The effect of materialism on conspicuous vs inconspicuous luxury consumption: focused on need for uniqueness, self-monitoring and self-construal

Minyoung Lee, Joonheui Bae, Dong Mo Koo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Previous research on luxury consumption has focused on conspicuous consumption; however, research on consumers' self-conceptual mechanism in inconspicuous luxury consumption context is scarce. The present study aims to investigate various self-concepts and their mechanisms for inconspicuous and conspicuous luxury consumption. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment with 215 participants from online survey website was conducted, and the hypotheses were tested using PROCESS Macro 3.4. Findings: The study findings are as follows. Materialistic consumers' preference between inconspicuous and conspicuous luxury products is dependent on distinctive self-conceptual mechanism. More specifically, materialistic consumers with independent self-construal prefer inconspicuous luxury brands because of high need for uniqueness, whereas non-materialistic consumers with interdependent self-construal prefer conspicuous luxury products because of high self-monitoring. Research limitations/implications: The present study uniquely shows conditions (moderated mediation) that the link between need for uniqueness (self-monitoring) and luxury consumption is stronger for those with independent (interdependent) self-construal than for those with interdependent (independent) self-construal. The present results extend and help better understanding of mechanisms and conditions of conspicuous and inconspicuous luxury consumption. Practical implications: Marketers are advised to design and produce unique vs popular luxury brands depending on consumer's motives and different self-concepts. Originality/value: This research contributes to extant literature by distinguishing between conspicuous and inconspicuous luxury consumption with two different mechanisms (need for uniqueness and self-monitoring). The present study further demonstrates that the two mechanisms are strongly sustained differently depending on consumer's levels of self-construal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-887
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Inconspicuous luxury
  • Materialism
  • Moderated mediation
  • Need for uniqueness
  • Self-construal
  • Self-monitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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