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Jaehee Jung conducted research on consumer preferences in different cultures, including South Korea, where vendors are shown selling wares on the street.
Just as people from different cultures
have different reasons for wanting luxury goods, they also have a
variety of reasons for buying or refusing to buy counterfeit items, a
University of Delaware researcher found in comparing German and Korean
Jaehee Jung, associate professor of fashion and apparel studies, is the co-author of a new paper that has been accepted for publication in Luxury Research Journal.
She and co-authors from Leibniz University of Hannover in Germany and
Kyung Hee University in South Korea studied consumer behavior in regard
to genuine vs. counterfeit luxury goods, from handbags and shoes to cars
and fine wine.
We looked at the perception people have of counterfeit luxury goods
and why they decide to buy them, said Jung, who collected data for the
study while on a sabbatical in South Korea.
Is price the only
determinant of why people choose a counterfeit item instead of a genuine
one? We thought that if price was the only reason, then everyone would
buy counterfeits because they cost less.
There must be other reasons than just price, she decided, and she
suspected that those reasons would differ among consumers in different
cultures and countries.
The research grew out of previous work Jung did exploring the
perception of luxury goods in various cultures. That study, focusing on
the purchase of genuine items, found that Americans buy such goods for
hedonistic reasons of self-fulfillment while French consumers, for
example, value the items because they are expensive and exclusive.
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Jaehee Jung, associate professor of fashion and apparel studies, says her research found that consumers in Germany and South Korea had different perceptions of counterfeits.
For the new study, the researchers gathered data from consumers in
Germany and South Korea, both countries with large luxury markets of
both genuine and counterfeit goods. They found individual differences
but also some similarities within countries.
We found that peoples perceptions are what really determines the
market for counterfeits, and we found cultural patterns, Jung said.
German consumers want high-quality goods, and they worry that
counterfeits wont have the quality they desire. Korean consumers are
more concerned about social perceptions and making a good impression on
others. They worry that people will think less of them if they are known
to buy counterfeits.
Jung said those attitudes toward counterfeit items fit larger
cultural patterns. Korean culture in general has a high level of social
consciousness, while Germans, like Americans, put more emphasis on
The researchers hope to extend their cross-cultural work and examine
counterfeit markets in countries such as China, India and Brazil, where
demand for luxury goods is soaring.
The ultimate goal of learning why consumers will or wont buy fake
items is to create educational campaigns and other efforts to weaken the
global counterfeit industry, which costs genuine manufacturers billions
of dollars in sales and dilutes the value of their brands.
Theres no shortage of demand for counterfeits, so developing
prevention strategies is difficult, Jung said. What weve learned is
that to have effective strategies, we have to be country-specific. Even
being culture-specific isnt enough; Korea is not the same as Germany,
but its also not the same as China and other Asian countries.