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Uniqueness and status consumption in Generation Y consumers: Does moderation exist?

Luke Butcher (Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Ian Phau (The School of Marketing, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Anwar Sadat Shimul (Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



The purpose of this paper is to explore the existence of consumers’ need for uniqueness (CNFU) and status consumption (SC) in Generation Y (Gen Y). In exploring such, the equivalency of each construct (measurement invariance and population heterogeneity) is examined across early and late Gen Y consumers.


A self-administered online survey is examined, with the sample of 397 Gen Y respondents analyzed through structural equation modeling.


The results reveal that Gen Y consumers experience a need for uniqueness in a three-factor composition which is invariant across earlier and later Gen Y consumers. Similarly, SC is observed amongst Gen Y, with the empirical results again equivalent across the two groups. Finally, SC is supported to directly influence Gen Y’s purchase intention (PI) of luxury fashion goods, with the three CNFU constructs failing to directly influence PI, or SC’s influence on PI.

Practical implications

Results suggest to practitioners that not only are CNFU and SC motivations existent in Gen Y consumers, but they act similarly across early (19-23) and later (24-34) members of the consumer segment. Additionally, SC positively influences Gen Y’s purchase behavior of luxury fashion goods. Practitioners may target such consumers with reassurance that these groups do not behave differently with respect to CNFU and SC.


This study explores for the first time the three factors of CNFU and SC amongst Gen Y consumers. Such analysis, including the invariance of responses between those later and earlier born Gen Y consumers, and the structural relationships shared between these constructs and PI of luxury fashion goods offer intriguing insights for academics and practitioners alike.



Butcher, L., Phau, I. and Shimul, A.S. (2017), "Uniqueness and status consumption in Generation Y consumers: Does moderation exist?", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 673-687.



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