Purchase Intention toward Luxury Brands among Young Adult Consumers from Social Comparison Perspective

Hyo Jin Eom, Yoo-Kyoung Seock, Patricia Hunt-Hurst


To unveil the underlying processes that influence purchase intention toward luxury brands, the domain of interest in the current study pertains to consumers’ social comparisons among young adult consumers. Drawn from the social comparison theory, this study investigated whether or not the social comparisons have impacts on brand consciousness and purchase intention toward luxury fashion brands. Using 268 college-aged consumer samples, the conceptual model was tested with structural equation modeling. The overall finding is that the young female adult consumers’ brand consciousness has a significant relationship with comparison to different references, indicating that they tend to conform with the views of significant others when consuming luxury brands. The results are discussed in the light of the implications for luxury brands and the current analysis of young adult consumers’ consumption behavior toward luxury brands as it pertains to consumer psychology would give further insights for luxury brand managers and communicators.

Full Text:




Anido Freire, N. (2014). When luxury advertising adds the identitary values of luxury: A semiotic analysis. Journal of Business Research, 67, 2666-2675.

Badaoui, K., Lebrun, A. M., & Bouchet, P. (2012). Clothing style, music, and media influences on adolescents’ brand consumption behavior. Psychology & Marketing, 29, 568-582.

Batra, R., Homer, P. M., & Kahle, L. R. (2001). Values, susceptibility to normative influence, and attribute importance weights: A nomological analysis. Journal of consumer psychology, 11(2), 115-128.

Bearden, W. O., Netemeyer, R. G., & Teel, J. E. (1989). Measurement of consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence. Journal of consumer research, 15, 473-481.

Beaudoin, P. L. & Lachance, M. J. (2006). Determinants of Adolescents' Brand Sensitivity to Clothing. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 34(4), 312-331.

Bian, Q. & Forsythe, S. (2012). Purchase intention for luxury brands: A cross cultural comparison. Journal of Business Research, 65, 1443-1451.

Bruhn, M., Schoenmueller, V., & Schäfer, D. B. (2012). Are social media replacing traditional media in terms of brand equity creation?. Management Research Review, 35(9), 770-790.

Chen, J., & Kim, S. (2013). A Comparison of Chinese Consumers’ Intentions to Purchase Luxury Fashion Brands for Self-Use and for Gifts. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 25(1), 29-44.

Childers, T. L., & Rao, A. R. (1992). The influence of familial and peer-based reference groups on consumer decisions. Journal of consumer research, 19(2), 198-211.

Creekmore, A. M. (1980). Clothing and personal attractiveness of adolescents related to conformity, to clothing mode, peer acceptance, and leadership potential. Home Economics Research Journal, 8(3), 203-215.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1995). Human autonomy: The basis for true self-esteem. In M. H. Kemis (Ed.), Efficacy, agency, and self-esteem. New York: Plenum.

Fan, J. X., & Xiao, J. J. (1998). Consumer decision-making styles of young-adult Chinese. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 32(2), 275-294.

Festinger, L. (1954). A Theory of Social Comparison Processes. Human Relations, 7(2), 117-140.

Franks, D. D. & Marolla, J. (1976). Efficacious Action and Social Approval as Interacting Dimensions of Self-Esteem A Tentative Formulation Through Construct Validation. Sociometry, 39(4), 324-341.

Friedman, M. (1985). The changing language of a consumer society: Brand name usage in popular American novels in the postwar era. Journal of Consumer Research, 11(4), 927-938.

Hafstrom, J. L., Chae, J. S., & Chung, Y. S. (1992). Consumer Decision-Making Styles: Comparison between United States and Korean Young Consumers. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 26(1), 146-158.

Hogg, M. A., Terry, D. J., & White, K. M. (1995). A tale of two theories: A critical comparison of identity theory with social identity theory. Social psychology quarterly, 58, 255-269.

Kapferer, J. (2012). Abundant rarity: The key to luxury growth. Business Horizons, 55, 453-462.

Kasser, T. (2003). The high price of materialism. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Keillor, B. D., Parker, R. S., & Schaefer, A. (1996). Influences on adolescent brand preferences in the United States and Mexico. Journal of Advertising Research, 36(3), 47-56.

Khalifa, D., & Shukla, P. (2017). Me, my brand and I: Consumer responses to luxury brand rejection. Journal of Business Research, 81, 156-162.

Lachance, M. J., Beaudoin, P., & Robitaille, J. (2003). Adolescents’ brand sensitivity in apparel: influence of three socialization agents. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 27(1), 47-57.

Liao, J., & Wang, L. (2009). Face as a mediator of the relationship between material value and brand consciousness. Psychology & Marketing, 26, 987-1001.

Li, G., Li, G., & Kambele, Z. (2012). Luxury fashion brand consumers in China: Perceived value, fashion lifestyle, and willingness to pay. Journal of Business Research, 65, 1516-1522.

Nan, X., & Heo, K. (2007). Consumer responses to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives: Examining the role of brand-cause fit in cause-related marketing. Journal of Advertising, 36(2), 63-74.

Nueno, J. L., & Quelch, J. A. (1998). The mass marketing of luxury. Business Horizons, 41(6), 61-68.

Paradise, A. W., & Kernis, M. H. (1999). Development of the Contingent Self-Esteem Scale. Unpublished data, University of Georgia.

Patrick, H., Neighbors, C., & Knee, C. R. (2004). Appearance-related social comparisons: The role of contingent self-esteem and self-perceptions of attractiveness. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 30(4), 501-514.

Roberts, J. A., Manolis, C., & Pullig, C. (2014). Contingent self‐esteem, self‐presentational concerns, and compulsive buying. Psychology & Marketing, 31(2), 147-160.

Salesses, L., & Romain, D. (2014). The Imaginary and Social Representations Generated by Fashion Images in Women's Magazines. Papers on Social Representations, 23(2), 1-20.

Schade, M., Hegner, S., Horstmann, F., & Brinkmann, N. (2016). The impact of attitude functions on luxury brand consumption: An age-based group comparison. Journal of business research, 69(1), 314-322.

Schlosser, A. E., White, T. B., & Lloyd, S. M. (2006). Converting Web site visitors into buyers: How Web site investment increases consumer trusting beliefs and online purchase intentions. Journal of Marketing, 70(2), 133-148.

Sproles, G. B. & Kendall, E. L. (1986). A Methodology for Profiling Consumers' Decision-Marking Styles. Journal 0f Consumer Affairs, 20(2), 267-279.

Sung, Y., Choi, S. M., Ahn, H., & Song, Y. A. (2015). Dimensions of luxury brand personality: Scale development and validation. Psychology & Marketing, 32(1), 121-132.

Thomas, S.E. & Wilson, P.R. (2012). Youth Consumerism and Consumption of Status Products: A Study on the Prevalence of Social Pressure among Students of Professional Courses. IUP Journal of Business Strategy. 9(2), 44-64.

Thompson, J. K., Van den Berg, P., Roehrig, M., Guarda, A. S., & Heinberg, L. J. (2004). The sociocultural attitudes towards appearance scale-3 (SATAQ-3): Development and validation. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 35(3), 293-304.

Triandis, H. C., Bontempo, R., Villareal, M. J., Asai, M., & Lucca, N. (1988). Individualism and collectivism: Cross-cultural perspectives on self-ingroup relationships. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 54(2), 323-338.

Tsai, S. P. (2005). Impact of personal orientation on luxury-brand purchase value: An international investigation. International Journal of Market Research, 47(4), 427-452.

Tsai, W. S., Yang, Q., & Liu, Y. (2013). Young Chinese Consumers' Snob and Bandwagon Luxury Consumption Preferences. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 25(5), 290-304.

Veblen, T. (1899). The theory of the leisure class, New York: Penguin.

Wang, Y., Sun, S., & Song, Y. (2011). Chinese luxury consumers: Motivation, attitude and behavior. Journal of Promotion Management, 17(3), 345-359.

Workman, J. E., & Cho, S. (2013). Gender, fashion consumer group, need for touch and Korean apparel consumers' shopping channel preference. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 37, 522-529.

Yang, Z., & Laroche, M. (2011). Parental responsiveness and adolescent susceptibility to peer influence: A cross-cultural investigation. Journal of Business Research, 64, 979-987.

Yim, M. Y., L. Sauer, P., Williams, J., Lee, S. J., & Macrury, I. (2014). Drivers of attitudes toward luxury brands: A cross-national investigation into the roles of interpersonal influence and brand consciousness. International Marketing Review, 31(4), 363-389.

Zhang, B. & Kim, J. (2013). Luxury fashion consumption in China: Factors affecting attitude and purchase intent. Journal of Retailing & Consumer Services, 20(1), 68-79.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.