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Ratish Thakur

DBA Graduate - 2016

Thesis title

a grounded theory of genuine and counterfeit luxury brand consumption


Marcel Saucet

Dr. Ratish Thakur is a self-motivated and driven leader with a proven track record of leading a culturally diverse team to exceptional organizational performance. As a visionary and innovative thought leader with an expertise in cross-industry best practices, he has over 25 years’ experience in marketing and international business management. He is a focused and strategic thinker capable of delivering a consistently high performance.

Purpose The aim of this research was to explore and understand why some consumers buy genuine luxury brands while others choose counterfeits. The purpose was to propose a grounded theory of genuine and counterfeit luxury brand consumption. Design/methodology/approach The research sought answers to five questions pertaining to buyers’ perceptions about genuine luxury brands and counterfeits, benefits desired from them, and under what conditions counterfeits substituted genuine luxury brands. Data from twenty-three semi-structured interviews, an analysis of five websites, and observations at seven brick-and-mortar stores dealing in pre-owned luxury brands were analyzed using the grounded theory methodology. Findings This study found that individuals use public consumption of expensive luxury brands to gain face. Counterfeits are undesirable because being caught using them results in a loss of face. Further, it was found that individuals with limited incomes chose to rent or buy pre-owned luxury, or buy moderately priced brands rather than buying counterfeits of luxury brands. Research limitations/implications Grounded theory findings are applicable in a particular time and place and are not generalizable. Further, the interviews were conducted in English which is not the native language of Thai people, which may have hampered the quality of some interviews. Time was a major constraint as well. iv Practical implications/originality value This study makes three main contributions to the body of knowledge by proposing (1) a grounded theory of genuine and luxury brands consumption, (2) the concept of face to explain why Thai buyers choose to buy genuine luxury and avoid buying counterfeits of luxury brands, and (3) other-directedness and inner-directedness to understand consumer luxury buying behavior. For practitioners, this study (1) identifies the magnitude of the threat from counterfeiting, (2) recommends that marketers use other- and inner-directedness to segment the market, (3) proposes the notions of appropriate, utilitarian, and pragmatic luxury as bases for strategy (4) suggests de-emphasizing the brand name for inner-directed individuals (5) urges the promotion of products without externally displayed logos, and (6) champions value based luxury for pragmatic and utilitarian consumers. Suggestions for further research This study used the concept of face, which is important in Chinese/Asian cultures. Rather than using Western concepts, researchers should consider face and other Asian concepts for investigating the behavior r of Asian consumers. Researchers are advised to identify other culturally relevant concepts, propose precise definitions, and develop measurement scales. Keywords ? Counterfeit ? Face ? Appropriate luxury