Location drives reasoning for luxury purchases: Study

(PhotoNAN/shutterstock.com)

(PhotoNAN/shutterstock.com)

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, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

What motivates us to splurge on a luxury item? University of Delaware researchers looked at nine different countries to find the answer and found that why you buy depends on where you live.

American consumers tend to buy expensive items for hedonistic purposes, or to feel good about themselves rather than to please others, says head researcher Jaehee Jung. To reach those conclusions, the team surveyed university students about their motives, finding that many responded positively to statements such as "pleasure is all that matters." Quality of luxury items wasn't as much of a concern.

Perhaps under the influence of American consumerism, Brazilian and Indian students perceived luxury in the same way.

Germans, however, are more focused on function, placing emphasis on quality standards over prestige, as do Italians, Hungarians, and Slovakians.

However, French students said that they value luxury items because of the expense and exclusivity. French subjects responded positively to statements such as "true luxury products cannot be mass produced" and "few people own a true luxury product."

"Many luxury goods originate in France," Jung adds. "Cultural heritage and pride might have made them feel luxury is not for everyone."

The findings appear in the journal Psychology & Marketing. Access: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mar.20583/abstract


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