Counterfeit luxury consumption strategies in a collectivistic culture: the case of China

Jiahan Li, Mahsa Ghaffari, Lin Su

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    The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand the risk-reducing strategies used by Chinese consumers in a collectivistic culture to balance the psychological dichotomy they face when consuming counterfeit luxury products to construct their social identities. Consumers, on the one hand, are tempted to buy counterfeit luxury products due to their remarkable price advantages, whilst on the other hand, they are reluctant to use these products given the fear of being socially caught out. This dissonance intensifies in a collectivistic culture, where the concept of social face is important. The study involved reviewing a large volume of literature on the research of non-deceptive counterfeit luxury consumption, based on which, 26 semi-structured in-depth interviews among Chinese consumers were conducted to explore strategies used by consumers to construct their social identity through using counterfeit luxury products. In addition, the ways they select and use these products to avoid being caught out in order to maintain their constructed social identity were investigated. The data were analyzed by adopting Mitchell’s (1992) risk reduction framework and the findings illustrate the different strategies taking place through two separate consumption phases: pre-purchase and post-purchase. This research offers new insights into non-deceptive counterfeit consumption by introducing perceived risk and risk-reduction strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)546-560
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Brand Management
    Issue number5
    Early online date7 May 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


    • non-deceptive counterfeit
    • social identity
    • social risk
    • risk reduction
    • China


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