Is Masstige the New Luxury? Factors Driving Conspicuous Consumption of Masstige Fashion Among the Youth in Africa

Marike Venter De Villiers


The luxury industry continues to grow, especially in developing countries like China, India, South America and Africa (Barrera & Ponce, 2020), with South Africa leading the luxury fashion market in Africa (Kenneth, 2019). This is largely due to the rise of the middle-class consumer who seek opulence and aspire to have lavish lifestyles by spending their money on luxury products. This phenomenon has engendered a new category of luxury products called ‘masstige’ products (Kumar, Paul & Unnithan, 2020). Masstige is popularly known as high-quality products that are financially accessible to a large segment of the middle class consumer (Das, Saha & Balaji, 2021). This study focused on Millennial consumers, and one hundred and fifty-three (153) participants were asked to complete an online survey. Millennials are confident, ambitious, achievement-orientated, tech-savvy and crave attention (Kane, 2019). They have been exposed to technology and social media from a young age, and as a result, have created an illusion of what the ‘ideal’ life should look like. Conspicuous consumption is a growing phenomenon in South Africa as young consumers are increasingly seeking luxury goods as a result of their exposure to social media (Dubihlela & Dubihlela, 2016). This study therefore aimed to investigate the factors that influence conspicuous consumption of luxury fashion brands amongst Generation Y consumers. By means of a proposed conceptual model, five hypotheses were tested, namely materialism, peer pressure, self-brand congruency, social status, self-brand congruency, and it’s influence on conspicuous consumption. It was therefore quantitative in nature and the questionnaire adopted 5-point Likert scales where various statements were adapted from existing literature to ensure maximum credibility and reliability of the study. The data was analysed using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and path modelling to test the hypotheses. This study provides masstige fashion brands with a better understanding of Generation Y consumers and their brand consumption. It further provides insight into how masstige brands can more effectively target this target market while focussing on the most prominent factors that influence conspicuous consumption.


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