Year

2013

Degree Name

Master of Marketing - Research

Department

School of Management and Marketing

Abstract

Purpose – Consumer demand for Counterfeit Luxury-Branded Products (CLBP) has grown rapidly over the last decades. The increased volume of counterfeits makes investigating the counterfeiting phenomenon evermore significant. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine consumer motives for purchasing and using CLBP as well as consumer responses to counterfeits and genuine luxury brands. In particular, this study examines i) whether Consumer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) dimensions, Price Consciousness and Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) factors motivate consumption of CLBP, ii) whether CLBP ownership generates loyalty to counterfeit products, and iii) whether CLBP ownership influences the CBBE of genuine luxury brands.

Design/methodology/approach – This study surveys a sample of 244 students. The participants complete a pen-and-paper questionnaire that is designed by adapting established scales to the current research context. The survey is conducted in approved classes at the University of Wollongong (UOW). The collected survey data are manually entered into SPSS version 19. The research hypotheses are tested using multiple regression analysis and one-way ANOVA.

Findings – In relation to motives for CLBP consumption, three of the seven independent variables are significantly related to CLBP consumption: brand awareness/association of genuine luxury brands, attitudes toward CLBP, and perceived behavioural control. The results also indicate that CLBP owners demonstrate the four key characteristics of loyalty to CLBP. That is, compared to non-owners, CLBP owners display more favourable attitudes toward CLBP, stronger intentions to consume CLBP, a willingness to pay higher prices for CLBP, and a higher overall possession of CLBP. Regarding consumer perceptions of genuine luxury brands, the results indicate there is no significant difference between CLBP owners and non-owners.

Research limitations – The recruitment of university students from one geographical area was justifiable for this investigation. However, the sample selection may limit the extent to which the results can be generalised to other populations. Furthermore, this study focused on the effects of Aaker’s (1991) and Keller’s (1993) CBBE dimensions on counterfeit consumption. Some researchers may view the focus on those brand dimensions as a limitation.

Implications – The results of the study hold important implications for marketing theory and practice. For theory, the results demonstrate that the TPB issues (i.e. attitudes toward counterfeits, perceived behavioural control) and brand issues (i.e. brand awareness/association of genuine luxury brands) are critical to understanding consumer motives for counterfeit consumption. Also, the effects of CLBP ownership on consumers’ future consumption of CLBP can be understood from a consumer loyalty perspective. Furthermore, the research indicates that counterfeits may not harm perceptions of genuine luxury brands. For marketing practice, the research helps brand owners and policy makers to better understand consumer motives for CLBP consumption. The results may help to inform anti-counterfeiting strategies. However, given that CLBP consumption does not appear to harm perceptions of genuine brands, brand owners need only deter CLBP consumption for ethical or legal reasons.

Originality/value – This study is one of only a few studies which investigate CLBP consumption from a brand aspect. Insights into whether CLBP ownership generates consumer loyalty to counterfeits, and whether CLBP ownership alters consumer perceptions of genuine luxury brands, provide a strong knowledge base for further understanding the effects of counterfeit consumption from consumer and business perspectives.

Comments

This is a preprint of an article that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Brand Management. The citation fo the forthcoming article is: Frances, J.E., Burgess, L. and Lu, M., Hip to be cool: A Gen Y view of counterfeit luxury products, forthcoming.

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