Young consumers and perception of brands in Hong Kong: A qualitative study

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Journal of Product & Brand Management, ISSN: 1061-0421, Vol: 15, Issue: 7, Page: 416-426

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Chan, Kara
Business, Management and Accounting; Youth; Brands; Consumer behaviour; Hong Kong; Communication
article description
Purpose The purpose of the article is to explore young people's perceptions of the desirability of brands and brand ownership in Hong Kong using drawings and open-ended questions. Design-methodology-approach A total of 48 Chinese children aged 13 to 19 were asked to draw what comes to their minds for two statements: “This young person has a lot of new and expensive branded goods”; and, “This young person does not have a lot of branded goods”. After drawing, respondents were personally interviewed to answer four questions associating possessions of branded goods with happiness, friendship, and personality traits. Findings Analysis of the drawings and interviews indicated that there were significant differences in young people's perceptions of someone with or without a lot of branded goods in terms of type of possessions, leisure activities, observable qualities and personality traits. Respondents were more likely to relate possessions of branded goods with happiness, friendship, and self-esteem. A person with a lot of branded goods however, was perceived as arrogant, wasteful, vain and superficial. A person without a lot of branded goods was perceived as easygoing, friendly and down-to-earth. Results demonstrate that respondents were able to appreciate the value of possessions based on emotional attachment, personality association and social meaning. The results supported John's model of consumer socialization that children and young people in the reflective stage of consumer socialization could understand fully the value of possessions. Practical implications Markets and advertisers that target young Chinese consumers should be sensitive to their negative association of personality traits and possessions of branded goods with arrogance and wastefulness. They can encourage the instrumental materialism of how to use branded goods to enhance friendship and to achieve self-defining goals. Originality-value Based on these findings, three hypotheses were proposed about young people's perceptions of possessions that can be further tested in a quantitative survey. © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited