An explorative study of luxury consumption in Korea



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Both the advertising industry and academia have been paying more and more attention to the growth and potential of the luxury market. In East Asian countries, the market’s annual growth rate for 2006 was nearly 18%, nearly doubling the global growth rate for 2005. Despite the increasing popularity of luxury brands in East Asian countries, there is a dearth of empirical knowledge regarding East Asians’ consumption motives. By surveying a sample of 200 consumers from South Korea, an exemplar of East Asian luxury consumers, the current study provides a general understanding of such motives. The findings suggest that Korean consumers have five primary social and psychological motives for the consumption of luxury brands: social ostentation, aesthetic appearance seeking, personal hedonism seeking, practicality seeking, and difference seeking. This study also offers findings related to the relationship between demographic characteristics (for Korean consumers) and luxury consumption behavior. The study achieves two things: First, it is a contribution to the body of literature on luxury consumption; second, it provides managerial implications for global marketers and brand managers who want to construct targeted and customized strategies for East Asian consumers to enhance their purchase intention toward luxury brands.