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Television viewing and conspicuous consumption of households: evidence from India

Avinash Kumar (Marketing Area, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, Lucknow, India)
Rajeev Kumra (Marketing Area, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, Lucknow, India)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 29 January 2021

Issue publication date: 11 May 2021

483

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the effect of television viewing duration of a household on its annual category-level conspicuous consumption and also the enhanced level of this relationship for the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) households.

Design/methodology/approach

Hypotheses formulation was guided by cultivation theory and the concept of compensatory consumption. The hypotheses were later examined by using ordinary least square (OLS) regression on the data from the large nationally representative India Human Development Survey, 2011 (IHDS-II) database.

Findings

Television viewing duration of the household exerts a positive effect on its annual category-level conspicuous consumption expenditure. The nature of this relationship is enhanced for the BoP households. The annual category-level conspicuous consumption for the BoP households increases by close to four percent for every hour increase in their television viewing duration while such increase for other households is close to one and a half percent only.

Research limitations/implications

Findings can be further strengthened by using time-lagged dependent variable taken at monthly intervals, as well as survey data linking household television viewing duration with desirability of conspicuous goods.

Practical implications

Managers can rely on television for reaching BoP consumers while being cognizant of the negative effects of promoting conspicuous consumption among them. They need to adopt a responsible marketing approach. Besides regulating television, policymakers need to work toward increased provisioning of educational and financial services for BoP households. They can leverage television for promoting beneficial behavior in BoP households.

Originality/value

The study empirically establishes the external validity of cultivation theory at the household level in an emerging economy by using a large nationally representative database. It also establishes the higher vulnerability of BoP households to increase category-level conspicuous consumption in response to television viewing. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to empirically examine the effect of television viewing duration of household on its annual category level conspicuous consumption.

Keywords

Citation

Kumar, A. and Kumra, R. (2021), "Television viewing and conspicuous consumption of households: evidence from India", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 272-281. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-06-2020-3865

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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