Research looks at why big spenders no longer want to show-off

22 July 2013

Professor Paurav Shukla

Professor Paurav Shukla

Flash cars, diamonds, and designer labels: the spending habits of consumers and showing off your latest purchases will be the subject of a new research project by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

With the help of funding from the British Academy, researchers will look at lavish spending in recession-hit Britain and compare this with India’s rapidly growing consumer market, particularly focusing on luxury goods.

As the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, the project will hope to give greater insight into the spending habits of buyers. And it is expected to show that while people are still attracted to buying luxury items, they are less likely and more conscientious about exhibiting their latest designer purchasers.

Professor Paurav Shukla from GCU’s Glasgow School for Business and Society attributes this to the psychology of consumers, saying: “Buyers are continuing to purchase luxury brands, a trend which has continued despite Britain’s recession.

“However, there is a change in the attitudes of buyers that marketers should be aware of. While consumers are still spending on luxury brands and technology, many of these same consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how they display their wealth, trying not to offend or show-off.

“We are seeing a conscientious consumer emerging in the current climate and the research we will be conducting will inform brands looking to attract buyers in terms of how to engage with this new mindset of consumers.”

The one-year research project will also provide an insight into the spending habits of Indian consumers, one of the fastest-growing luxury markets in the world.

Professor Shukla continued: “India’s economy is growing at 6.1% and luxury brands are seeing tremendous growth. Analysts suggest that the Indian luxury market will demonstrate a year-on-year growth of 600% over the next few years.

“However, there is always an emphasis on modesty and humility in Indian culture and brands must ensure they understand the markets they are communicating to. Our research will strive to bring greater insight into how people not only buy, but how they choose to showcase their wealth in public.”

Professor Paurav Shukla will lead the research in collaboration with Dr Keyoor Purani of the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode and the results will be published in journal articles, conference papers and research workshops.

This will establish the grounds for a large-scale multi-country study as well as potentially influencing how luxury brands market and target their consumers through advertising campaigns.