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Essay: Luxury Accessories Brand as Gift for Sustainable Relationship

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Luxury Accessories Brand as Gift for Sustainable Relationship
Sub theme: Marketing
Key Words: Luxury Accessories brands, Gift giving, Buying behavior, Cultural Influences, New rich Indian Consumers
Purpose: India has number of occasions to celebrate like festivals, wedding etc. With every occasions and situations, Indians tend to give gifts to each other. Luxury buying signifies a symbolic, heritage, social and aesthetics value. When such type of luxury brands are shared or gifted in a community it supports an acceptance in the desired social class.
Objectives: This paper will explore the luxury accessories gift giving behavior for the new rich Indian consumers.
Design and Findings: The study will be based on exploratory research. The finding of the study will benefit the luxury accessories brands in India with specific customer acquisition strategies.
Scope of the study: In future study on gender preference for luxury accessory gifts can be study for Indian market.
Limitation: The study will be restricted only in Delhi, NCR area.
1. Introduction
India has a rich culture of gifting and sharing. In the royal era the gifting was more focused on luxury goods. With the change in the market and the evolvement of the new rich in the society, they are equally busy to gift luxury products.
The range of luxury products gifted during occasions are varied including : Luxury pens, hand bags, valets , jewelry ,mobile cover , key chains, belts ,home decor products, confectionary , Holiday packages, hotel services etc. The idea of gifting luxury products also makes the business operation run sustainable .As these small items run the flow of business effetely.
There is a remarkable growth in the luxury market in last couple of years. Because of the changing luxury markets worldwide of luxury brands, there are many new segments of consumers coming up in the market. Luxury products differ in gifting intensions in Asia and in Europe world. Based on new rich consumers the preference of luxury gifting is gaining confidence.
Literature Review
In the area of gift giving literature is studied from various fields like anthropology, economic, social and cultural aspects of luxury gift giving. It’s important to understand the meaning of gift. Gift as a product propagates sustainable relationship and behavior between the gift giver and the receiver. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Gove, 1993) defines a gift as “something that is voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation” (p. 953). The ancient practice of gift giving has significantly influenced cultures around the world, and it remains a crucial part of the process of creating and maintaining social relationships among each other (Sherry, 1983).
Consumers have been found to spend more than 10 percent of their household income on gifts items (Shama & Thompson 1989). Garner & Wagner (1991) found that consumers are spending over $110 billion each year in the United States on gift giving prospects. Additionally, research in the area shows that if income increases, extra-household gift giving increases, while, when income decreases, people reduce extra-household gift expenditures (Garner & Wagner, 1991).There is a lack of literature investigating the amount of household income spent by Indian for Gifting purposes.
Gift giving could be called a universal social process of acceptance (Belk, 1976). Research findings clearly tie it to the process of creating and maintaining social relationships, which are long lasting because of effective gift selection (Sherry, 1983). Given that each relationship is unique, gift giving varies with the circumstance and the relationship’making it highly contextual to different context (Sherry, 1983). Although women have been found to be the primary gift-giving decision makers, research has shown that men actually spend more money on individual gifts than women (Rugimbana et al., 2003).For Indian market women plays an important role for gift selection and buying process.
2.1 Gift Receivers
Common self-centered intentions but without spending too much money or time on acquiring a relevant gift, is an important concert. Cash generally is the most convenient gift, worldwide. Common self-centered intentions also include fulfilling obligations; maintaining relationships; wanting to appear generous, responsible, knowledgeable, or sophisticated; exerting influence or control; and signaling social standing, respect, affection (Camerer, 1988; Sherry, 1983).With the loud culture in north India , gift giving heavily depends on some or expensive luxury products is the new trend in the market. Affection varies greatly in kind, as do gifts that signal the intended kind of affection (Belk & Coon, 1993). Jewelry and lingerie send more intimate messages than cash and toasters, for example, while a gift of bold apparel may serve to criticize or influence the recipient’s tastes. There is a lack of literature, in India, the well to do families tend to give jewelry or other expensive luxury products as these products are also passed on from generation to generation .
Recipient-centered intentions are altruistic by nature (Belk and Coon, 1993); they motivate givers to seek gifts recipients want, desire and value (Sherry, 1983). To varying degrees, the value recipients place on gifts ‘ including cash, traditional non-cash items, and gift cards ‘ depends on the following:
1. Symbolic and sentimental value ‘ Emotions aroused by inferences derived from a gift about the giver’s intentions or disposition toward the recipient is a concern (Camerer, 1988; Khalil, 2004). Giver concerns about a gift’s symbolic or sentimental value may be self- or recipient-centered.
2. Serendipity ‘ Pleasant surprise, which sometimes is considered gift’s most valued benefit. For instance, a gift of opera tickets that the recipient would not have bought might lead unexpectedly to a pleasant experience. Likewise, receiving a boutique- or a 5 start restaurant invitation -specific gift card may culminate in a joyful experience the recipient would have missed. For Indian consumer, there is a lack literature, which supports the tendency of pleasant surprise. In Asia, the elders tend to gift the younger’s with a sense of pleasant surprise with it.
3. Guilt relief ‘ The extent to which paying for personal luxuries, such as jewelry, with a gift card or a gift of cash alleviates guilt (Kivetz & Keinan, 2006). Tensions commonly exist between prudence and indulgence. They are moderated by regret for having been imprudent and, thus, having jeopardized future well-being or by regret for having been too prudent to enjoy life (Burnett & Lunsford, 1994; Keinan & Kivetz, 2008).
2.2 Self Gifting process:
Self-gifts represent a complex class of personal acquisitions that offer intriguing insights on self-directed consumer buying behavior (Mick & DeMoss 1990b). ‘Self gift theory will likely benefit from drawing on additionally relevant psychological research’ (Mick & DeMoss, 1990b p. 329) since ‘with rich and complex qualities, self-gifts provide a window through which consumer behavior can be viewed in some of its most adaptive, dramatic and personal significant forms’ (Mick and DeMoss, 1990b p.331).
As demonstrated by its name and definition, one of the predominant aspects of self gifting is the direct focus and communication with the self. According to Markus and Kitayama, self-construal can be conceptualized by the degree of independence/interdependence that any consumer possesses. They further state that all people contain both an independent and interdependent self, but that the culture in which they are bought up in influences which one dominates. For example, those from the Western driven culture are more self and materialistic oriented compared to Asian consumers and their lifestyles. Indian prefers to buy luxury gift to show off their status and the group they are into.
2.3 Gift Selection Process:
The internal search involves conceptions of oneself, the receiver or people related, and the gift. The internal search can lead to the selection criteria used by a giver to decide which item is suitable to give as a gift. Criteria that have been identified in previous studies include the price or value of an gift item (Belk, 1979; Sherif & Sherif, 1963), the practicability or functionality of an item (Belk, 1979; Yale, 1993; Johnson, 1974) but for luxury gift items functionality and utility are not very important issue and product appearance and packaging, quality, availability, and fashion ability of an item (Witkowski &Yamanoto, 1991).For luxury product the gift items have specific packaging .The external search for a gift is a fundamental aspect of the gift acquisition process.
Specifically, it involves looking for gifts in appropriate stores (Sherry, 1983). The gift acquisition process is characterized by the amount of effort that is exerted in purchasing or
Creating the gift items (Beatty et al., 1991).
2.4 Gift Giving in West and East:
The gift giving culture in west is very materialistic. Based on the cultural influences of west, the gift giving in west is motivated by self gifting process (Mick & DeMoss, 1990)
Most Eastern gift giving research focuses mainly on China and Japan. Yau et al. (1999) developed a model to describe Chinese gift giving. The model includes collectivistic cultural values such as the concept of face, relationship, and reciprocity. Wang et al. (2001) examined the gift-giving behavior of Chinese who live in urban and rural areas, adopting the list of values scales developed by Beatty, Kahle & Homer (1991). Joy (2001) examined Chinese gift giving in various relationships, by interviewing students from Hong Kong Universities. Minowa &
Gould (1999) examined gender differences in romantic gift-giving practices of Japanese consumers in Tokyo. Lotz, Shim & Gehrt (2003) examined Japanese consumers’ cognitive hierarchies, in a gift-giving context. Their study indicates that Japanese consumer’s cognitive hierarchical flow from most- to least-abstract cognitions remain intact regardless f the gift-giving situation.
2.5 Gift Giving Occasions:
General gift-giving occasions can be classified into different categories such as occasions for achievement, special occasions, recurring occasions, and other occasions (Yau et al,
1999). Achievement occasions relate to those important events when the gift receiver achieved something in his/her career, study, or life, such as a promotion, an award, a graduation, or an acceptance to a prestigious university. Recurring occasions include Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and anniversaries that occur annually. Special occasions are particularly meaningful moments in life such as the birth of a baby, a wedding, or moving to a new home. Weddings are one of the most important special gifts giving occasions, and are usually non-recurring in nature. Along with the structured ritual or ceremony, wedding gift-giving is usually more formal than for other occasions and is unique. Very few in-depth studies have been conducted, however, on wedding gift-giving rituals (Belk, 1983; Park, 1998).
2.6 Gender Differences in gift giving:
Researches have indicated that men do not prefer to do much gifting exercise, they feel pressurized (Mc Granth, 1995). The women is the chief anchor in the gift giving practice (Beatty et. al. 1993)
2.7 Gaps in literature
These gaps range from methodological weaknesses to specific topical areas that have been overlooked by researchers. There are some gaps in relative study of gender influence in luxury gift giving. There is a significant gap of literature related to Indian cultural significance of luxury gifting in that contexts.
3 Research methods
The research paper is exploratory by nature. The objectives of the paper are as follows: to explore the luxury accessories gift giving behavior for the new rich Indian consumers.
Data collection Techniques: In depth Interviews: as the nature of the study is exploratory by nature, so qualitative tool will provide better insights in the area of new rich consumers and their buying behavior towards luxury accessories products. The basis of this study will further help in developing appropriate variables effecting gender gift giving intentions.
The profile of the interviewee: the age of the respondent varies from 21-45 years; they are independent, handling their business as well as few in their jobs. They have in past 2 years gifted at least one luxury product to their friends/ family / extended families
4. Discussion and result:
The data derived from in depth interviews and secondary sources is analysis through content analysis technique. Based on the in- depth interview of 31 respondent. Following main issues were investigated:
Occasion of buying Highest responses Luxury Gift items Gift giving motives Importance
Birth day 21-45 years Watches , belts ,Sunglasses Toy set ,Perfumes , key chains, Cosmetics, Pen Feels blessed , happy , you are important ,priceless High
Anniversaries 30-45 years Jewelry , hand bags, Belts , wallets , mobile cover, Pen set Elders must do it. High
Wedding gifts 30-45 years Jewellary , Hand bags, valets set , Watches set, pen set, Home decor Special , for the new beginning High
Diwali gift 24-45 years Watches , belts ,Sunglasses, Perfumes , key chains, Cosmetics, Home decor New year , cherish the relationship High
Karvachath gifts 30- 45 years Watches , belts ,Sunglasses Perfumes , key chains, Cosmetics, luxury spectacles frames, Luxury jewelry brands, Home decor Gifts given by in laws, my family is the best Medium to low
Mother’s day , father’s day 21- 25 years Pen , Valets ,Belts To show the love and care Low
Valentine gifts 21- 27 years Jewellary , sunglass , watches , hand bags Making you feel special , important Medium to high
Table 1: Summary of Analysis
The result shows that the cross cultural influences like the occasions ‘ mother’s day, father’s day are important but not as relevant as other occasions. Indian cultural occasion like festivals like Diwali plays an important occasion for gift giving. Family related events like wedding, anniversary plays a significant role in gift giving opportunities. It also comes from the interview that for birthday gifts, in case it’s for friends, the product is a cumulative purchase of the group. And for it group buying intension and satisfaction is equally important.
In the age bracket of 30- 45 years wants to give gift for showing the care, concert, power in the family or relationship, being elders as a feeling to share gifts with others. In the age bracket of 21-25 years wants to gift to show their responsibility, that they are ready, they are committed, trying to prove the relationship. There are similar supports from the literature of (Camerer, 1988; Sherry, 1983).
The gift items which are most favored in ‘ Dior baby kit, channel cosmetic kit , Cartier- jewelry ; Mont Blac- pen set; Louis vuttion , Burberry, Fendi – belt , valet , sunglasses; Armani home accessories product ,Armani, Hugo boss, Fendi- spectacles; Channel- Cosmetics
It’s coming evident that as Indian are very family / group oriented so the buying intentions for gifts are always for others ‘ family members, friends. Luxury gift buying is it individual or group decision, it creates a sustainable relationship with the buyer and the brand because of the type of the gifts. Most of the respondents were very particular to buy specific type of product from specific brand. The literature Beatty, Kahle & Homer (1991) supports the fact that the gift giving intention is different west and Asian countries based on the cultural issues of the consumers
This study can be further taken up with detail investigations of the variables effecting at different age brackets with their gender, to study the preference of luxury gifting items. The study can de further supported in the area repurchase buying intention of luxury gifts from the same brand to continue the sustainable relationship with customer.
This shows with age the preference of luxury products for different occasion and the motives for them. This can be treated as part of store engagement strategy for the sales professional at the store for selling extra products during special season and occasion. Also likewise for gifting purpose product communication better communication strategy can be planned.
5 Summary
This study leads to further new area of investigation. Gifting to others is not a new thing in Indian society but in the new rich community the exclusive luxury is an added advantage. Today gifts are associated with high value and the luxury gift also signifies a high esteem for the gift giver. It is interesting to note that the worth of the gift is decided not by the price value but by the added customization to in, which makes it more special. The study is focused to only Delhi and NCR. Further in the study opinion of south Indian customers can be taken. In the study the sub cultural issues of gifting along with the gender preferences can also be investigated.
6 Bibliography
Beatty, E. K. (1993). ‘Gift-Giving Behaviors in the United States and Japan: A Personal Values Perspective. Journal of International Consumer Marketing , 49-66.
Belk, R. W. (1993). Gift Giving as Agapic Love: An Alternative to the Exchange. Journal of Consumer Research , 393-417.
Belk, R., & Coon, G. (1993). Gift giving and agapic love: an alternative to the exchange paradigm based on dating experiences’, . Journal of Consumer Research , pp 393-417.
Burgoyne, C., & Routhb, D. (1991). Constraints on the use of money as a gift at Christmas: the role of status and intimacy. Journal of Economic Psychology, , pp 47-68.
Burnett, M., & Lunsford, D. (1994). Conceptualize guilt in the consumer decision-making process Journal of. Journal of Consumer Marketing , pp. 33-43.
Camerer, C. (1988). Gifts as economic signals and social symbols . American Journal of Sociology .
Joy, A. (2001). Gift Giving in Hong Kong and the Continuum of Social Ties. . Journal of Consumer Research .
Kashani, K. (1990). Can Sales Promotion Go Global? Business Horizon .
Khalil, E. (2004). The gift paradox: complex selves and symbolic good. Review of Social Economy , 379-92.
Kim, C. L. (2004). The Chinese in Canada: A Study in Ethnic Change with Emphasis on Gender Roles. The Journal of Social Psychology .
Kivetz, R., & Keinan, A. (2006). Repenting hyperopia: an analysis of self-control regrets . Journal of Consumer Research , pp. 273-82.
Park, S.-Y. (1998). A Comparison of Korean and American Gift-Giving Behaviours. Psychology & Marketing , 577-593.
Sherry , J. (1983). Gift Giving in Anthropological Perspective. Journal of Consumer Research , p p157-168.
Sherry, J. (1983). Gift giving in anthropological perspective. Journal of Consumer Research , PP157-68.
Webley, P., & Wilson, R. (1989). Social relationships and the unacceptability of money as a gift. Journal of Social Psychology , pp. 85-91.
Yau, E.A. (1999). Influence of Chinese Cultural Values on Consumer Behaviour: A Proposed Model of Gift-Purchasing Behaviour in Hong Kong. Journal of International Consumer Marketing , pp 97-116.
Yau, O. H., & Lau, K. F. (1999). Influence of Chinese Cultural Values on Consumer Behaviour: A Proposed Model of Gift-Purchasing Behaviour in Hong Kong,. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, , PP97-116.

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