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Purse Parties: A Phenomenology of In-Home Counterfeit Luxury Events

Qualitative Consumer Research

ISBN: 978-1-78714-492-7, eISBN: 978-1-78714-491-0

ISSN: 1548-6435

Publication date: 1 August 2017



The objective is to extend the concept of purse parties introduced by Gosline (2009) and to explore the phenomenon of counterfeit consumption through the in-home “purse parties” channel. The authors seek to reveal themes from the depth interviews and build a consumer typology reflecting attitudes toward purse parties and counterfeit luxury products.


The method is a qualitative phenomenological approach. Authors assessed attitudes toward purse party attendance and counterfeit goods – along with any subsequent behavioral intentions or behaviors. Authors addressed the objective using depth interviews among 28 women.


Findings included five emerging themes: distinctness of in-home consumption settings, obligatory attendance, social engagement, curiosity, and disregard for legalities of counterfeit consumption/disdain for purse parties.

Research limitations

The sample primarily consists of female colleges students and is not representative of all consumers. Due to social desirability bias and the controversial nature of counterfeit consumption, informants may have struggled to provide honest responses.

Social implications

Research implications suggest potential increases in purse party events and consumption due to informant’s blatant disregard for the legalities of the practice, and interests in social engagement, intimacy (exclusivity), and curiosity.


The main contribution is a typology representing four types of purse party consumers: loyal, curious/social, skeptic, and disengaged. This proposed typology stems from the aforementioned themes uncovered. Further, authors identify the social implications of in-home purse parties and underscore the significance of an under-investigated purchase channel.




The authors thank the University of Texas-Austin Student Enrichment Funds Program for supporting this research study and Michelle McCloskey for her assistance.


Mitchell, N.A., Scheinbaum, A.C., Li, D. and Wang, W. (2017), "Purse Parties: A Phenomenology of In-Home Counterfeit Luxury Events", Qualitative Consumer Research (Review of Marketing Research, Vol. 14), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 227-255.



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