The paper “ Consumer Behavior and Status Consumption, Trends and Influences in Status Consumption, Status Products Marketing" is a motivating example of term paper on marketing. Consumption is considered to be one of the pillars of business and economic activities in this world. However, contemporary consumption pertains to the utilization of goods and services to obtain or enjoy utility. Marketers have developed a new concept where the consumption of ordinary goods and services is accompanied by image and status. There are different views proposed by different scholars on the standard definition of status consumption.
Eastman, Goldmsith, and Flynn (1999) define status consumption as adhering to social and cultural stratification and ranking in a given society. Consumers seek to create an impression or image to other people in society. The most common form of status consumption is ownership of certain products. Such products are usually uncommon either due to restrictive prices or limited production capacities of producers of such. Applbaum (2004) says that consumption of such status endorsing products is not all about fulfilling needs but also has to do with psychological and emotional benefits such as elevated self-esteem.
Additionally, consumption of that nature must be envisioned to affect the social bearing and ranking of that consumer. This paper thus explores the major issues pertaining to status consumption drawing information from recent journal articles and books. Consumer Behavior and Status ConsumptionThere are three levels of status from a social approach; status by assignment, status by achievement and status by consumption (Applbaum (2004). In their paper, ‘ Status consumption in consumer behavior: scale development and validation’ Eastman, Goldsmith and Flynn (1999, p. 42) define status consumption as ‘ the motivational process by which individuals strive to improve their social standing through the conspicuous consumption of consumer products that confer and symbolize status both for the individual and surrounding significant others. ’ Smith (p 25) says that status consumption is a “ cultural pattern that overtly connects possession of material goods with prescribed modes of behavior held to be appropriate for particular levels of social standing. ” Silver (p.
10) again links the consumption of goods and status and introduces the term “ positional goods’ . By this, he implies that status consumers will go for goods and services that will earn them a status in society. Kumar (2010) observes that marketers have exploited status consumption by pricing some products way above the average price.
This deviates from the nature of man as rationality whereby he seeks to optimize utility with the least costs. But why is this? Chang (2005) cites Sproles and Burns (1994) who say that “ some products are perceived to communicate a certain image, social role or status. ” The author adds that “ for the purpose of achieving higher perceived social class and social status, many consumers are motivated to purchase and display expensive clothes and other accessories to show that they have the ability to afford luxury items” (p. 5) Trends in status consumptionSo one may ask, is status consumption all about pricing?
O’ cass (2002) writes that the social image created by the consumption of a product is the result of creative marketing in collaboration with effective packaging and promotion that allow marketers to charge premium prices. It can thus be deduced that while pricing is an important element in allowing a certain brand to be considered as a status symbol, the marketer has to first fine-tune the market into accepting the brand as premium.