The consumer is King and consumption defines individual behavior which America takes to be almost wholly personal, completely outside the purview of policy and social concern. But what type of consumption is it and how much influence should each type of consumption wield on marketing and brand building?
There are definitions all over the place talking up conspicuous consumption, “the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power—either the buyer’s income or the buyer’s accumulated wealth.”
Then there’s “competitive consumption.” Not so much has been written on this type of consumption: the idea that spending is in large part driven by a comparative or competitive process in which individuals try to keep up with their peers raises questions about what is the appropriate marketing strategy? Does the type of consumption depend on the country and what stage it is at with its development? For instance competitive consumption is prevalent in China, but not so much in the West where it’s more conspicuous consumption?