Seriously, conspicuous consumption? The impact of culture, materialism and religiosity on Malaysian Generation Y consumers' purchasing of foreign brands
2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this research is to understand the importance of value orientation on conspicuous consumption in the youth market segment in Southeast Asia. In particular, the focus is to understand three different types of value orientation (specifically cultural values, material values and religious values) and its effects on conspicuous consumption behaviour. Design/methodology/approach: An integrative theoretical model is proposed based on Hofstede's cultural dimension, the materialism value scale and religious commitments to predict the relationship for the value orientations of Generation Y's (Gen Y's) conspicuous consumption behaviour. The data was collected from undergraduate students enrolled in general education courses in three universities in Malaysia. Using cross-sectional data, 262 sets of valid questionnaires were used to perform the statistical analysis for the measurement and structural model using partial least squares equation modelling (PLS-SEM) path modelling. Findings: We position our study by raising the pertinent question of "Seriously, Conspicuous Consumption?" to establish a clear understanding of whether Malaysian Gen Y individuals are conspicuous consumers and, if they are, which of the three values matter the most. In order to answer the question of whether Malaysian Gen Y engages in conspicuous consumption, we arrive at an understanding that, given multi-value orientations, conspicuous behaviour can be motivated and impacted by one value orientation and constrained by others. Hence, value orientation offers an insightful explanation of one specific type of consumer behaviour in the context of Asia as an emerging global market. Thus, our study provides two key theoretically significant findings. In general, our findings provide insights into how the multi-value orientations (i.e. cultural, material and religious orientations) contribute to several bodies of literature-namely, conspicuous consumption, international marketing and transcultural marketing. The results revealed that collectivism and materialism were positively and significantly related to conspicuous consumption. Uncertainty avoidance, although significant, had a negative relationship with conspicuous consumption. The other values (masculinity, power distance and religious values) were not significantly related to conspicuous consumption. Research limitations/implications: Purchasing luxury goods is becoming an emergent phenomenon in Asia, particularly among young consumers. This paper provides marketing managers, particularly brand owners, with practical and realisable examples of how to plan and execute their marketing plans. A more profound understanding of this relationship may also serve to aid marketing managers in devising more focused marketing strategies and thus allocate marketing resources more efficiently. Hence, marketers could develop an effective communication strategy so that the target consumers will be aware of their goods because the purchase of luxury goods is likely to be motivated by social, cultural and personal factors. Originality/value: This article examines the impact of value orientations on conspicuous consumption behaviour in Malaysian Gen Y consumers. The model proposed in this study is useful in predicting conspicuous consumption among Gen Y. By identifying the factors influencing this emergent type of consumer behaviour, global retailers will be informed about this particular market segmentation in terms of its preferences and desires. The article discusses the research findings and concludes with managerial implications and limitations.