Author’s Name: Due Date: Conditioning Market Demand through Status Consumption Introduction It is quite evident from the current literature that consumption patterns can be influenced or rather directed along certain paths by a stratified euphoria, otherwise known in the realms of academia as strategic marketing…
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It is thus a subjective psychological conditioning that ties goods and services as symbols of status. Status consumption, as originally defined by Thorstein Veblen in his “Theory of the Leisure Class,” refers to purchasing and the subsequent displays of unnecessary, expensive items in a manner that suggest or rather attract attention to an individual's wealth (39). Veblen though did use the term “conspicuous consumption,” and since then, the idea of inspirational consumption as a means of outward demonstration of wealth has been a hot topic examined not only in the field of Economics but also in a range of other discipline including marketing, psychology, sociology, to name but a few. Indeed, status consumption has permeated the modern setting, especially in the western world, where spending is not only away of determined by the amount of wealth owned but a unique way of trying to fit within a given social class. According to the theory of consumption, consumer buying behavior is conditioned partly by the intrinsic utility value placed on them, which in effect exceeds the attached price on a given product (Pepall, Richards and Norman 24-25). This description, however, was but a narrow perspective that fell short of accounting for the status that the product may hitherto confer to the bearer. Instinctively, behavioral consumption is a much more complex concept influenced by a myriad of factors far beyond utility maximization. This paper critically examines Status Consumption as an important factor in the theory of market demand. Background For a good or service to qualify as a status brand, two preconditions must hold: a sense of belonging [the “degree of commonality” concerning relative desirability of association with certain products or brands] and an open, social display of consumption of such products (Duensberry 11). Consumers have the incentives to amplify their consumption with the intention of gaining a position in social settings. For those that engage in some kind of self-reporting, a personal concern with status is but a factor that has been identified to motivate such actions. Indeed, the everyday observation of consumption patterns suggests a strong affinity to a direction of superior association with a given product; a fact that finds evidence in the concentration of households spending into furnishing living and dining rooms compared to private rooms such bedrooms. Such self-reporting intentions purposefully aimed at gaining social standing more often results from observed consumption patterns. Individuals often require alibis (reasons) that validate their purchases. Quite a huge chunk of college students’ product buying, for instance, is influenced by the advertising kind of contacts with colleagues. While needs play a fundamental role in the behavioral buying tendencies of consumers, the reality is that majority of products acquired are actually non-necessities in terms of survival. In the words of social anthropologist Edmund Leach, individual actions are shaped one way or another by learned behaviors from others within the immediate or observable surroundings (Jones 74). Clearly, if a person do not have adequate information, or simply does not value what being in possession of a Mercedes Benz signals to others in the
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