related to share of wallet.Additionally, consideration set size was shown to be negatively related to the perceived status of luxury hotel brands. Moreover, consumers' positive and negative anticipate demotions demonstrated a significant moderating effect on the relationship between the perceived status of luxury hotel brands and loyalty in terms of share of wallet and consideration set size. Overall, this thesis contributes to the literature by examining specific factors related to the tendency of individuals to consume for status. Using social identity theory, social comparison theory, and self-determination theory, the findings of this thesis enrich the literature and support the contention that status consumption is growing across different products and countries. On the one hand, the observed relationships of status consumption with personality traits, cultural orientations, and motivations provide marketers with the insights for managing and marketing status products and brands. On the other hand, by examining anticipated emotions, share of wallet and consideration set size in relation to the perceived brand status, the thesis demonstrates practical implications for marketing of intangible services like hotels. Moreover, this study contributes in the debate about therelationship between pursuit of status and life satisfaction.