Hip to be cool: A Gen y view of counterfeit luxury products
Mainstream literature shows that demand for counterfeit luxury brand products is primarily driven by consumers who want the status and image of luxury brands without the price tag. However, emerging evidence suggests that the interest of some consumers may be somewhat independent of the replicated brand. To date, the literature does not necessarily offer an alternate, or complementary, theory for these anomalous results. The current study proposes that the theory of 'cool consumption' by Generation Y helps to explain atypical demand for counterfeits. The cool consumption ideals of fun, rebellion and being a bit bad appear to fit with emerging evidence that some consumers see using counterfeits as fun and a way to go against the mainstream. A survey of 251 Gen Y young adults examines whether their consumption relates more closely to counterfeit-oriented attitudes, norms and beliefs than attitudes towards the genuine brand and price considerations. The research also compares counterfeit owners and non-owners in terms of genuine brand evaluations and loyalty to counterfeits in general. Overall, the findings show that for this segment, consuming counterfeit luxury products is more about the counterfeit aspects than brands or price, and the theory of cool consumption provides a plausible explanation for the results.