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Further research

Further research can help to clarify questions raised by findings that contrast with earlier research, for example, gender differences in materialism. Because participants in this study were limited to university students from two countries, future research that uses a wider variety of participants (e.g. age, country) could clarify some of the questions about materialism. Additional cross-cultural studies are called for that examine fashion brand sensitivity or fashion brand consciousness with respect to individualism and collectivism, especially in developing regions such as China and South Africa where little research has been done. Other constructs related to fashion(reference websie: consumer behaviour can be investigated as related to materialistic beliefs. For example, Richins (1994) research regarding materialistic consumers and the value they place on publicly consumed items because of the ability to symbolize success and prestige might be extended to luxurybrand fashion. Ready-to-wear fashion was the top category among eight categories of luxury brand products at 26% of the market (Tilley, 2001). Luxury-brand consumption may be related to the value of power. Recall that power involves concern for social status and prestige plus a desire to control people and resources (i.e. via wealth, authority and social power). Vanity is another construct that may be related to materialistic beliefs. In particular, achievement vanity may be manifested when individuals display material goods to make their personal achievements, success or social status obvious to others (Netemeyer et al., 1995). The current research was based on the assumption that by virtue of living in the US, participants were more inclined to hold individualistic values or by virtue of living in Korea, participants were more inclined to hold collectivist values. A measure such as the collectivism scale (Trandis, 1995) to verify this inclination would add to the strength of the research. Likewise, although conceptually the results were consistent with the basic human values identified by Schwartz (1994), we did not empirically measure the extent to which participants held these values. Future research could use the Schwartz Value Survey which was designed to be applicable to both Western and non-Western cultures.
25.1.11 03:03


Practical implications

Marketing and advertising appeals to individual choice would be consistent with the interests of fashion(reference website: consumers. Consistent with Richins and Dawson (1992) and Rotzoll (1992), fashion change agents search for meaning in fashion possessions, value individual choice in that search, and rely upon manufacturers and retailers to provide a wide variety of products from which to choose. Also, as shown in the results, there were significant differences in materialism between Korean and American consumers. These differences may be explained by the essential cultural motivations for materialism. This study found that, compared to Koreans, US consumers scored higher on the centrality subscale. This is consistent with previous research (e.g. Schaefer et al., 2004) that found consumers from more individualistic countries were more materialistic than consumers from less individualistic countries. However, in the success and happiness subscales, Korean consumers were more materialistic than US consumers. This may mean that collectivistic cultures such as Korea, rooted in Confucian traditional values that focus on thrift or spiritual value rather than materialistic values, have been influenced by Western values or lifestyles. According to Ger and Belk (1996), in general, the spread of consumer culture has been from Western cultures to Eastern cultures. However, despite the spread of Western influence, currently consumer culture is neither identical nor homogenous due to social change, mobility and globalization. These changes in our contemporary world seem to promote materialism regardless of the type of culture. Thus, consumers from both individualistic countries such as the US and collectivistic countries such as Korea can be materialistic – however, the expression of materialism within the two countries may be different – as this research found. These results suggest that international firms need to understand and to respect the diversity and complexity of materialistic values among global consumers, and to provide different marketing strategies in each culture. For example, advertising products as symbols of success and happiness may be more appealing to Korean consumers than US consumers.
25.1.11 03:01

Theoretical implications

Values, the broad principles that guide behaviour, are culturallydependent. This research examined how males and females and fashion(reference website: ) consumer groups from two different cultures differed in materialistic values. Based on the notion that the self-centred nature of materialism conflicts with collective-oriented values and is consistent with individualistic-oriented values, it was expected that participants from Korea (a collectivistic country) would be less materialistic than participants from the US (an individualistic country). However, results showed that Korean participants considered possessions more important as indicators of success and more necessary for happiness than US participants. Results are consistent with Hofstede’s (1980) findings of Korea as a collectivist culture where individuals are concerned with being part of a larger group and therefore likely to be concerned with group norms, helping to explain why Korean participants considered possessions important as indicators of success and necessary for happiness. Conversely, US participants as members of an individualist culture might place higher importance on acquiring possession. Results are consistent with the notion that because there is variation in values among individuals from different cultures, materialism is likely to vary by culture. However, variation in materialistic values among individuals within any one culture is likely to be as significant as variation between cultures. For example, a perusal of Table 3 shows that standard deviations on the three dimensions of materialism reflected greater variability among US participants than among Korean participants. Results of this research supported the notion that basic human values identified by Schwartz (1994) were related to materialism. Fashion change agents and fashion followers, fashion consumer groups who are known to differ in their consumer behaviour, were found to differ in materialistic values such that fashion change agents were more materialistic than fashion followers.
25.1.11 02:59

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