The Online Experience of Luxury Consumers: Insight into Motives and Reservations

  •  Lama Halwani    


Several research efforts provide insight into the corporate online strategies of luxury brands. However, little research has focused on how consumers perceive the luxury online experience. This research aims to understand the underlying motivations and reservations towards online luxury purchase. The perceived online experience of luxury consumers is examined within the framework of the functional theory of attitudes, rooted in the work of Katz (1960) and Shavitt (1989). An exploratory approach yielded a typology of five motivations: independent browsing, personalized communication, accessibility, and convenience; and three reservations: purchase of unfamiliar brands, lack of spontaneity and uninspiring online retail environments. This research contributes a much needed consumer perspective of luxury online retail to the existing literature. The findings have resulted in a comprehensive understanding of the online shopping luxury experience. Theoretically, the findings support the functional theory of attitudes and the influence of both hedonic and utilitarian dimensions on the online luxury experience. More practically, this work shows that recognition of the underlying motivations and reservations of online luxury consumers informs marketers and brand managers on how to adapt their online presence and initiatives.

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