Byrne, Rachel (2014) To examine the relationships that Irish Millennial consumers have with luxury brands and whether social media creates a greater emotional connection and influences purchase decisions. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.
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This research was conducted in order to examine the relationships that Irish Millennial consumers have with luxury brands and whether social media creates a greater emotional connection and influences purchase decisions. This was done through answering three objectives the first being to understand the role that the recession has played in the changing face of the luxury brand consumer. This objective was needed to address if consumer purchase behaviour for luxury brands had been affected since the recession, as the literature had conflicting views on this. The second objective was to understand consumer’s relationship with luxury brands. It was important for the researcher to have an understanding of what it is that connects Irish consumer to luxury brands in such a competitive marketplace. The third objective was to examine role that social media plays in creating value for luxury brands. As the overall question of this research was related to social media, and addressing if it created a greater connection and influenced purchase decisions, this objective was paramount.
This research was carried out using qualitative interviews with consumers and industry experts. The sample of Irish Millennial consumers was chosen due to the literature available on luxury branding and pre-recession purchasing. This research found that in terms of social media for luxury brands, Irish consumers used it as merely an information source, it did not create any greater emotional connection to luxury brands nor did it influence their purchase decisions. The consumers and industry experts questioned were consistent in that for luxury brands in Ireland in store purchase prevails over online and the experience of buying if vital. With so many brands both luxury and non-luxury investing time and resources into having a strong social media presence this research was important to address social media and luxury brands in an Irish environment.
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