Author: Yoelao, Woraprat
Title: Capturing Chinese middle class in the context of luxury consumption : a comparison between personal luxury goods and luxury hotel services
Advisors: Hung, Kam (SHTM)
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2021
Subject: Consumers -- China -- Attitudes
Consumer behavior -- China
Consumers' preferences -- China
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: x, 170 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Fueled by the rising demand, luxury spending has steadily increased in recent years. This boom has resulted in a change in luxury branding. Luxury today is available to all, and it is no longer restricted only to the very wealthy. Furthermore, it is not perceived anymore as a matter of materialism in which people wish to be seen consuming expensive goods. Instead, it has evolved to encompass enrichment through luxury experiences. Its exclusivity has ceased, thus presenting a new challenge for brands, as the customer base has grown to include the middle classes who are gaining material wealth around the world, notably in developing economies. The demand for luxury is rising, as these middle class groups have changed their spending patterns. This shift represents a significant and profitable opportunity for luxury brands. One important example is the Chinese economy, where the middle class has been growing since the economic recovery of 2017. Therefore, Chinese middle-class consumers are likely to become increasingly important consumers of luxury goods and also hotel services in the form of luxury hospitality. As China has developed both economically and socially over the past decade, an increasing level of diversity has been observed among the modern Chinese consumer base. Therefore, marketers must gain a better understanding of the varied backgrounds, tastes, and wants of consumers, and learn how these consumers perceive luxury values today. However, the extent of research into the preferences of Chinese middle-class consumers with regard to luxury goods and hospitality services remains rather limited. Accordingly, the current study seeks to address this gap by examining the psychological factors influencing consumer perceptions and determining the behavioral intentions of the Chinese middle class in the context of luxury goods and hotel services. The author believe that this research will be the first to provide the empirical testing of a framework for luxury values, which examines persona luxury goods and hotels. The study also addresses the links between independent and interdependent consumer self-concepts and the influence upon behavioral intentions.
The study applies a quantitative method in the collection and analysis of data, making use of descriptive statistics along with confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. The sample used for the main study comprises 839 participants from four Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing. The annual earnings of the respondents range from 60,000 to 500,000 CNY. All participants are required to have made luxury goods (fashion) purchases and stayed at a luxury hotel within the past year. The results broadly indicate that the interdependent self-concept of the consumer underpins the dimensions of luxury values. In the field of luxury goods (fashion), the strongest value is the financial value, followed by the hedonic value and the functional value, while the weakest is the symbolic value. In the luxury hotel market, the financial value is once again the strongest, followed by the hedonic value and the symbolic value, while the functional value is the weakest. In the context of independent self-concept, the functional value is the strongest in terms of luxury goods (fashion), followed by the financial value and the symbolic value. The weakest is the hedonic value. For luxury hotels, the functional value is also the strongest, followed by the financial value and the hedonic value. Meanwhile, the symbolic value is the least important. When considering behavioral intention in the fields of luxury goods (fashion) and hotels, the hedonic value drives fashion consumers, with minimal influence from the financial value. For hotels, the financial value is the most important aspect, whereas the functional value has the least influence. Thus, the psychological constructs investigated can be used to support the design of marketing strategies for luxury goods and hospitality services. Within the fashion and hotel industries, the findings from this study may serve as useful guidelines to inform practitioners. The luxury value framework can be used to explain the purchasing behaviors of consumers in each particular field. The information can be used in the creation of marketing approaches that exploit the knowledge of consumer behavior both to sell existing products and to design new products and services that will have a stronger appeal to customers. The luxury fashion and hotel sectors are growing rapidly. Hence, marketers need to understand how and why consumers make their purchases in terms of self-concept and how consumer perceptions of luxury value affect those decisions and preferences. One critical consideration is that tangible and intangible goods and services must be considered differently, as the consumer perceptions that drive purchasing intentions will differ between these categories. Therefore, this work and its specific focus on personal luxury goods and luxury hotels can make valuable contributions to the literature.
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Access: restricted access

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