'Louis Vuitton or Gucci?' A Study into the Internet's Role in Influencing Chinese Overseas Students' Luxury Consumption Behaviour and Identity Construction

By Liu, Jia; Wang, Roujie | Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies, Summer 2014 | Go to article overview

'Louis Vuitton or Gucci?' A Study into the Internet's Role in Influencing Chinese Overseas Students' Luxury Consumption Behaviour and Identity Construction


Liu, Jia, Wang, Roujie, Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies


INTRODUCTION

'At the core of this newfound wealth and status was the honest pursuit of better living conditions. Better living conditions meant for higher quality products and upscale brands.'

-Pierre Xiao Lu. 2011

The traditional belief is that luxury and prestige fashion goods are considered as a privilege for consumers at the top end of the wealth scale (Riley & Lacroix 2003). As explained by Nueno and Quelch (1998), the word luxury was applied to products, services, or resources, that were rare and scarce, which were only limited to a selected few. However, due to the influence of social and business factors (Silverstein and Fiske 2004), changes are taking place and the contemporary trend is that high-end products are gradually consumed on a mass level worldwide and becoming more affordable, especially for middle class consumers. Therefore, in response to the changes of the luxury goods market, the concept of luxury needs to be redefined. For example, Okonkwo (2005: 1) considered that luxury products are mostly "sensory goods because their aesthetic characteristics are best appreciated through the utilisation of the human senses of sign, touch, and feel". Alternatively, Twitchell (2003: 43) defines luxury as "things you have that you think you should not have".

Specifically, luxury consumption is deeply rooted in China's cultural and value system, and is growing in unprecedented popularity. As suggested by Lu (2011), China has recently become the world's second largest market for luxury products with an annual increase of more than 30%, even surpassing Japan. Further statistics reveal that China will eventually overtake the U.S. and become the largest upscale products market in the world. According to Understanding China 's Growing Love for Luxury (Atsmon et al. 2011), a market report conducted by McKinsey Company, three factors attributed to this phenomenon. First, along with the accumulation of China's economic wealth, symbolic representation of being affluent and having high social status is becoming more and more acceptable for the Chinese as a social norm. Secondly, the Chinese start to have a better understanding of international luxury brands largely due to the online information explosion, as well as an increasing number of Chinese' frequent overseas trips. Third, the urbanization of China is taking place in an unprecedented rate, and many foreign countries share a growing interest in tapping into China's luxury market due to its great unexplored potential.

Taking into consideration of China's growing appetite for luxury goods, several scholars, including Pierre Xiao Lu, came up with the belief that "there is a homogenous identity and behavioural patterns that come with new wealth" (2011). Lu (2011) further claims that "international luxury brands perfectly fulfil the needs of Chinese mainland consumers from all angles - cultural, social and economic - attributing for a more modem, powerful, and self-confident approach to life". Additionally, specific features regarding Chinese luxury consumers should be noticed. On the one hand, the average age of Chinese luxury consumers are the youngest worldwide. For instance, whereas only 28% of luxury consumers in Western Europe are younger than 35 years old, this percentage is as high as 45% in China (Atsmon et al. 2011). On the other hand, due to high luxury tax and limited selection in mainland China, many affluent Chinese choose to purchase upscale products abroad, which leads to an increasing possible outflow of luxury consumption in China.

Moreover, international Chinese students in the United Kingdom, as a group of young consumers with relatively affluent financial backgrounds and easy access to high-end products (Yao 2004), share the characteristics of typical Chinese luxury consumers and can be considered as one group of potential luxury consumers. Besides, whereas McKinsey's 2011 report viewed the exploding online information as a major element for causing China's luxury fever, Chinese overseas students, as China's younger generation, possess advanced online technology and actively participate in the virtual domain, using applications such as social networking sites (SNSs), online forums and online shopping (McMillan & Morrison 2006). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Louis Vuitton or Gucci?' A Study into the Internet's Role in Influencing Chinese Overseas Students' Luxury Consumption Behaviour and Identity Construction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.