Dispelling the collective myth of Chinese consumers: a new generation of brand-conscious individualists

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Purpose – The unprecedented increase in brand development among one of the fastest-growing consumer markets, the new generation of Chinese consumers, compels a greater understanding of the psychological factors that were largely stereotyped to be collective and homogeneous. Grounded in self-congruity theory, the primary purpose of this study is to understand the joint impact of Chinese consumers' self- and gender consciousness on their ensuing brand perceptions. This study aims to critically explore the process that underlies the aforementioned relationships with consumers' need for uniqueness and brand consciousness.

Design/methodology/approach – An online survey using consumer panel data was conducted in three “tier-one” cities in the People's Republic of China. The focus on these cities coincided with the competitive density of retail brands, and resulted in 302 respondents in the population of interest. The data were analysed using structural equation modelling (SEM).

Findings – Self- and gender consciousness do impact brand consciousness indirectly through Chinese consumers' need for uniqueness. Contrary to expectations, the study finds that self-consciousness has a negative direct impact on brand consciousness, while gender consciousness does not have a direct impact on brand consciousness. Furthermore, brand consciousness leads to positive brand perceptions, including brand attitudes, brand loyalty, and willingness to pay a price premium.

Practical implications – The research provides an in-depth understanding of self-congruity in Chinese consumers' brand perceptions. The research findings can be used to formulate brand positioning and promotion strategies for brand managers.

Originality/value – The study integrates extant theories in gender schema and self-congruity to understand brand perceptions in light of self- and gender consciousness. To date, no research has explored this relationship. Furthermore, the study discusses the role of consumers' need for uniqueness as a process that underlines the relationship between consumer self- and gender consciousness, and brand perceptions in terms of brand consciousness, brand attitude and loyalty and willingness to pay a price premium.


Copyright 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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Publication Title

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Published Citation

Lilly Ye, Mousumi Bose, and Lou Pelton. "Dispelling the collective myth of Chinese consumers: a new generation of brand-conscious individualists." Journal of Consumer Marketing 29.3 (2012): 190-201.



Peer Reviewed