Negative Emotions Toward Luxury Goods: An International Comparison of Very Wealthy Consumers


  • Roux E.
  • Barnier V. De
  • Bacellar C.T.
  • Mo Tingting

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This paper explores the previously unstudied emotions, especially of a negative variety, that very wealthy customers experience when they consume luxury goods and services. We conducted an interpretative, qualitative study in China and Brazil that focused on very affluent consumer's group. We carried out 29 in-depth interviews with 14 wealthy Brazilian and 15 Chinese consumers. We compared the Brazilian and Chinese samples with a classification that distinguishes between the primary emotions of anger, fear, and sadness as well as secondary emotions such as guilt and shame, also considered as selfconscious emotions. Our results show that wealthy Brazilian and Chinese consumers experience negative emotions that are similar in many respects, but differ in others. ``Gaining face'' is a very important issue in Chinese culture and, therefore, stands out for Chinese wealthy people. In contrast, being born in an already rich family or ``having a cradle'' as expressed by Brazilians interviewees, is a source of pride for Brazilian consumers. Wealthy consumers in both cultures fear violence and being envied. However, the Chinese participants more specifically expressed a fear of being different in a collective culture and a fear of losing face. We only observed a concern for the devaluation of luxury products among the Chinese participants. The phenomenon of new rich consumers' improper behavior and consumption provoked two different reactions between the samples: the Brazilians reported anger, and the Chinese reported sadness. Finally, Brazilian informants tended to slightly express more guilt and no shame, whereas Chinese informants expressed more shame. © 2017, Academy of Marketing Science.

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