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Why Do Consumers Buy Counterfeit Luxury Brands?

by Keith Wilcox, Hyeong Min Kim, Sankar Sen
Journal of Marketing Research ()


This research demonstrates that consumers’ desire for counterfeit luxury brands hinges on the social motivations (i.e., to express themselves and/or to fit in) underlying their luxury brand preferences. In particular, the authors show that both consumers’ preferences for a counterfeit brand and the subsequent negative change in their prefer- ences for the real brand are greater when their luxury brand attitudes serve a social-adjustive rather than a value-expressive function. In addition, consumers’ moral beliefs about counterfeit consumption affect their counterfeit brand preferences only when their luxury brand attitudes serve a value-expressive function. Finally, the authors demonstrate that the social functions served by consumers’ luxury brand attitudes can be influenced by elements of the marketing mix (e.g., product design, advertising), thus enabling marketers to curb the demand for counterfeit brands through specific marketing-mix actions.

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