Levy (1959) suggests that symbolic consumption means that people purchase products not only to acquire their functional reasons but also to acquire symbolic meanings of the products in relation to their self-concept in that they want to convey messages to others about themselves and their lifestyle. It is very important that we understand what symbolic consumption is because it will influence the way in which consumers will behave in the process of product selection in order to communicate to others about themselves and their lifestyles.
As Levy has suggested, consumers do not purchase particular products just for the sake of their functional reasons, but consumers buy them for their symbolic meanings as well. The reason for this can be explained in the following.
In the terms of consumer buying behaviour, it can be influenced by their interactions with their reference groups (Blackwell et.al.,2001). Solomon et. al (2002) point out the term ‘symbolic interactionism’ in which it is stressed that relationship with other people (referred to as reference group) will greatly influence the formation of the self and that in order to succeed in the interaction process in the social circle, the choice of products or brands will play an important role because the way consumers make selections will give the representation of themselves and communicate their status messages and that that choice will depend on what ways will they want the messages to be conveyed. Products possessed by consumers will represent their symbolic attributes in which they will try to obtain positive reactions from their references.
Therefore by using symbolic products or brands which cater to the distinct lifestyle that they want to communicate to others, it enables consumers to publicise the social position they want to strive to others within the social attire. Through symbolic consumption, consumers can... [continues]
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