Viewing usage of counterfeit luxury goods: Social identity and social hierarchy effects on dilution and enhancement of genuine luxury brands

Nelson B. Amaral, Barbara Loken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of counterfeit versions of luxury brands is a growing phenomenon. Viewing their use by others may lead consumers to change their perceptions of the genuine brand. In several experiments, female participants viewed (or imagined) a female of varying social classes using a counterfeit or genuine product and were subsequently asked about the genuine luxury brand. While people were drawn toward the genuine brand more when in-groups than out-groups used counterfeits, asymmetries occurred. Higher classes denigrated the brand when lower (versus higher) classes used counterfeit brands, but lower classes did not denigrate when higher classes used them. A conceptual account, based on asymmetries of social hierarchies and greater uncertainty of counterfeit (than genuine) product benefits, was supported, with feelings of connection to the luxury brand as mediator. Asymmetric effects were reduced among consumers highly familiar with the genuine brand. Implications for marketing and protection from brand dilution are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-495
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the CSOM Dean's Small Grants program for financial assistance, and Stacie Goebel for her assistance with data collection and analysis of Study 1a.

Keywords

  • Branding
  • Counterfeit
  • Luxury
  • Reference groups
  • Social hierarchy

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