Published on February 28, 2014
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Real and Perceived Luxury: Using Qualitative Research to Understand Consumers in Emerging Markets Özlem Sandıkcı Türkdoğan İstanbul Şehir University email@example.com 1
“… market heterogeneity, sociopolitical governance, chronic shortage of resources, unbranded competition, and inadequate infrastructure” render EMs “radically different from the traditional industrialized capitalist society” (Sheth 2011, 166) Theoretical Challenges firstname.lastname@example.org 2
Methodological Challenges? Just as practitioners face unexpected problems while doing business in EMs, researchers also encounter difficulties while conducting studies in these markets. email@example.com 3
Challenges researchers face in EMs can lead to theoretical discoveries and bring new insights to a marketing phenomenon firstname.lastname@example.org 4
Illustrative Case Counterfeit Luxury Fashion Consumption email@example.com 5
Counterfeits and EMs • $400-600 billion (or more) (ICC 2005, WCO 2006) • In emerging markets both luxury and counterfeit consumption is on the rise • Turkey is among the leading counterfeit producers in clothing category • Turkey is one of the largest markets for counterfeits (EU commission 2008) and on the Watch List of US Trade representative (USTR 2009) firstname.lastname@example.org 6
Academic Research Supply-side issues: o Factors that encourage production of counterfeit goods [Green and Smith 2002; Santos and Riberiro, 2006) o Strategies to combat counterfeiting [Berman 2008; Chaudry et al 2009; Stumpf and Chaudry 2010] email@example.com 7
Academic Research Demand-side issues: [Eisend & Schuchert-Guler, 2006; Staake, Thiesse & Fleische 2009] o Demographic characteristics o Attitudinal and behavioral aspects o Reasons • Financial motivation • Social motivation • Ease of access o Justifications and ethics firstname.lastname@example.org 8
Underlying Assumptions • Counterfeit consumption is mostly related to low income consumers (younger and less educated) • Counterfeits are cheap • Consumers are expected to move from counterfeit to the original email@example.com up - 9
but: Changing Fashion Landscape • haute couture • prêt a porte • fast fashion • look-alike fashion • global cultural intermediaries firstname.lastname@example.org 10
but: New Middle Classes in EMs • higher purchasing power • higher mobility • internet savvy email@example.com 11
How can we make sense of growing usage of counterfeit luxury products consumption in EMs? firstname.lastname@example.org 12
Emergent Research Design Following unexpected findings/challenges and revising research approach email@example.com 13
Phase-1 Informant selection process and home interviews • Challenges in: o Accessing informants o Building trust • In-depth interviews with 32 informants (60% females; 22-46 years old) firstname.lastname@example.org 14
Discovery-1 Brand relationships among Turkish consumers • Detailed brand/product knowledge and interest I became interested in Louis Vuitton when I was at the university. When we were abroad, I saw Graffiti bags. I really liked them and I got one. My friends like it, my mother likes it. I really feel like it is a part of me. My mother wanted to buy a Louis Vuitton for herself and use it I said 'No, this is my brand; find yourself anther one'. My best friend wanted to get one to, I prevented it. Because the bag you carry gives a message – you associate the person with that brand. So in my close circle, I want people to remember me when they see Louis Vuitton (EM18). email@example.com 15
Strong relationships and interest and commitment are typical of brand communities firstname.lastname@example.org 16
Phase-2 Netnographic approach and crossmarket comparison Netnographic study of a virtual community of Louis Vuitton lovers (predominantly American, Australian and British consumers) Follow-up interviews with Turkish informants email@example.com 17
Discovery-2 Mix users • Across age groups and gender • Traveled overseas, enjoy shopping and fashion • Purchase and use both the original and counterfeit versions of the same brand • Typically, begin with the original then add the counterfeit version • Generally, mixing is confined to one or a few select brands; does not happen across the entire spectrum of brands one uses firstname.lastname@example.org 18
Phase-3 Shopping trips Visits to Sosyete Pazarı (High Society Markets) and high-end counterfeit stores Observations and in-formal interviews Field-note (excerpt): The 4x4 m store is full of bags, all legitimate merchandise. C. took me straight to the owner, she knows him from her previous visits. She asked about LV; he reached under the counter and handed her a glossy catalogue. It was this season’s catalogue. She casually flips through the pages and points a few models to him. He nodes, walks to the storage room. In a few minutes he is back with a handful of bags that looked like the models she picked. She matterof-factly inspects two bags, without saying a word. She stroked the outer fabric and studied each buckle. She touched the in-lining, pulling it out to examine stitching, zips, tags and pockets. He pulls out a bunch of ‘well-read’ magazines, thumbs through the pages to find one with the bag she was examining. He says: “This is the bag of Victoria Beckham.” She smiles knowingly: “It looks good on her.” He then lays out other magazines with photos of both foreign and Turkish celebrities. Points to the bags and says: “These are “in” this season.” He shows one and names the celebrity he claims to have bought one yesterday. email@example.com 19
Discovery-3 Mixing in luxury fashion consumption • Drivers of mixing behavior • Practices of mixing firstname.lastname@example.org 20
My mother thinks like ‘if I have money I buy the best one, if I don’t have, I don’t but at all’. I don’t think like that. Even though I have money I buy the counterfeit. If I like I can buy something from a street seller. For me what is important is whether it looks good on you. That’s a difference in mentality, I don’t think like my mom. She thinks you have to have the best and do the best. I think you have to do what makes you happy. It gets reflected in every aspect of the life. … If I see something that I like, if its quality is good I buy the counterfeit. I don’t mind. For me, having more is more important than having one original.” (F, 26) “These men (sellers) have catalogs. I mean the catalogs of the original brands. When you like something you point at it and they bring it to you. They also have many magazines, Turkish and foreign. When you choose something they find it in a magazine and they show it to you saying this bag is used by so and so. I bought a Louis Vuitton a couple years ago. He said it’s Victoria Beckham’s bag and found her picture in one of the magazines. They are very professional, they can find you anything you want.” (F, 41) email@example.com 21
“I always go to the shops that sell originals. I buy the counterfeits of the models that I see at the original shop. I try to see if there is any difference between the fake and the original. I check its stitching, fabric, feel. I touch the fabric. I look at the colors available. Tags are important for me. If it is at a different place in the counterfeit it gives itself away. I check the prices. …. I try on the clothes and see how they look. Sometimes I go to the original shops with my friends to let them know that I shop there.” (F, 28) “… she might have five original hand bags and five fake ones. But because she uses the original nobody thinks that some of the bags are not genuine. Nobody categorizes her as a faker. She doesn’t show that and everybody treats as if she is always using the original brand. These are brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada or Yves Saint Laurent. She blends it with her overall look so smoothly. Because she always wears brand name products she knows how to craft a look. … She is well-off nobody thinks that she is wearing a fake dress.” (F, 46) firstname.lastname@example.org 22
Implications • A new consumer segment who mixes original and counterfeit • Mix users fall within the target market of the brand and tend to be loyal to the brand • Firm- versus consumer-centric understanding of counterfeit and original email@example.com 23
Qualitative research and emergent design can provide a nuanced understanding of the dynamic, unpredictable and complex environment of EMs Thank you! firstname.lastname@example.org 24
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