Cosmetic Brands

Understanding the effect of personal and social value on attitude and usage behavior of luXury cosmetic brands


The growth of the luxury market has been phenomenal in recent years, especially in the emerging markets such as India. This research studied luxury value aspects (personal and social) of luxury cosmetic brands and their impact on consumer attitudes and usage behavior, with a focus on women consumers. Data was collected in the form of a survey from 372 women luxury cosmetic users. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the framework. Hedonism and status value were found to have high significant relationship towards  attitude whereas usage behavior was influenced by materialism and status value. Hence the symbolic and psychological traits among consumer will show their willingness to buy and preferences on luxury cosmetic brands. The findings of this study provide valuable insights to marketers and managers to understand consumer trends, attitudes and behavior in the luxury cosmetic market and develop marketing strategies to successfully market their products.


The growth of the market for luxury products has been significant in the past two decades mainly because of the entry of new consumers in this segment every day. This widening of the customer base for luxury products is a direct result of extensive urbanization, economic devel- opment and affluent lifestyle. Another reason for the surge in cosmo- politan consumers of luxury products is the free exchange of idea and news among people through international travel and the Internet which influence buying behavior of other consumers, enable diffusion of new styles and develop global values for luxury consumption (Anderson and He, 1998; Vickers and Renand, 2003). The demand for luxury products is growing in emerging countries such as China, India, the Middle East and Latin America (Tynan et al., 2010). The new frontier of luxury business in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) may be more enacted by 2018 and India is the foremost emerging market with an expected growth of 86% in constant value terms between 2013 and 2018 (Roberts, 2014). Its luxury market is predicted to rise at a healthy rate of 25% (CAGR) and expected to cross $18.3 billion by end of 2016 (Assocham, 2016). The experiential and personal luxury goods markets have been the predominant drivers of the slow and steady growth rate of the overall luxury market, and are estimated to be worth 1015 billion € by 2021 with 465 million consumers (Achille, 2014). Personal luxury goods comprising cosmetics & perfumes, apparel, and   accessories, which “convey status and a pampered life – a luxurious life” (Thomas, 2007), are increasingly being sought by the booming upper-middle- class of society (D’Arpizio et al., 2014). Luxury goods can be categor- ized into fashion, cosmetics, wines, watches, and jewellery (Jackson, 2004). Among all luxury items that are bought by consumers, cos- metics & perfumes are the most widely consumed products and the cosmetic segment’s growth is dependent on the frequency of their usage (Dubois and Laurent, 1996). Many cosmetic industries have marked their identity in the luxury segment by accounting for the largest pro- portion of luxury good sales. The traditional luxury companies such as LVMH, Chanel, Prada, L’Oreal horizontally have extended their product line by introducing new luxury products in the cosmetic and perfumes segment (Albrecht et al., 2013; Bellaiche et al., 2010; Kapferer, 2012; Truong et al., 2009). These brands have attracted valuable consumers, who tend to spend nearly 60% of their luxury budget on cosmetic products (Bellaiche et al., 2010). Luxury cosmetic consumption has seen highest growth in India (Assocham, 2016).

Past researchers have attempted to understand luxury in various dimensions and to empirically evaluate the behavioral patterns of luxury consumers in various segments (Christodoulides et al., 2009; Dubois et al., 2005; Dubois and Paternault, 1995; Vickers and Renand, 2003; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004; Wiedmann et al., 2007, 2009).

Although research in luxury products is vast in scope, this study explores it in terms of a single domain – “luxury cosmetic brands”. This particular topic, being of interest to women, also helps in understanding their perception of the luxury cosmetic segment. Choosing the right cosmetic products and brands has always been a part of most of the women’s life and luxury beauty products adds up exquisiteness. This research attempts to investigate the role of various values, attitudinal and behavioral patterns of women consumer of luxury cosmetic products.

Various authors and researchers have defined luxury and categorized luxury brands   based   on   different   perspectives.   Vigneron and Johnson (1999) defined luxury as “the highest level of prestigious brands encompassing several physical and psychological values”. This paper uses the Vickers and Renand (2003) definition of luxury goods as “the symbols of personal and social identity, i.e. their principle values are psychological and their consumption is dependent upon personal, social and individual cues”. Luxury represents two inseparable facets – psychological  (luxury  for  self)  and  sociological  (luxury  for  others) (Bastien and Kapferer, 2013; Smith and Colgate, 2007; Wiedmann et al., 2009). The importance of luxury brands can be comprehended only when we recognize the buying behavior and other characteristics of the consumers. In this study luxury cosmetic brands are defined as cosmetic brands that have a limited supply and expensive that makes an individual to personify their physical and facial appearance and gives a feeling of self and social desirability apart from functional use. A few examples of such brands available in India are Chanel, Lancome, Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Giorgio Armani and MAC. Majority of the luxury cosmetic brands are sold through traditional and electronic retail markets with a growth rate of 5.7% in 2015. Luxury cosmetics is one of the most energetic market driven by the ‘selfie generation’ and the new markets like India, Turkey and Africa reported a total of two-third of the global sales (EY, 2016).

2-Literature review and following gap

Previous research have resulted in a common definition for consumer’s perception of luxury (Christodoulides et al., 2009; Smith and Colgate, 2007; Tynan et al., 2010; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004; Wiedmann et al., 2009). Literature survey shows that there have been many studies that have examined luxury brands (Christodoulides et al., 2009; Dubois et al., 2005; Dubois and Paternault, 1995; Husic and Cicic, 2009; Vickers and Renand, 2003; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004) and have aimed to identify various facets of luxury value dimensions in various countries (Hung et al., 2011; Shukla and Purani, 2012; Tynan et al., 2010; Vigneron and Johnson, 1999, 2004; Wiedmann et al., 2009). Studies have also focused the characteristics of the luxury brands (Dubois and Duquesne, 1993; Dubois and Laurent, 1996; Dubois and Paternault, 1997; Vickers and Renand, 2003; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004), luxury consumption in emerging markets (Shukla, 2012; Truong and McColl, 2011; Wang et al., 2011) and cross-cultural relationships in luxury consumption (Bian and Forsythe, 2012; Dubois and Laurent, 1996; Shukla and Purani, 2012; Wiedmann et al., 2009; Zhang and Kim, 2013). Such research have been carried out in various luxury product categories like watches, sunglasses, apparels, handbags, perfumes, fashion products, electronic devices, counterfeit products and other luxury goods. But these findings cannot be generalized to India because their perception towards luxury products may differ in time and space or across countries and cultures (Miller and Mills, 2012; Shukla and Purani, 2012; Wiedmann et al., 2009). As Wong and Ahuvia (1998) stated, “Just because many of the products are the same in Asia and western societies does not mean that consumer buy them for the same reasons”. Although the composite values of luxury perceived by consumers from different countries are similar, the sub-dimensions of luxury values may be different in different countries (Wiedmann et al., 2009).

The wide-range of topics that have been studied in the field of cosmetics shows that cosmetic products could be connected to consumers’ cognition and emotion with distinct benefits (e.g. personal and social symbol) connected to psychosocial activities, which are ex- pressed through value, attitude and usage behavior. Many researchers have shown that status and conspicuous consumption are associated with women’s cosmetics (Chao and Schor, 1998) and individual judg- ments on cosmetic use are based on social desirability and how others treat them (Graham and Kligman, 1985; Kyle and Mahler, 1996). Few other studies have shown various social-psychological and behavioral patterns towards cosmetics including cosmetic usage, brand personality (Fabricant and Gould, 1993; Gould and Stern, 1989; Guthrie et al.,2008; Guthrie and Kim, 2009; Miller and Cox, 1982), consumer psy- chology (Bloch and Richins, 1992; Cash, 1987, 1988), physical ap- pearance, attractiveness and self-perception in terms of attitude and behavior towards cosmetic consumption (Brown et al., 1986; Cash and Cash, 1982; Franzoi and Herzog, 1987; Graham and Jouhar, 1980; Hopkins, 2007; Kyle and Mahler, 1996; Nash et al., 2006; Netemeyer et al., 1995; Pentina et al., 2009; Souiden and Diagne, 2009). There have been studies on purchasing behavior of cosmetics (Yeh et al., 2010) in terms of various theories and models including TPB (theory of planned behavior) and TRA (theory of reasoned action) with value system (Hansen et al., 2012; Yeon Kim and Chung, 2011). These the- ories associate psychosocial activities with predictions of consumer behavior (Ajzen, 1985; Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980). Although ap- proaches may be different, these studies have similar basis of under- lying reason that are significant in influencing value, attitudes and behavior. Thus, a survey of literature clearly shows that psychosocial perspectives are significant motives for purchase and consumption of cosmetic products with appropriate behavioral patterns. However, there have been few or no studies that have examined the luxury value of cosmetic brands in terms of their relationship with attitude and usage behavior. Past studies have classified personal value into three sub-di- mensions, viz. self-identity, materialistic and hedonic (Kineta et al., 2007; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004; Wiedmann et al., 2009) and social value into two sub dimensions: conspicuous and social status (O’Cass, 2001; O’Cass and McEwen, 2004; Shukla, 2008; Tynan et al., 2010; Wiedmann et al., 2009).

3-Conceptual framework and hypotheses

Value perception can differ extensively with respect to consumers’ involvement. The luxury market, in particular, is a perfect example of high involvement products, for which cognition and value may act forcefully. The face of luxury in cosmetic brands can be identified only through the brand name and an enlarged value system coordinates such activity. In the context of consumer behavior, values are a fundamental construct to understand and reach consumers. Rokeach (1973) defined value as “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.” Values represent ei- ther terminal or instrumental goals (Schwartz and Bilsky, 1987) but terminal values are used for measuring the value pattern of consumers, taking into the fact that terminal values share a more abstract goal than instrumental values (Kamakura and Novak, 1992). The terminal values are further branched into personal values and social values, which in- dividually are termed self-centric or social centric respectively (Kamakura and Novak, 1992; Rokeach, 1973). In this study, we follow the theory of impression management (Goffman, 1978) and psycholo- gical meaning because cosmetic use is the tool of self-presentation and impression formation. Moreover, values are cognitive and emotional representations of overall consumer’s requirements (Wiedmann et al., 2009) and consumers may feel the luxury brand worthy of investment after consumption. Moreover, the model of personal and social values are conceptualised for women consumers who look at and choose in- ternational brands to represent themselves with emotional and sym- bolic attributes.

3.1-Personal value perceptions

 Personal value refers to an individual’s behavior that is directed inwards based upon emotional being (i.e.) self-identity and hedonism (Parks and Guay, 2009; Vigneron and Johnson, 1999, 2004) and a cognitive being (i.e.) materialism (Ahuvia and Wong, 2002; Richins and Dawson, 1992). Personal values are self-centered assessments (Rokeach, 1973), where consumers are oriented towards inner thoughts and feelings (Vigneron and Johnson, 2004).

3.1.1-Self-identity value

Self-identity value refers to one’s self-image, sense of intention, self- esteem and self-perception (Belk, 1988; Jamal and Goode, 2001; Mehta, 1999; Sirgy and Johar, 1999; Sparks, 2000), in which, an individual idealises him/herself in order to satisfy the requirements of their role in society (Conner and Armitage, 1998). People describe themselves by labelling their identity, which influences their behavior (i.e.) what they do is a reflection of who they are (Biddle et al., 1987). It further de- scribes the appearance or personality of a person to differentiate them from others. While using the luxury brand, the user communicates a symbolic meaning about their identity through behavior (Belk, 1982; Piacentini and Mailer, 2004; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004). Fashion products like cosmetics and perfumes help consumers express their identity more effectively (Amaldoss and Jain, 2005). The need for self- identity amongst women positively affects their attitude toward luxury brands (Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann, 2013). This has been well- documented in the past; earlier studies have described the self-identity with the theory of planned behavior (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1977; Smith et al., 2008). From the light of the above review, we propose that fe- male cosmetic users attempt to establish their self-identity through use of luxury cosmetic products and therefore develop a favourable attitude and usage behavior of such products.

H1:. Self-identity value has a significant positive influence on attitude towards luxury cosmetic brand.

H2:. Self-identity value has a significant positive influence on usage behavior of luxury cosmetics.

3.1.2-Hedonic value

Hedonic value is an intrinsic benefit (i.e., inner feelings and thoughts), and is also referred to as emotional value; it gratifies the internal self of an individual (Vigneron and Johnson, 1999; Wiedmann et al., 2009; Wong and Ahuvia, 1998). According to Hirschman and Holbrook (1982), hedonic consumption summates various aspects of consumer behavior and hedonic purchase actions are mainly focused on non-tangible benefits like multisensory, fantasy, and emotional at- tachment of consumers. Researchers have identified these traits as important predecessor of variables that motivate consumption of luxury items (Wiedmann et al., 2009; Wong and Ahuvia, 1998). Women’s purchase behavior have a positive disposition on impulse consumption of luxury goods than men (Nwankwo et al., 2014). Accordingly, Hume and Mills (2013) indicated that hedonism toward luxury fashion pro- ducts is largely concerned with products like cosmetics and perfumes, considering the product’s hedonic perception by nature. Consumers who place high emphasis on hedonistic value may have a positive at- titude towards consumption of luxury cosmetic brands such as Chanel, Dior, Lancôme and Neutrogena. Moreover, hedonic or emotional value helps in attitude formation towards a particular product (Allen et al., 1992). As a summation of the above literature output, we believe that hedonism will enhance the pleasure or sensory gratification of consumers through which consumers’ attitude and usage behavior may be

altered accordingly. Hence, the following hypotheses were developed.

H3: Hedonic value has a significant positive influence on attitude towards luxury cosmetic brand.

H4: Hedonic value has a significant positive influence on usage behavior of luxury cosmetics.

3.1.3-Materialistic value

Materialism is a cognitive construct that comes under personal value (Ahuvia and Wong, 2002; Richins and Dawson, 1992). Re- searchers have listed materialistic value as a separate personality trait (Belk, 1985), which significantly influences consumers’ decisions while purchasing different type of goods (Richins and Dawson, 1992). Richins and Dawson (1992) defined materialism as a “set of centrally held be- liefs about the importance of possessions in one’s life.” This definition implies that people try to enhance their self-concept by acquiring a luxury product. It also infers that a consumer decision on material possession later grows as a desire to impress others. Most materialistic consumers are highly conscious of their appearance and status (Richins, 1994a, b). Materialistic consumers may afford importance for symbolic attributes in luxury products to upgrade their identity. For example, they may consume luxury brands as a response to other’s perception and to improve their self-belief (Belk, 1985, 1988; Dittmar, 1994; Richins, 1994a, b; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004). Given that luxury purchase is a high involvement activity, the information processing element will aim to improve self-advocacy among the consumers’ so as it may reduce post purchase dissonance. Steenkamp and de Jong (2010) found that materialistic value has a significant relationship with atti- tude towards both global and local products. This is because materi- alistic consumers share high positive attitude towards their luxury ob- jects (Wiedmann et al., 2009). In addition, materialism is related to consumers’ usage pattern and it is imperative to examine the relationship. Hence, the following hypotheses are developed.

H5:. Materialistic value has a significant positive influence on attitude towards luxury cosmetic brand.

H6:. Materialistic value has a significant positive influence on usage behavior of luxury cosmetics.

3.2-Social value perceptions

Social value refers to extrinsic benefits that are directed outwards (Grubb and Grathwohl, 1967; Parks and Guay, 2009; Vigneron and Johnson, 1999). Social value is “the perceived utility of a product based on the item’s ability to enhance one’s social well-being” (Kim et al., 2012). Consumers develop certain social perceptions of what they should look like in society and how to behave and classify these per- ceptions through interaction processes (Stryker, 1980). Social identifi- cation and image maintenance may drive consumers to purchase luxury cosmetic products; this in turn could help them draw attention to themselves in the social arena. On the basis of previous literature in the area, this study identifies two social value constructs namely, con- spicuous and social status.

3.2.1-Conspicuous value

The concept of conspicuousness is built upon perception of symbolic value (Hung et al., 2011; Truong et al., 2008) and luxury consumption is motivated by conspicuousness (Hamelin and Thaichon, 2016). Earlier studies dealing with symbolic value have shown that these values have a strong influence on consumer product or brand usage behavior (Grubb and Grathwohl, 1967; Tsai, 2005). Conspicuous consumers behave such that their actions and behavior are explicit to others, their consumption flows through a pattern, which enhances their self-image and value within a reference group. (Bagwell and Bernheim, 1996; Mason, 1983; O’Cass and McEwen, 2004). Products that reflect on one’s explicit appearance and image, like fashion items, may influence the act of conspicuous consumption (Truong et al., 2009). 2This is also ap- plicable for luxury cosmetic brand consumption; cosmetic brands may induce conspicuous behavior among women who seek to represent themselves as being socially amicable. This trend is prevalent across the emerging markets, where consumers consciously display them to others (Shukla, 2010). Among emerging economies, Indian consumers have a strong impact on conspicuous consumption compared to other devel- oping markets; their purchase decisions are interdependent in nature also have a stronger connection with their self-image (Belk, 1985; Shukla, 2012; Wong and Ahuvia, 1998). Hence consumer’s attitude and usage behavior may have significant relationships towards conspicuous consumption among female consumers in India.

H7:. Conspicuous value has a significant positive influence on attitude towards luxury cosmetic brand.

H8:. Conspicuous value has a significant positive influence on usage behavior of luxury cosmetics.

3.2.2-Status value

In the act of status consumption, consumers are motivated by in- ternal and external cues or by desire to acquire status (Hayakawa, 1963; Truong et al., 2009). In this study, status symbolises the con- sumer’s desire to ensure their social presence through consumption of luxury brands and satisfy the need to act in ways expected to achieve both personal and professional visibility/acceptance (Eastman et al., 1999). The exact meaning of luxury brand can be understood through the assessment of consumer status value that denotes direct expression of product use towards society and also communicates the brand name status (Dawson and Cavell, 1987). Luxury cosmetic brands are visibly consumed products and may endow status symbols, and be a reflection of a person’s assumption about what others thinks, which in turn, cause the cosmetic user to appear more attractive to gain status. People have become more brand conscious with the increasing entry level luxury brands in India and social status expectation have increased. Luxury cosmetic products are not limited to high social class consumers, but have now expanded to include other income or social classes that can afford the luxury brands (Eastman et al., 1999; O’Cass and Frost, 2002).

Status value motivates consumption behavior of consumer those who feel valued by others and want to maintain the status to the extent (Eastman et al., 1999; O’Cass and Frost, 2002). This trend is reflective of consumer attitudes towards luxury brand use. Hence for a better and broader understanding of status value and its relationship with attitude and behavior towards the luxury cosmetic brands, we propose the fol- lowing hypotheses.

H9:. Status value has a significant positive influence on attitude towards luxury cosmetic brand.

H10:. Status value has a significant positive influence on usage behavior of luxury cosmetics.

3.3-Attitude usage behavior

In order to gain a better understanding of the luxury cosmetic market and to recognize its potential consumers, the attitudinal and usage behavior are the most important attributes and linkage. The Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991; Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980) supports our perspective that attitude towards behavior will have a strong relationship or direct effect. Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) refer to attitude as “the degree to which a person has a favourable or un- favourable evaluation of a particular behavior”. Literature on attitude building posits that the performance of the behavior will lead to positive or negative outcomes. Women consumers tend to value themselves personally and socially as a function of their attitude, and are more likely to engage with luxury products. Nash et al. (2006) postulates that women’s cosmetic usage preference is based upon attitude formation with social comparison (about how others view them), and this helps in interpreting the significance of their own actions. People conscious of their public image create their impression pattern by their product choice and usage behavior (Bearden and Rose, 1990), and are likely to use cosmetics to enhance their appearance (Cash and Cash, 1982; Miller and Cox, 1982). Several consumer attributes are dynamic and are in- dividual values that have impacts on attitude and behavior (Vinson et al., 1977). The attitudinal and usage behavior pattern of women towards luxury cosmetic products has not been studied with separate value constructs (self identify, hedonism, materialism, conspicuousness, and status value), especially with personal and social values as exo- genous constructs. Hence the following hypotheses were proposed.

H11:. Attitude towards luxury cosmetic brand has a significant positive relationship on the usage behavior.

This study is hence comprehended into the following model shown in Fig. 1.

4-Methods and measures

This study focuses on women consumers because women have emerged as important players in the luxury market, which accounts for the high growth in sales in recent years due to their increased pur- chasing power and high earning capacity (Fionda and Moore, 2009).

The luxury cosmetic product segment was selected because women tend to have a strong attraction towards luxury cosmetics. Moreover, the price of this segment is more affordable than other product categories considering the frequency of usage of cosmetic segment. This means that women consumers purchase these products frequently or re- peatedly. The Indian market was targeted due to its high disposable income, rising number of working women, and educated consumers and tourists those who bring in new insights about global trends; these have made India a primary emerging market for luxury products, which at- tracts the international marketers (Chadha and Husband, 2010; Eng and Bogaert, 2010; Gupta, 2009).

4.1-Data collection method

In this study, a structured questionnaire on luxury value perception, attitude, and usage behavior in English was designed to test the hy- pothesized relationships. Luxury cosmetic users from the cosmopolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, covering both northern and southern region in India, were chosen as sample re- spondents. The target respondents were identified from various malls and flagship stores where luxury brands like The Body Shop, MAC, Estee Lauder, Chanel and Dior. were available.

4.2-Questionnaire design

Initial phase of the study involved identification and categorization of a list of luxury cosmetic brands used in India. A list of top luxury cosmetic brands in the world was initially recognized with the help of popular websites and other consultancies survey results. The name of these luxury cosmetic brands was listed in the beginning of the ques- tionnaire. The main objective of this list is to identify eligible re- spondents for the study based on their familiarity and use of these brands in day to day life.

The questionnaire was designed in a booklet format with instruc- tions for answering the questions, a description of the study and the list of luxury cosmetic brands in the first page. In the proposed framework, the luxury value was investigated in terms of personal and social as- pects. Personal value consisted of three sub constructs of self-identity, materialistic value and hedonic value. The questionnaire items for self- identity with three questions was derived from the study by Wiedmann et al. (2009), Hedonic value was based on five questions developed by Wiedmann et al. (2009) and Albrecht et al. (2013), and materialistic value was based on three questions developed by Wiedmann et al. (2009), Richins and Dawson (1992) and Shukla (2012). Social value consisted of two sub constructs: conspicuous and status value. The items for conspicuous value with four items was derived from study by O’Cass and McEwen (2004), status value was measured from the five item scale developed by (Wiedmann et al., 2009), an extra question in social value was added with prior consultation from peers and experts. The item was added based on the study suggestion by literature related to enhancement of social relationship because Asians are centered around relationships (McCort and Malhotra, 1993) and may have a strong desire towards luxury brands to enhance their relationship with others. The items for attitude towards luxury cosmetic products were derived from Putrevu and Lord (1994) and Dubois and Laurent (1994) and contained three questions. Items for cosmetic usage behavior were derived from Chang et al. (2008) and contains 4 questions. The questionnaire had 27 items and was measured  using a five-point Likert –type scale rating from strongly agree to strongly disagree for all mea- sures. Women who have used luxury cosmetic brands from the listed brands were eligible for the study. Before doing a pilot study, the questionnaire was initially reviewed by 3 academic experts and 3 in- dustry experts for specificity and clarity of items.

4.3-Pilot study

Cosmetic users were interviewed about luxury cosmetic items and their consumption level. Respondents who have used luxury cosmetic brands from the listed brands were included in the pilot study to answer the questions with reference to their desired brand. The pilot study was conducted with 50 female targeted participants to evaluate the appro- priateness of the measurement items. The respondents answered the questions related to luxury value, attitude, and usage behavior. Many suggestions were provided by the participants to improve the items. The reliability of the scales was evaluated using the metric Cronbach’s alpha and validity was assessed using exploratory factor analysis. The results satisfied the basic requirements; all item loadings were sig- nificant and the reliability of the constructs was above 0.70.

4.4-Sample and procedure

Respondents were selected using purposive sampling based on their characteristics. Only luxury cosmetic users were chosen and the people who do not use luxury cosmetic products were excluded from the study. The refined self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 690 re- spondents, the data was screened for determining the valid responses, and 372 responses were usable after screening and cleaning the data. The 372 female respondents were luxury cosmetic users and potential respondents. The sample is representative with 27.42% of the re- spondents belonging to a age group below twenty six years, 52.42% were between 26 and 35 years and 20.16% were 35 years and above. The annual individual income in US dollars of most of the respondents fell between 7350 to 14700, followed by ≥ 14700 and ≤ 7350 re- spectively. 21.50% of the respondents were from Chennai, 27.42% form Bangalore 26.61% from Mumbai and 24.47% from Delhi. In order to motivate the respondents, a chocolate gift basket was provided as an incentive.

5-Data analysis and findings

The data analysis was structured in the following manner; first, the reliability of the measurement model was tested using the metric Cronbach’s alpha to ensure scale has measurement error less than the threshold value (Nunnally et al., 1967). Second, confirmatory factor analysis using maximum likelihood discrepancy was conducted to check the convergent validity for the measurement model (Byrne, 2016). The model was also tested for discriminant validity to ensure that the items are not measuring unrelated items (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). Finally, the structural model was executed to test the proposed hypotheses. SEM was selected as an analysis technique mainly because of its advantage in explaining models with multiple interrelated de- pendent relationships as in our study (Hair et al., 1995). The tools, SPSS 23.0 and Amos 21.0 were used to perform the analysis.

5.1-Measurement model validation

The results of confirmatory factor (CFA) analysis are shown at Table 1. The calculated reliability for all the constructs was more than 0.70, which satisfied the basic requirement of construct reliability (Nunnally et al., 1967). All CFA factor loadings for the items except ‘Hedonism 5’ showed a value above 0.60, which satisfied the basic threshold condition for convergent validity (Kline, 2015). Table 2 illustrates the inter-construct correlation matrix, which shows that the absolute correlation value for each construct is less than the squared root of average variance extracted respective to the same construct (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). This provides a strong positive implication on discriminant validity. The fit indices of the confirmatory factor analysis showed satisfactory results with the data.

5.2-Results of sructural model

The conceptual model was empirically tested as suggested in lit- erature (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988; Hair et al., 1995). Following the acceptable fit from CFA, the structural model tested the hypotheses by employing the maximum likelihood estimation. Fig. 2 shows the model results for the hypotheses. The structural model indicated a perfect fit, and hence validates the empirical investigation on the conceptual model. The fit indices of Model 1 met the required threshold expectations; χ2/df (< 3) = 2.012, CFI (> 0.9) = 0.93, GFI (> 0.9) = 0.90, RMSEA (< 0.06) = 0.052. This provides the avenue and validation to discuss on the results of the hypotheses (Fig. 1). Except for materialism, the  other  four  constructs,  self-identity  (β =  0.221,  p < 0.001),  hedonism (β =  0.424,  p < 0.001),  conspicuousness  (β =  −0.217, p < 0.001) and status value (β = 0.464, p < 0.001) were highly significant towards attitude, among which, conspicuousness had a nega- tive coefficient which is oppositely significant to the stated hypothesis. Status value and hedonism were the strongest predictors of attitude. The path results of the constructs towards usage behavior were different from the attitude paths. Of the five constructs relating to attitude, status value (β = 0.342, p < 0.001) and materialism (β = 0.387, p < 0.001) had a significant relationship towards usage behavior, whereas the re- maining three relationships were not significant. The structural path between  attitude  and  usage  behavior  (β =  0.258,  p < 0.001)  was significant. Overall, status value was observed to have significant re- lationship with both attitude and usage behavior.

6-Discussion and implications

Consumers have become more beauty conscious due to changing lifestyle and spreading consumer awareness about international cos- metic brands. The significance for appearance, personal hygiene, and grooming has become an imperative in society for establishment of social image and relationships and this has resulted in significant de- velopments in the beauty and cosmetic sectors (Okonkwo, 2016). It is a known fact that developed countries are more receptive to luxury products   than   emerging   markets.   Hence   analysing   the   consumers’ value, attitude and usage behavior towards luxury cosmetic brand in developing countries is a challenging task. This study, aims to under- stand   consumers’ attitude   and behavior   pattern   towards   cosmetic brands arising from their value. In this context, the empirically verified model and analyzed results could benefits the marketers to plan their suitable marketing strategies. Self-identity has been found to have a significant positive relation- ship with attitude, but there is no significant relationship with usage behavior of luxury cosmetic brands. The latter could be attributed due to high interdependency and self-construed behavior among Indian consumers. However, the findings contradict the observation on luxury brand utilization behavior that women use their identity to commu- nicate to others (O’Cass, 2001; Vigneron and Johnson, 2004). Self-ex- pression is akin to attitude. Likewise, the attitude towards cosmetics may represent that importance of self-consciousness to foster identity. This association between attitude and self-identity seems to influence luxury cosmetic products in terms of image, which creates an expres- sion of individuality and identity. As stated by Westjohn et al. (2012), identity is a central issue around which marketers must design their strategy since individuals have a tendency to create an attitude that bolsters their identity. Women pay considerable attention to appear- ance and are attracted to luxury cosmetic brands. Hence, it is important for marketers to understand the assessment that people (especially women) have of themselves, and design marketing strategies accord- ingly in order to foster positive attitude towards luxury cosmetic brands among them.

Hedonic value is positively and significantly related to attitude. In this study, attitudes are shown to be cognitively driven, and are strongly influenced by unambiguous cues. Cosmetic brands are hedonic products, and are evaluated in terms of how much pleasure they pro- vide. Thus, hedonic associations on luxury cosmetic brands provided perceptual fit and resulted in positive attitude. This emotional congruence may be formed due to consumers’ stereotype on luxury brands. Similar assertion made by Leclerc et al. (1994) that prestigious brands’ name has strong hedonic association with attitude than utilitarian products. This result ensures consumer’s willingness to move towards luxury cosmetic brands that are associated with pleasure and desire. Most college students and working professionals are known to attend parties and are thus compelled to build an image of themselves in the cohort. Thus, they are more likely to experiment with and shop for various cosmetic brands. Many fashion markets introduce variations in cosmetic items to meet the requirements of the consumer (Wilson, 2003). These variations and new introductions are driven by the con- sumer’s desire for change and excitement. Generally, luxury brands provide   more   hedonic   value  than non-luxury brands   for   female consumers (Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann, 2013). Finally, mar- keters must identify factors like sensorial experiences and emotional motive that evoke the consumer’s positive feelings on a particular brand.

It was observed that materialism was a significant predictor of usage behavior of luxury cosmetics by consumers rather than attitude for- mation. Materialists are more likely to consume brands by valuing its visibility and public meaning rather than personal or subjective meaning (i.e not based on own attitude, feelings or opinions) (Richins, 1994b). This slightly contradicts the generalized observation of Shukla (2012) that in India, materialism is a non-significant predictor of con- sumption of luxury goods, due to the collectivist behavior. The result pertaining to the way a person experiences those brands through con- sumption and their willingness to pay higher prices for these cosmetic brands can be understood only through an understanding of their usage behavior. This result supports the assertion that materialistic people have a conforming behavior through consumption (Belk, 1984). High materialistic behavior (i.e acquisition and use of product) emerged to satisfy an individual in terms of appearance, influence self-esteem and creates the feeling of happiness through consumption (Bearden et al., 1989; Shrum et al., 2013). Materialism is common among fashion-or- iented people (Browne and Kaldenberg, 1997; O’Cass, 2004). Materi- alism and luxury consumption have strong influences in emerging markets and materialistic consumers in emerging market generate a positive impression about luxury products on others by buying the luxury brands (Sharma, 2011; Wang and Yang, 2008). This seems to be the reason for the positive significance of materialism with usage be- havior among Indian women consumers. International marketers must recognize that materialism spurs consumers’ consumption behavior on luxury cosmetic brands because the concept of materialism has influ- enced various areas of luxury consumption (Eastman et al., 1999; Veblen and Banta, 2009; Wong and Ahuvia, 1998) including spending capacity. Hence an improved understanding of materialism may offer insights to marketers to know the characteristics of usage behavior and

cater to materialistic consumers through impression management.

In terms of conspicuousness value, personal-related variables are more important than showing off. Sometimes, wearing cosmetics may not reveal an individual identity by showing who they are. Consumers may feel that luxury cosmetics expose the real beauty outside perfectly, but socially, communicating the sign to others may not be much ap- preciated. This could be the reason for conspicuous value to have sig- nificant negative relationship with attitude and non-significant re- lationship with usage behavior. This study, however, supports the findings of Shukla (2012) that the conspicuousness value is not a sig- nificant predictor of luxury brand usage in emerging markets. People must be aware of the trend and benefits of daily usage of cosmetics in terms of the social value of an individual. Further investigation on conspicuousness is required in the emerging markets due to high consumption  level  of luxury (Shukla, 2012). The findings of this study provide marketers the opportunity to discover the ambiguity on conspicuousness value and reasons behind the negative significance in the Indian market.

In terms of status value, we found a significant positive relationship with both attitude and usage behavior. Public-conscious women were more prone to cosmetic use, which reflect on their attitude and beha- vior. An individual’s positive attitude towards luxury cosmetic is an outcome of need to enhance interpersonal determinants. Status con- sciousness is high among Indians; spending lot of money during mar- riages, festivals and other celebrations for the appearance is common (Bloch et al., 2004; Shukla, 2010). In these special occasions, visibility of luxury cosmetic brands could be status symbols and cosmetic users may try to appear more attractive to gain status through brand usage; it is a reflection of their assumption about what others think of them.

When an individual is in the presence of others in a socio – economic status oriented environment, he/she feels the need to establish proper social relationship with others, and this helps in setting both present and future behavior (Belk, 1988; Goman, 1978). The observations by Eastman et al. (1999) reinforce the current findings that “the more a consumer seeks status, the more he will engage in behavior,” The findings also fit with the study by Chao and Schor (1998) who mea- sured on status as a function of women’s consumption of cosmetic products and proved that status is an important factor when women purchase the high priced cosmetic brands. Thus, marketers of cosmetic brands can seal their high-priced products by attributing status symbols to them in order to attract status-conscious customers. Marketers have to create the right demand and status image for their brands by as- certaining the new strategy (Eastman et al., 1999).

A match between attitude and behavior would increase the attitude- behavior relationship (Millar and Tesser, 1986). The relationship be- tween attitude and usage behavior are positive and significant. Con- sumer’s cosmetic use resonates with the psychophysical impression and the need for manipulation of appearance to express their outward image in social contexts (Robertson et al., 2008). This may be the reason for the consumer’s valued materialism and status value to po- sitively and significantly affect usage behavior in model I, because an individual can discover their own desire by using a particular brand to interact with others, which reinforces their internal and external ex- pressive behavior. The consumer’s attitude on classy high-end ex- pensive brands may ensure exquisiteness and stimulate their ostensive behavior through consumption, ultimately giving the feeling of being distinct compared to others. Today’s youngsters follow a trendy and glamorous lifestyle, and are also deliberate in using cosmetics to fine- tune their look (Scelzo and Lerman, 2009) and their expectation can be fulfilled through luxury cosmetic brand use. Hence in this study, the relationship between attitude and usage behavior is strong, consistently responded in a favourable way with respect to luxury cosmetic brands, this result provides logical conclusion for the marketers and can en- courage consumers to try their new products which influence their buying action. Websites or online portals improve the accessibility and availability of any luxury cosmetic brands and at the same time improve the level of involvement in the purchase (Beuckels and Hudders, 2016).


The overall conclusion derived from this work is that women’s de- cision of the purchase of luxury cosmetic is important for their personal and social life. This work has shown that consumer’s values towards luxury cosmetic brands have a notable influence on attitude and usage behavior. With India being a rapidly developing country and given its large and varied population, marketers must balance time and strate- gies in order to convert the attitude formation to behavior. We believe that this study is generalizable to other luxury segments. However, future researchers can study this model across various segments to identify moderating effects. Similarly, the results may also vary across various countries depending on GDP, individual income, cultures, level of collectivism and individualism and future researchers can also focus on this.

This study is limited to luxury cosmetic users. Apart from this group, affluent young people and students can be considered in the study be- cause these are the potential luxury buyers who can afford these pro- ducts in the future. Youngsters are prospective consumers in the market who tend to buy and experiment with various luxury cosmetic brands to discover one that reflects their image and meets their need. Since a young consumer’s proclivity to spend money is directed more by age than by income level, they may offer a different perspective of the field. Another interesting aspect of study that can be taken up by future re- searchers is the effect of perceived risk and safety of luxury cosmetics on the attitude and usage behavior of consumers. Expensive cosmetic brands may be perceived to be safer and less risky to use by the con- sumers as these brands invest in R & D activities to make their products healthy and free from side effects. Studying this relationship in the luxury cosmetic segment will provide interesting implications to mar- keters.

Notably, the findings relating to personal and social values also require further in-depth analysis from the perspective of emerging markets. Due to the rising level of luxury consumption among all eco- nomic classes, the value context among different sub economic classes can be explored. Future research on consumer awareness levels through advertisement and cross-cultural studies could help interpret the dif- ferences in attitude and behavior of people belonging to different cul- tures. Furthermore, the women in this study sample are not a complete representation of women in society and this study has not been specific to a particular age group. Future studies can investigate statistical dif- ferences in consumption behavior and purchase intention of women between different age groups, marital status may offer extensive in- sights.

No Comments

Post A Comment