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The rise of inconspicuous consumption

The rise of inconspicuous consumption

Eckhardt, Giana M., Belk, Russell W. and Wilson, Jonathan A. J. (2015) The rise of inconspicuous consumption. Journal of Marketing Management, 31 (7-8). pp. 807-826. ISSN 0267-257X (Print), 1472-1376 (Online) (doi:

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Ever since Veblen and Simmel, luxury has been synonymous with conspicuous consumption. In this conceptual paper we demonstrate the rise of inconspicuous consumption via a wide-ranging synthesis of the literature. We attribute this rise to the signalling ability of traditional luxury goods being diluted, a preference for not standing out as ostentatious during times of economic hardship, and an increased desire for sophistication and subtlety in design in order to further distinguish oneself for a narrow group of peers. We decouple the constructs of luxury and conspicuousness, which allows us to reconceptualise the signalling quality of brands and the construct of luxury. This also has implications for understanding consumer behaviour practices such as counterfeiting and suggests that consumption trends in emerging markets may take a different path from the past.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by ROUTLEDGE / TAYLOR & FRANCIS in JOURNAL OF MARKETING MANAGEMENT on 13 December 2014, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: branding, luxury, inconspicuous consumption, conspicuous consumption
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Marketing, Events & Tourism
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Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 14:06

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