Differences and similarities of Generation Y and X towards luxury goods Consumer behavior, Shida Yin

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With the development of the modern society, luxury goods have been increasingly drawn and purchased by all ages. Products associate with expensive attributions especially in areas of clothes and leather products are paid more attention in varying degree cross each age group. Solomon et al said that “Consumers in different age have different needs” (2013). Simplify, people belongs to same age tend to share similar beliefs, values and common cultural experiences. This article will compare two different age groups “Millennials” and “Generation X” to identify similarities and differences of purchasing behaviour in terms of luxury products. Furthermore, the Elaboration Likelihood Model will be applied to explain the arguments and gain a depth understanding of both generation’s purchasing behaviour towards luxury goods.

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Millennials—Generation Y

“Millennials are people born between 1980 and 1996” (Schiffman, Lazar Kanuk and Hansen, 2015). This generation grew up with technology and immersed in it. They are fascinated by stimulating activities and products and easily get bored. According to Schiffman, Lazar Kanuk and Hansen, millennials are more confident than other generation were at their age, as millennials live in a child centric households (2015). In terms of consumer, they prefer quickly renewed products, interactive marketing platforms and more personlised promotions. They are the largest group mobile phone users (Schiffman, Lazar Kanuk and Hansen, 2015). Thus, online advertisings could be seemed as the most effective way to reach them.

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Generation X

Generation X are people who born between 1965and 1977. They reached adulthood during difficult economic times (Kaylene C. Williams and Robert A. Page, 2014). They also witnessed the boom of computer. They have higher education than other generations. Pessimistic, and skeptical are most common attributes of them. Furthermore, they value family at first position, and balancing family, life, and work are important for them.

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Difference in motivation towards luxury goods

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Millennials has become the largest group and even exceed Baby Boomers. As luxury consumers, they are an incredible group. Although their power of consumption is lower than Baby Boomers and Generation X, they are more willing to pay money to the luxury products that have good quality and unique experience. “Millennials do not want to define themselves with the things they buy as they don’t see their purchases as achievements or trophies in the way former generations did (Danziger, 2011).” Instead, this generation tend to be attracted by memories like merit badges and exclusive experience. For example, Burberry achieve huge success among young generation by its decision to be the first brand invest in interactive social media communication platform. It used mainstream media such as Facebook, Instagram etc. and create a campaign called ‘Burberry World Live’ which purposes to mirror their website providing an exclusive experience (Belgin Yazıcı, 2016). This decision results that there are approximately 18 million followers on Facebook (Facebook.com, 2017), and 8.9 million followers on Instagram (Instagram.com, 2017), and these enormous audience can transfer to potential customers and make purchase in the future. Another important motivation different with Generation X is that Millennials want luxury goods on their own terms and deliver their own way. Simplify, they choose the luxury goods that have strong brand’s personality which fit with their own, which gives them a high comfort level (Belgin Yazıcı, 2016). Furthermore, social value is another important value for Millennials purchase luxury goods. Unlike Generation X do no concern too much family and friends think, Millennials care more about what people buy luxury brands and that other people’s opinions of how they wear and look is important.

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Unlike other generation, Generation X is entering their golden age of their career, and their consumption on luxury goods are predicted to rising in the future. Although both Generation X and Y agree luxury goods can satisfied their needs, there still are several differences between these age group. Generation X has less interpersonal motivations such as materialism, self-identity value and hedonic (Abby Foulkes, 2016). They are buying luxury goods to satisfied and meet their needs and quality standards based on products’ functional value. In other words, Generation X has less desire to gain social status by buying luxury products compare to Generation Y. They believe that pay more for luxury goods because its luxury value assurance such as quality, usability, uniqueness. Another distinctive feature of Generation X is that they think ‘exclusivity’ is an important element associate with luxury goods, while Millennials tend to feel like luxury goods are more accessible and easily to get.

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Difference in brand loyalty

The research has been completed so far state that Generation Y has low brand loyalty than previous generation. They are price-oriented consumers. As Lodes, Megan claimed that millennials are more easily affected by promotion (2009). In other words, price is valued as the most essential attributes when they purchase goods rather than an affection to certain brands. For example, millennial purchase more luxury goods from prestige luxury retailer such as Selfridges and Harrods in annual sale, but the brands are of almost no importance. In fact, they are not attracted brand, they prefer purchasing something that match their lifestyle or personality.

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In the contrast, Generation X is the most loyalty generation than other all. According to Kaylene C .Williams :“ They often shop at value-oriented retailers (2014).” They are often unsure of themselves and need to a reassurance for their purchase decision. Due to they have higher education than other generation, so they often have skeptical attitude toward advertising or promotion. Thus, they are hard to be approached by marketers and they are willing to pay a premium to the products that they think it worth. Furthermore, once they have built relationship and created strong brief in some areas, it is difficult to persuade them try or switch to other brands. It is more apparently in terms of luxury goods. Due to its high price, so the luxury products could be regarded as high involvement products. Generation X are more willing purchase the brands they used trust in, because the strong brand image and “reliable” concept has embedded in their mind.

Similarity of Millennials and Generation X’s attitude towards luxury goods

It is clear that both Generation X and Y buy luxury products for meet their personal needs and quality standards. Furthermore, luxury goods can be regarded as high involvement product to both two generation groups, so they all experienced a comprehensive before they make purchase decision. Another universal reason for people buy luxury products is that they all want to show off or gain acceptance from others in varying degrees.

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Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) apply in luxury products

Elaboration likelihood model was proposed by Richard E. petty and John Cacioppo. This theory provides a framework to make people gain a better understanding about how attitude formation and change basis on products. Generally, ELM illustrates that there are two different routes “Central route” and “Peripheral route” can be used to persuade people make purchasing decision.

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Central route suggests that persuasion will results from the consumer’s carefully consideration of the true attributes and authenticity of the information presented in positive side. This route involves high involvement elaboration, and message recipients has their own motivation and ability to process the information. Under this route, a large amount of cognitions about arguments will be generated by message recipients, meanwhile, their attitudes towards products has been formed. In terms of luxury products, basically, both Generation X and Y can follow central route. Due to the high price of luxury products, both generations have to thoughtfully considerate the value of products and the information presented to them. Simplify, they evaluate what exactly the luxury product brings to them rather than simply be persuaded by marketers. The elements such as social status, function, brand image and intrinsic cues and so on are all be processed by themselves. Meanwhile, some basic cognitions and attitudes toward product will be formed. Finally, the purchase decision will be affected based on the attitudes and cognitions formed or changed by themselves.

On the other side, peripheral route can be applied when message recipients do not have much interest or their ability cannot underpin them to process the messages thoroughly. Under this route, message recipients moor willing to believe in general impressions, mood, positive and negative cues of the persuasion context rather than thoughtful consideration. Generally, low involvement products such as a bottom of water, gadgets, cups etc. usually follow peripheral route. People usually attracted by design, color, extrinsic cues rather than intrinsic cues. When it comes to consumer behaviour of Generation X and Y in luxury goods, to some extent, Generation Y also follow the peripheral. They are more affected by extrinsic cues such as color, design, price compare to Generation X.

Although this model provides a framework to help up understand the process of attuited change or formed, it still has limitation. The main drawback is that this model based on the classification of processing styles but ignore the classification of objective cues. In other words, it only explains that the process results from motivational sate, but the motivational state cannot be predicted. Overall, ELM provides a depth explanation to help us gain a better understanding of the process of attitude change and formed.

Conclusion

Generation X and Y have different motivations and different brand loyalty towards luxury goods. Unique experience, social value, and brand’s personality fits Generation Y’s own are the key factors driven them purchase luxury goods. Generation X are more persuade by quality, usability and exclusivity. Generation X show a higher brand loyalty than Y. Overall, Generation X and Y both have willingness to purchase luxury goods. They all claim that luxury goods can satisfied their personal needs and improve their quality standards.

Reference

Solomon, M., Barmossy, G., Askegaard, S. and Hogg, M. (2013). Consumer behaviour. 1st ed. Harlow (England) [etc.]: Pearson, P.9.

Schiffman, L., Lazar Kanuk, L. and Hansen, H. (2015). Consumer behaviour. 1st ed. Harlow: Pearson. P.329

Kaylene C. Williams, Robert A. Page. (2014) Marketing to the Generations. Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business

Solomon, M., Barmossy, G., Askegaard, S. and Hogg, M. (2015). Consumer behaviour. 1st ed. Harlow (England) [etc.]: Pearson. P.466

Solomon, M., Barmossy, G., Askegaard, S. and Hogg, M. (2015). Consumer behaviour. 1st ed. Harlow (England) [etc.]: Pearson. P.67

Danziger, P.N. (2011). Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How New Consumer Values are Redefining the Way We Market Luxury. Paramount Market Publishing

Belgin Yazıcı, (2016). Attitudes of generation Y towards luxury products and youth-Led change in luxury consumption behaviour. The Turkish Online Journal of Design, Art and Communication - TOJDAC July 2016 Volume 6 Issue 3

Facebook.com. (2017). Burberry. [online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Burberry/likes/?ref=page_internal [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].

Instagram.com. (2017). Burberry (@burberry) • Instagram photos and videos. [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/burberry/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2017].

Abby Foulkes. (2016). A comparison of luxury perceptions of Generation X and Y consumers in the United Kingdom. Kinston University

Lodes, Megan, Buff, Cheryl L. (2009) Are Generation Y (Millennial) consumers brand loyal and is their buying behavior affected in an economic recession? A preliminary study. Journal of Academy of Business and Economics. March, 2009 Source Volume: 9 Source Issue: 3

Kaylene C. Williams, Robert A. Page. (2014) Marketing to the Generations. Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business

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