How face influences consumption A comparative study of American and Chinese consumers

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

236 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-256
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Market Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


East Asia is fast becoming the world's largest brand-name luxury goods market. This study develops the concept of face and face consumption to explain why Asian consumers possess strong appetites for luxury products despite their relatively low income. This paper distinguishes the concept of face from a closely related construct, prestige, and examines the influence of face on consumer behaviours in the United States and China. Due to the heavy influence of face, Asian consumers believe they must purchase luxury products to enhance, maintain or save face. Accordingly, face consumption has three unique characteristics: conformity, distinctiveness and other-orientation. The results of a cross-cultural survey support the existence of these three subdimensions and show that Chinese consumers are more likely to be influenced by their reference groups than are American consumers. Furthermore, they tend to relate product brands and price to face more heavily than do their US counterparts. In addition, Chinese consumers are more likely to consider the prestige of the products in other-oriented consumption than are their American counterparts. © 2007 The Market Research Society.