The Picture of Luxury: A Comprehensive Examination of College Student Consumers' Relationship with Luxury Brands

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Psychology & Marketing






This study examines college student consumers' relationship with luxury brands through two studies. Study 1 analyzes collages to determine what represents luxury to them, how consumers perceive their relationships with luxury, and who they are as luxury consumers. Study 2 analyzes qualitative interviews to validate the findings of Study 1 and to add further insights. Results of Study 1 suggest that college student consumers represent a vibrant segment in the luxury market. These consumers perceive a wide variety of products and brands as meeting their luxury needs. They are currently interested in luxury and their potential will only increase as their incomes do. Results of Study 2 confirms their views of luxury and emphasizes the critical roles social media, peers, and family play in influencing college student consumers' luxury consumption and provide insights for how to build an emotional bond with them. Luxury marketers can build brand relationships with college student consumers by offering them entry‐level products as they are current luxury consumers and see their consumption expanding in the future. Given that college student consumers are both vulnerable and savvy in recognizing when they are being manipulated, caution needs to be taken in approaching this segment in relationship‐building efforts.