Consumer Types versus Stereotypes: Exploring Social Tensions in the Luxury Market of South Africa
This paper investigates the behavior and perceptions of luxury consumers in a situation where groups are competing to own status symbols. It uses the South African luxury market as the context to demonstrate how established elites attempt to prevent status deprivation by inhibiting the misappropriation of their status symbol. In South Africa, the legacies and redresses of apartheid have led to a racial divide between the established elite (the whites) and the emerging elite (the previously disadvantaged blacks). Affirmative action policies have lead to socioeconomic shifts, resulting in contestations for status. Using a mix method of survey and cluster analysis, media analysis, interviews and observations, results are triangulated to capture the shifting luxury consumer landscape in South Africa. Four distinct clusters of consumers are distinguished, and their experiences with, and motivations for, luxury consumption explored. Findings indicate that the “competition” to “own” the luxury status symbol has given rise to stereotypes that debase the black luxury consumer. Consequently, the stereotype-threat influences the behavior of black consumers. These dynamics raise market segmentation and promotional mix issues.
|Year of publication:||
Saïd Business School WP 2015-9
|Type of publication:||Book / Working Paper|
Steinfield, Laurel (2015) Consumer Types versus Stereotypes: Exploring Social Tensions in the Luxury Market of South Africa. Saïd Business School WP 2015-9.
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