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Millennial consumers’ status consumption of handbags

Allie S. Grotts (Department of Textile and Apparel Management, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA)
Tricia Widner Johnson (Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 5 July 2013




This paper aims to examine a consumer segment, Millennial, and its status and conspicuous consumption tendencies. The current research was conducted to determine if handbags can be used as a symbolic representation of status.


A total of 598 females participated in this study through an electronically administered questionnaire. Eastman, Goldsmith, and Flynn's Status Consumption Scale was altered with permission and used to test and measure the status consumption of handbags.


The research findings indicated that handbags are being used in the process of status consumption and suggested characteristics of female Millennial consumers who are likely to use this process.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are limited to 18‐25 year old females in the United States, at a Midwestern university and cannot be generalized to other nationalities or age cohorts. The findings in this study are valuable in adding to the literature on status consumption by examining a product domain not previously studied for its ability to convey status and facilitate a complete self.

Practical implications

The findings are valuable to marketers because defining traits of Millennial consumers, a unique target market, have been discovered and proper marketing tactics may be deployed with the use of these results in the marketplace.


This paper fills a gap in the literature by examining handbags, which have not previously been researched for their status and conspicuous consumption abilities in an appropriate sample of college Millennial aged females.



Grotts, A.S. and Widner Johnson, T. (2013), "Millennial consumers’ status consumption of handbags", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 280-293.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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