Do product features actually add value for consumers? A laddering analysis on new luxury products

  • Elisa Villani
  • Alberto Mattiacci
Keywords: new luxury; means-end theory; consumer behavior; crystal tableware; product attributes; masstige; HVM

Abstract

Purpose of the paper: This paper aims at analyzing product perception, product preferences and purchase motives for obtaining a better understanding of consumer purchasing behavior with regard to new luxury goods. Our objective is to comprehend which attributes drive consumers to purchase new luxury products, and what are the values pushing them to their choices.

Methodology: We applied laddering interviewing, which is a technique referring to the means-end theory. By finding linkages between product attributes, user consequences, and final values, this methodology allowed for identifying how consumers perceive self-relevant consequences of new luxury products. The results of the 26 interviews are reported in the Hierarchical Value Map.

Findings: We found that people are mostly driven by values of happiness, self-image, self-fulfillment, and social recognition in crystal tableware choice. In particular, the values elicited by respondents fall into two main categories: a) values that are centered around the self (e.g., self-image); b) values connected to or dependent on third parties (e.g., give prominence to my family/guests; social recognition; high status). Those values are sought by respondents in particular attributes of crystal tableware, such as design, brightness, high quality, and brand.

Research limits: A limitation of this study is that it analyzes only one market sector.

Practical implications: By understanding better the relationship between product attributes and consumers’ choices in new luxury goods consumption, managers can improve product design and advertising campaigns.

Originality of the paper: Our analysis allows shedding lights on the means-end chain characterizing consumer behaviors for the purchase of new luxury goods, which is still an overlooked phenomenon from an empirical point of view.

References

ALB J.W., WILLIAMS E.F. (2013), “Pleasure principles: A review of research on hedonic consumption”, Journal of Consumer Psychology, vol. 23, n. 1, pp. 2-18.

BAGOZZI R.P., BERGAMI M., LEONE L. (2003), “Hierarchical representation of motives in goal setting”, Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 8, n. 5, pp. 915-943.

BELK R.W. (1975), “Situational variables and consumer behavior”, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 2, n. 3, pp. 157-164.

BELK R.W. (1988), “Possessions and the Extended Self”, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 15, n. 2, pp. 139-168.

BELK R.W., BAHN K.D., MAYER R.N. (1982), “Developmental Recognition of Consumption Symbolism”, The Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 9, n. 1, pp. 4-17.

BETTMAN J.R., FRANCES L.M., PAYNE J.W. (1998), “Constructive Consumer Choice Processes”, The Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 25, n. 3, pp. 187-217.

BIAN Q., FORSYTHE S. (2012), “Purchase intention for luxury brands: A cross cultural comparison”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 65, n. 10, pp. 1443-1451.

BOTSCHEN G., THELEN E.M., PIETERS R. (1999), “Using means-end structures for benefit segmentation an application to services”, European Journal of Marketing, vol. 33, n. 1-2, pp. 38-58.

BROWN S. (1993), “Postmodern marketing?”, European Journal of Marketing, vol. 27, n. 4, pp. 19-34.

BROWN S. (1995), Postmodern Marketing, Routledge, London.

BURN R.B. (1979), The Self-Concept in Theory, Measurement, Development, and Behaviour, Longman, London.

CHOW C.K., FUNG M.K., NGO H.Y. (2001), “Consumption patterns of entrepreneurs in the People's Republic of China”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 52, n. 2, pp. 189-202.

COHEN J.B. (1979), “The Structure of Product Attributes: Defining Attribute Dimensions for Planning and Evaluation”, in Analytic Approaches to Product and Marketing Planning, Schoker A., ed. Cambridge, MA: Marketing Science Institute.

DOUGLAS M., ISHERWOOD B. (1977), The World of Goods, Allen Lane, NY.
DUBOIS B., CZELLAR S., LAURENT G. (2005), “Consumer segments based on attitudes toward luxury: Empirical evidence from twenty countries”, Marketing letters, vol. 16, n. 2, pp. 115-128.

FABBRIZZI S., MARINELLI N., MENGHINI S., CASINI L. (2017), “Why do you drink? A means-end approach to the motivations of young alcohol consumers”, British Food Journal, vol. 119, n. 8, pp. 1854-1869.

FIRAT A.F., VENKATESH A. (1995), “Liberatory postmodernism and the reenchantment of consumption”, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 22, n. 3, pp. 239-267.

FOURNIER S. (1991), “Meaning-Based Framework for the Study of Consumer-Object Relations”, Advances in Consumer Research, 18, eds. Holman R.H., Solomon M.R., Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, pp. 736-742.

FREIRE N.A. (2014), “When luxury advertising adds the identitary values of luxury: A semiotic analysis”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 67, n. 12, pp. 2666-2675.

FURBY L. (1978), “Possessions: Toward a Theory of their Meaning and Function throughout the Life Cycle”, Life Span Development and Behavior, Baltes P. (ed), Academic Press, New York, pp. 297-336.

GRUNERT K.G., BECKMANN S.C., SØRESEN E. (1996), “Means-end chains and laddering: an inventory of problems and an agenda for research”, in Reynolds T.J., Olson, J.C. (Eds), Understanding Consumer Decision-Making: The Means-end Approach to Marketing and Advertising Strategy, Lawrence Earlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 63-90.

GUTMAN J. (1982), “A Means-End Chain Model Based on Consumer Categorization Precesses”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 46, n. 2, pp. 60.

HEATH A.P., SCOTT D. (1998), “The self-concept and image congruence hypothesis”, European Journal of Marketing, vol. 32, n. 11/12, pp. 1110-1123.

HIRSCHMAN E.C. (1981), “Comprehending Symbolic Consumption: Three Theoretical Issues”, in Hirschman E.C., Holbrook M.B., Symbolic consumer behaviour, Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Consumer Research, pp. 4-6.

HIRSCHMAN E.C., HOLBROOK M.B. (1982), “Hedonic consumption: emerging concepts, methods and propositions”, The Journal of Marketing, vol. 46, n. Summer, pp. 92-101.

HOPKINSON C.G., PUJARI D. (1999), “A factor analytic study of the sources of meaning in hedonic consumption”, European Journal of Marketing, vol. 33, n. 3/4, pp. 273-294.

HOWARD J.A.S., JAGDISH N. (1969), The theory of buyer behaviour, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.

HOYER W.D., STOKBURGER-SAUER N.E. (2012), “The role of aesthetic taste in consumer behavior”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 40, n. 1, pp. 167-180.

HÜTTEL A., ZIESEMER F., PEYER M., BALDERJAHN I. (2018), “To purchase or not? Why consumers make economically (non-) sustainable consumption choices”, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 174, pp. 827-836.

KAPFERER J.N. (2006), “The two business cultures of luxury brands”, in Schroeder, J.E., Salzer-Morling, M. (Eds), Brand Culture, Routledge, London and New York, NY, pp. 67-76.

KAPFERER J.N. (2010), “Luxury after the crisis: Pro logo or no logo”, The European Business Review, vol. September-October, pp. 42-46.

KAPFERER J.N., VALETTE-FLORENCE P. (2016), “Beyond rarity: the paths of luxury desire. How luxury brands grow yet remain desirable”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, vol. 25, n. 2, pp. 120-133.

KARPIK L., SCOTT N. (2010), Valuing the Unique, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

KASTANAKIS M.N., BALABANIS G. (2012), “Between the mass and the class: Antecedents of the “bandwagon” luxury consumption behavior”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 65, n. 10, pp. 1399-1407.

KATONA G. (1953), “Rational behavior and economic behavior”, Psychological Review, vol. 60, n. 5, pp. 307.

KLEINE R.E., KERNAN J.B. (1988), “Measuring the meaning of consumption objects: An empirical investigation”, Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 15, Michael J. Houston, ed. Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, pp. 498-504.

LEITNER M., WOLKERSTORFER P., SEFELIN R., TSCHELIGI M. (2008), “Mobile multimedia: identifying user values using the means-end theory”, Proceedings of the 10th international conference on Human computer interaction with mobile devices and services.

LIAO J., WANG L. (2009), “Face as a mediator of the relationship between material value and brand consciousness”, Psychology and Marketing, vol. 26, n. 11, pp. 987-1001.

MACKAY H. (1999), Turning point: Australians choosing their future, MacMillan, Sydney.

MAINIERI T., BARNETT E.G., VALDERO T.R., UNIPAN J.B., OSKAMP S. (1997), “Green buying: The influence of environmental concern on consumer behavior”, The Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 137, n. 2, pp. 189-204.

MANN E., ABRAHAM C. (2006), “The role of affect in UK commuters’ travel mode choices: An interpretative phenomenological analysis”, British Journal of Psychology, vol. 97, pp. 155-176.

MANYIWA S., CRAWFORD I. (2001), “Determining linkages between consumer choices in a social context and the consumer’s values: A means-end approach”, Journal of Consumer Behavior, vol. 2, n. 1, pp. 54-70.

MARKIN R.J. (1979), Marketing, John Wiley, New York, NY.

MUNDEL J., HUDDLESTON P., BEHE B., SAGE L., LATONA C. (2018), “An eye tracking study of minimally branded products: hedonism and branding as predictors of purchase intentions”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, vol. 27, n. 2, pp. 146-157.

NICOSIA F.N. (1966), Consumer Decision Processes, Prentice- Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

NIELSEN N.A., BECH-LARSEN T., GRUNERT K.G. (1998), “Consumer Purchase Motives and Product Perception: A Laddering Study on Vegetables Oil in Three Countries”, Food Quality and Preference, vol. 9, n. 6, pp. 455-466.

NUNES P.F., JOHNSON B.A., BREENE R.T. (2004), “Selling to the moneyed masses”, Harvard Business Review, vol. 82, n. 7-8, pp. 94-104.

NWANKWO S., HAMELIN N., KHALED M. (2014), “Consumer values, motivation and purchase intention for luxury goods”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, vol. 21, n. 5, pp. 735-744.

OLSON J., REYNOLDS T.J. (1983), “Understanding Consumers’ Cognitive Structures: Implications for Advertising Strategy”, in Advertising and Consumer Psychology, Percy L., Woodside A., Lexington Books, Lexington, Mass.

PIETERS R, BAUMGARTNER H., ALLEN D. (1995), “A means-end chain approach to consumer goal structures”, International Journal of Research in Marketing, vol. 12, n. 3, pp. 227-244.

REYNOLDS T.J., GUTMAN J. (1988), “Laddering Theory, Method, Analysis and Interpretation”, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 28, n. 1, pp. 11-31.

ROKEACH M. (1968), Beliefs, attitudes, and values: A theory of organization and change, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

ROKEACH M. (1973), The nature of human values, Free Press, New York.

ROUX E., TAFANI E., VIGNERON F. (2017), “Values associated with luxury brand consumption and the role of gender”, Journal of Business Research, vol. 71, pp. 102-113.

SHETH J.N. (1973), “A model of industrial buyer behavior”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 37, n. October, pp. 50-56.

SILVERSTEIN M.J., FISKE N. (2003), “Luxury for the masses”, Harvard Business Review, vol. 81, n. 4, pp. 48-57.

SILVERSTEIN M.J., FISKE N., BUTMAN J. (2008), “Trading Up: why consumers want new luxury goods-and how companies create them”, Penguin.

SIMON H.A. (1955), “A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 69, n. 1, pp. 99-118.

SINGER J.L. (1966), Daydreaming: An Introduction to the Experimental Study of Inner Experience, Random House, New York.

SIRGY J.M. (1982), “Self-concept in consumer behaviour: a critical review”, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 9, n. 3, pp. 287-300.

SØRENSEN E.B., ASKEGAARD S. (2007), “Laddering: how (not) to do things with words”, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 10, n. 1, pp. 63-77.

STEG L., VLEK C., SLOTEGRAAF G. (2001), “Instrumental-reasoned and symbolic- affective motives for using a motor car”, Transportation Research Part F: Psychology and Behaviour, vol. 4, n. 3, pp. 151-169.

TEY Y.S., ARSIL P., BRINDAL M., LIEW S.Y., TEOH C.T., TERANO R. (2018), “Personal values underlying ethnic food choice: Means-end evidence for Japanese food”, Journal of Ethnic Foods, vol. 5, n. 1, 33-39.

TRUONG Y., MCCOLL R. (2011), “Intrinsic motivations, self-esteem, and luxury goods consumption”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, vol. 18, n. 6, pp. 555-561.

TRUONG Y., MCCOLL R., KITCHEN P.J. (2009), “New luxury brand positioning and the emergence of masstige brands”, Journal of Brand Management, vol. 16, n. 5-6, pp. 375-382.

TUCKER W.T. (1957), Foundations for a Theory of Consumer Behaviour, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, NY.

VEBLEN T. (1899), The theory of the leisure class, Macmillan, New York (NY).

VELUDO-DE-OLIVEIRA T.M., IKEDA A.A., CAMPOMAR M.C. (2006), “Discussing laddering application by the means-end chain theory”, The Qualitative Report, vol. 11, n. 4, pp. 626-642.

VIGNERON F., JOHNSON L.W. (2004), “Measuring perceptions of brand luxury”, Brand Management, vol. 11, n .6, pp. 484-506.

VINSON D.E., SCOTT J.E., LAMONT C.M. (1977), “The Role of Personal Values in Marketing and Consumer Behavior”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 41, n. April, pp. 44-50.

WEILL P., WOERNER S.L. (2015), “Thriving in an increasingly digital ecosystem”, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 56, n. 4, pp. 27.

WILHELMS M.P., HENKEL S., FALK T. (2017), “To earn is not enough: A means-end analysis to uncover peer-providers' participation motives in peer-to-peer carsharing”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 125, pp.38-47.

YEOMAN I., MCMAHON-BEATTIE U. (2006), “Luxury markets and premium pricing”, Journal of Revenue and Premium Pricing, vol. 4, n. 4, pp. 319-28.

YOUNG S., FEIGIN B. (1975), “Using the Benefit Chain for Improved Strategy Formulation”, Journal of Marketing, vol. 39, n. July, pp. 72-74.

ZHANG B., KIM J.H. (2013), “Luxury fashion consumption in China: Factors affecting attitude and purchase intent”, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, vol. 20, n. 1, pp. 68-79.
Published
2019-10-03