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Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Emerald Article: Globalization does lead to change in consumer behavior:
An empirical evidence of impact of globalization on changing materialistic values in Indian consumers and its aftereffects
Nitin Gupta

Article information:
To cite this document: Nitin Gupta, (2011),"Globalization does lead to change in consumer behavior: An empirical evidence of impact of globalization on changing materialistic values in Indian consumers and its aftereffects", Asia Pacific Journal of
Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 23 Iss: 3 pp. 251 - 269
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The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/1355-5855.htm Globalization does lead to change in consumer behavior
An empirical evidence of impact of globalization on changing materialistic values in Indian consumers and its aftereffects
Nitin Gupta

Globalization

251
Received September 2010
Revised December 2010
Accepted February 2011

Department of Marketing and Strategy, IBS Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to empirically substantiate if the forces of globalization are impacting consumer culture and behavioral traits in a developing country (India).
Design/methodology/approach – Five hypotheses had been constructed to address the gaps in the literature with respect to the influence of globalization on prevalent consumer culture of a developing nation. Predisposition towards foreign brand among Indian consumers was taken as a proxy for global flows and its influence was studied on the existing materialistic values among the Indian consumers.
The study covered a sample size of 557 respondents from five major cities in India. The raw data were collected with the help of structured questionnaire and analysis was done by using various relevant statistical techniques.
Findings – The results showed that predisposition towards foreign brands had a significant impact on materialistic values among the Indian consumers. The younger Indian consumers had significantly higher materialistic values than the older age groups. Lower income groups have showed significantly greater materialistic values than the higher income groups. Significant positive relationships were shown between materialistic values and the buyer behavior traits studied.
Practical implications – The managers should concentrate on the younger consumers, as they are the ones who are showing a definitive change in their buying behavior and increasing materialistic values. Alternatively, managers could modify their products to suit the requirements of older consumers. Originality/value – The study empirically showed that Indian consumers’ predisposition towards foreign brands and their materialistic values had significant positive correlation among them. Also, predisposition towards foreign brands along with demographical variables like age and gender significantly impact the materialistic values prevalent among Indian consumers.
Keywords Globalization, Consumer behaviour, Materialistic values, Buyer behaviour traits,
Indian consumers
Paper type Research paper

Introduction
The booming Indian economy (Lenartowicz and Balasubramanian, 2009) and the huge
Indian consumer market (Enderwick, 2009) is encouraging many researchers to study the various socio-cultural dimensions influencing the Indian consumers’ behavior
(Kopalle et al., 2010). Another stream of study that is luring leading researchers
(Craig et al., 2009; Yaprak, 2008) is the influence of forces of globalization on the changing consumer culture of a society. Such influence, according to Ger and Belk (1996), would be more intensive on the consumers in the developing economies of the world, India being one of them. In fact, Durvasula and Lysonski (2008) and Mathur et al. (2008)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and
Logistics
Vol. 23 No. 3, 2011 pp. 251-269 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1355-5855
DOI 10.1108/13555851111143204

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have empirically shown how forces of globalization are bringing in changes in the culture of Indian consumers. One such culture based dimension of consumer behavior is materialism, which is the focus of this paper.
The current work studies materialism, a construct defined by Belk (1984) and Richins
(1987) as “giving importance/being attached to worldly possessions”, and its influence on consumer culture, which encompasses the prevalent cultural influence among consumers, in the Indian context. Extant research suggests that globalization is rapidly influencing consumer culture in India with people showing increasing “predisposition towards foreign brands” (PTFB), a construct defined by Bandyopadhyay (2001),
Batra et al. (2000) and Kinra (2006) as admiration of foreign brands and intention to
`
purchase them vis-a-vis home country’s brands. Such cultural influences are also likely to impact Indian consumers’ purchase behavior, e.g. credit card usage (Chibber, 2010), impulse purchases (Datamonitor Report, 2010) and consideration of shopping as an enjoyable behavior (Ghosh et al., 2010). Although marketing scholars (Cleveland et al.,
2009; Richins and Dawson, 1992) have already established the impact of materialism on these important consumption traits, studying the same in the Indian context would provide interesting insights for both scholars and practitioners alike. The paper thus makes an effort to study extent of materialistic values (MV) amongst Indian consumers; differences in such values based on demographics; whether such values impact various buying behavior traits of Indian consumers and are itself being impacted by the onslaught of forces of globalization.
Materialism among Indian consumers has been studied by Chaudhuri and Haldar
(2005) and Cleveland et al. (2009). These studies brought forth the relationship that materialism has with cultural adherence and regional differences with-in India
(Chaudhuri and Haldar, 2005) and materialism’s impact on various purchase behavior like purchasing frequency of luxury products, etc. (Cleveland et al., 2009)[1]. Though
Cleveland et al. (2009) also attempted to study the relationship between materialism and various demographic variables like age, income, gender and educational qualification for the Indian sample; they could not get significant results on any of the relationships.
Both Cleveland et al. (2009) and Chaudhuri and Haldar (2005) used student samples in their study, which could limit the generalization of their findings. Further, neither of these studies attempted to operationalize globalization as an antecedent impacting the
MV of Indian consumers. These studies also did not empirically study the impact of other demographic factors (besides age) like income, educational qualification and gender on the MV of Indian consumers. The present study addresses these existing gaps in the extant literature.
The following sections of the paper cover literature review in the area of materialism,
Indian consumer’s attitude towards materialism and influence of global flows.
Subsequent sections address gaps in the literature, development of hypotheses, research methodology, results, discussion and conclusion.
Literature review
Materialism
In his seminal paper on materialism, Belk (1984, p. 291), defined materialism as “The importance a consumer attaches to worldly possessions”. He proposed three measures to quantify materialistic traits, namely – possessiveness (inclination and tendency to retain control of one’s possession), non-generosity (unwillingness to give possessions

to or share possessions with others) and envy (interpersonal attitude involving displeasure and ill-will at the superiority of (another person) in happiness, success, reputation, or the possession of anything desirable).
Besides Belk, another author that has done substantial work in the area of materialism is Richins (1987), who along with Dawson (Richins and Dawson, 1992, p. 308) conceptualizes materialism as a consumer value and considers it to be “A set of centrally held beliefs about the importance of possessions in one’s life”. Richins and Dawson (1992) selected three dimensions of materialism that they found consistently appearing in various definitions of materialism. These were – acquisition as the pursuit of happiness
(acquisitions and possessions were essential to a materialists’ satisfaction and well-being in life), possession-defined success (materialists judge their own and other’s success by the number and quality of possessions accumulated) and acquisition centrality
(materialists place possessions and their acquisitions at the center of their lives). Over the past decade, materialism has emerged as an important research topic among scholars across a broad range of disciplines (Burroughs and Rindfleisch, 2002). Ger and Belk (1996) empirically showed that materialism, which was considered by them as component of consumer culture, differed across different countries that had distinct consumer cultures.
Indian consumer’s attitude towards materialism
Pettys and Balagopal (1998) are of the view that since individual attachment in India is seen as temporary and as an illusion, Indians are very non-materialistic. They also believe that an inherent risk of westernization is that the Indian consumers might become more materialistic. On the other hand, Venkatesh (1995) states that Indians are not averse to materialism because in Indian culture spiritualism and materialism are not considered opposites, instead they belong to the same realm of experience and hence there is no confrontation of beliefs if both are adopted together. Still, compared to other developed nations like USA and New Zealand, Indians are relatively less materialistic (Ger and Belk, 1996). This might be due to conservatism preached by the
Indian culture. The results of Chaudhuri and Haldar’s (2005), empirical study on Indian respondents showed that there is a significant negative correlation between the degree of materialism and the intensity of cultural adherence. In other words the more a person moves away from the Indian culture, the more are the chances that materialism will manifest itself in him.
Influence of global flows
Globalization is leading to various types of global flows across the world. According to
Appadurai (1990), there are five types of global flows – mediascapes (flows of image and communication), ethnoscapes (flows of tourists, migrants and foreign Students), ideoscapes (flows of political ideas and ideologies), technoscapes (flows of technology and know-how) and finanscapes (flows of capital and money). Considering the influence of these global flows, Craig et al. (2009) observe that in today’s world, cultural products and lifestyles from the developed world are spreading across developing countries. This is the result of contact through traditional media such as TV and films, as well as through new media such as the internet, electronic social networking, blogs, etc. (Craig et al., 2009). This phenomenon, according to Craig et al. (2009), is changing the cultural fabric and patterns of a society as products, icons, lifestyles and rituals of one culture are being adopted by another (Craig and Douglas, 2006).

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Further, its pervasive influence on consumer behavior is affecting consumer tastes, preferences and purchase behavior (Douglas and Craig, 1997).
Venkatesh and Swamy (1994) state that Indian consumers, even if they have not traveled abroad, are still being influenced by the consumerism (or consumer culture) brought by foreign influence through media and products (foreign brands). Ger and Belk
(1996) state that the reason for this is that with the coming of globalization and westernization, developing countries’ consumers emulate the lifestyles and consumption patterns of more economically developed nations. Many studies (Batra et al., 2000; Kinra,
2006; Maxwell, 2001) have shown that Indian consumers have a very high PTFB.
According to Eckhardt and Mahi (2004), these foreign brands are also bringing foreign cultural influence with them in the Indian market place.
Gaps in the literature and development of hypotheses
There is a lack of consensus on the prevalence of MV across segments based on various demographic characteristics like income, age, educational qualification, gender and place of residence (metropolitan vs non-metropolitan). While Richins’ (1987) showed that level of income was highly correlated with material satisfaction, Cleveland et al. (2009) quote the works of few researchers (Ger and Belk, 1996; Richins and Dawson, 1992), who could not find any relationship between materialism and affluence. Goldberg et al. (2003), who studied materialism among youth (nine-14 years) in USA, found boys to be highly materialistic than girls. But, for the Indian sample, Cleveland et al. (2009) did not get any significant relationship between materialism and any of demographic variables under study[2].
Although an AC Nielson Report (2007) states that economic growth has made Asians
(including Indians), especially the youth and the upper income groups in larger cities materialistic in their values, an empirical assessment for the Indian consumer is warranted to test the prevalence of MV across segments based on these demographic variables.
In order to address this, the first set of hypotheses has been formulated as follows:
H1a. The young Indian consumers would possess significantly higher MV than older Indian consumers.
H1b. Indian consumers belonging to higher income groups would possess significantly higher MV than those falling in the lower income groups.
H1c. Indian consumers residing in metropolitan cities in India would possess significantly higher MV than those consumers staying in non-metropolitan cities. H1d. Segments created on the basis of educational qualification would also show significant variation in their MV.
H1e. Segments created on the basis of gender would also show significant variation in their MV.
According to Chaudhuri and Haldar (2005), there will be a negative correlation between the degree of materialism and the intensity of local cultural adherence. This is because materialism is considered as a western consumer’s cultural trait (Ger and Belk, 1996).
Interestingly, according to Ruth and Commuri (1998), Indian consumers are being influenced by Westernization leading to their strong urge to emulate the Western lifestyles. Durvasula and Lysonski (2008), supporting this proposition, observe that

the access to global media exposes consumers in India to Western culture/practices and that they are likely to develop desires similar to those in consumer-oriented western cultures. This phenomenon, added with Indian consumer’s PTFB gives credence to the observation made by Eckhardt and Mahi (2004) that foreign brands are bringing in foreign cultural influence in India. Hence, it is expected that consumers who are predisposed towards foreign brands are expected to show significantly higher MV.
These results might differ for various demographic segments. Since studies on materialism done on Indian consumers have not yet addressed such propositions, the second set of hypotheses, formulated to bridge this gap, are:
H2a. Indian consumers would show significantly strong positive correlations between their MV and their PTFB.
H2b. The correlation results would differ across different demographic segments.
The literature indicates that the consumer culture in India is being impacted by the forces of globalization. Many researchers like Eckhardt and Mahi (2004) and Cayla and
Arnould (2008) consider foreign brand as a component of the globalization force. Cayla and Arnould (2008) propose that (foreign) brands should be seen as cultural forms and research should analyze the impact of these brands on local cultures more carefully.
Hence, it would be interesting to test the impact of Indian consumer’s PTFB on their
MV, which Burroughs and Rindfleisch (2002) consider as a culturally driven phenomenon. No study has so far empirically shown if predisposition of Indian consumers towards foreign brands impact their MV or not. Also, to what extent do various demographic characteristics like age, income, education and gender impact this whole phenomenon is not clear. To bridge this gap, the third set of hypotheses has been formulated as:
H3a. The predisposition of the Indian consumers towards foreign brands would significantly impact their MV.
H3b. The demographic variables (age, income, etc.) would significantly affect this phenomenon. Roth (1995) and Steenkamp (2001) observe that a country’s culture has long been identified as an environmental characteristic that influences consumer behavior.
Venkatesh (1995) too supports this view and states that consumer behavior is primarily socio-cultural phenomena and that it must be discussed in socio-cultural terms.
According to Douglas and Craig (1997), consumer culture would influence consumer tastes, preferences and purchase behavior. It would be interesting to observe if MV prevalent among the Indian consumers would also relate to their purchase behavioral traits. Lately, various behavioral traits that have been associated with the Indian consumers are the increase in their credit card usage (Chibber, 2010), rise in their impulse purchases (Datamonitor Report, 2010) and consideration of shopping as an enjoyable activity by them (Ghosh et al., 2010). This leads to the formulation of the fourth and fifth sets of hypotheses:
H4a. MV prevalent among the Indian consumers would be significantly correlated to their purchase behavior, which includes buyer behavioral traits like credit card usage.

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H4b. MV prevalent among the Indian consumers would be significantly correlated to their purchase behavior, which includes buyer behavioral traits like impulse purchase.
H4c. MV prevalent among the Indian consumers would be significantly correlated to their purchase behavior, which includes buyer behavioral traits like consideration of shopping as an enjoyable activity.
H5a. MV prevalent among the Indian consumers would act as a mediator variable, in presence of their PTFB, on buyer behavioral traits like credit card usage. H5b. MV prevalent among the Indian consumers would act as a mediator variable, in presence of their PTFB, on buyer behavioral traits like impulse purchase.
H5c. MV prevalent among the Indian consumers would act as a mediator variable, in presence of their PTFB, on buyer behavioral traits like consideration of shopping as an enjoyable activity.
Research method
Sample data
The study was conducted by using structured questionnaire on which responses were elicited from individuals residing in five cities of India. The cities chosen for study were – Delhi, Hyderabad and Secunderabad twin cities, Kolkata and Howrah twin cities, Mumbai (including the suburbs) and Indore. Among these cities, only Indore was a non-metropolitan city. These cities were chosen so that different regions of India – north, south, east, west and central, respectively, could be covered. The sample frame constituted of the Individuals who belonged to the middle class[3] income segment, which has been considered by many researchers like Sarin and Barrows (2005), to be the segment which would be influenced most by the forces of globalization. The final sample consisted of completely filled-in questionnaires from 557 respondents from these five cities. The sample was selected using snowball and judgment sampling methods. The demographic profile of the sample has been given in Table I.
Measuring level of materialistic values
The instrument considered for measurement of MV comprised of nine items, responses on which were to be given on a five-point Likert scale[4]. Four of the items were taken from the six-item instrument developed by Richins (1987) and five items were taken from the 18-item instrument developed by Richins and Dawson (1992) (Table II).
For each individual consumer, the level of materialism score was estimated by calculating the mean of responses given on the nine items. Higher score would indicate that the person possesses a higher degree of MV; where as lower score would indicate lower MV possessed by an individual.
The remaining items from the two scales were not used in this study because the focus group discussion and pilot test showed that these items were redundant for the Indian consumers. Such abridgement has been supported by Ger and Belk (1996), who quote the studies of many authors who have used the materialism instruments developed by
Belk (1985) and Richins and Dawson (1992) in non-Western cultures and have found that the application of these instruments there, without any alteration or change,

Sample from the cities
Delhi
Hyderabad
Kolkata
125 (22.44%)
107 (19.21%)
103 (18.50%)
Sample segregated on the basis of age
16-25 yrs
26-35 yrs
36-45 yrs
113 (20.29%)
242 (43.45%)
109 (19.57%)
Sample segregated on the basis of income categories
Lower middle classa
Middle class
Upper middle classb
60 (10.77%)
318 (57.09%)
179 (32.14%)
Sample segregated on the basis of educational qualification
Undergraduates
Graduates
Post graduates
52 (9.34%)
232 (41.65%)
273 (49.01%)
Sample segregated on the basis of gender
Males
Females
326 (58.53%)
231 (41.47%)

Globalization
Mumbai
109 (19.57%)

Indore
113 (20.29%)

46-55 yrs
59 (10.59%)

56 þ yrs
34 (6.10%)

Notes: aHouseholds earning less than Rs 180,000 or $ 3,829.78 per annum; bhouseholds earning between Rs 450,000/- and Rs 1,000,000/- or between $ 9574.47 and $ 21,276.59 per annum
Source: (McKinsey Global Institute Report, 2007, p. 13)

S.no. Item

257

Table I.
Demographic profile of the sample

Source

Acquisition as the pursuit of happiness
1
I would like to be rich enough to buy anything I want
Richins (1987)
2
I would be happier if I could afford to buy more things
3
It sometimes bothers me quite a bit that I cannot afford to buy all the things I want
4
It is really true that money can buy happiness
Possession-defined success
5
I admire people who own expensive homes, cars, etc.
Richins and Dawson (1992)
6
Things that I own say a lot about how well I am doing in life
Acquisition centrality
7
Things that I own are very important to me
8
Acquiring material possessions is important in life
9
I like a lot of luxury in my life

have been problematic, e.g. respondents have not been able to decipher proper meanings of the items in these instruments. According to Richins (1987), personal values rather than general social values are more relevant in influencing individual behavior as the general nature of the questions asked may make the respondents subject to social desirability biases. The materialism instrument, initially comprising of ten items, included an item that stated – “People place too much emphasis on material things”.
This item was removed after pilot testing because the response on this item appeared to be biased due to influence of social conformity.
Ger and Belk’s (1996) scale to measure materialism was not used for this study as the focus group that was conducted to finalize the questionnaire showed that for Indian consumers this scale was very abstract and the respondents were not able to relate with many of the items present in this scale. Indeed Clarke and Micken (2002) quote many researchers who consider Richins’ (1987) and Richins and Dawson’s (1992)

Table II.
Items used to measure
MV among the Indian consumers APJML
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value approach to study materialism to be superior in reliability and validity than the scale developed by Belk (1985).
Measuring predisposition towards foreign brands from economically developed countries (EDCs)
Researchers who have studied PTFB have operationalized this variable as combination
`
of various items like, consumer perception towards foreign brands vis-a-vis home country’s brands on parameters like technology, quality, value for money and status
(Bandyopadhyay, 2001; Batra et al., 2000; Kinra, 2006; Roth and Romeo, 1992). These parameters have been consistently used in most of the country image studies as they relate to perceptions of a country’s production and marketing strengths and weaknesses, and are applicable to a broad range of product categories (Roth and Romeo, 1992).
Besides these parameters, many researchers (Batra et al., 2000; Durvasula and
Lysonski, 2008; Mathur et al., 2008) also posit that the construct – PTFB – should
`
include home country’s consumers’ intention to purchase foreign brands vis-a-vis home country’s brands, and their admiration of life styles of people living in these EDCs. This is because, according to Batra et al. (2000), home country’s consumers’ attitudes toward foreign brands ought to be more favorable if they admire EDC lifestyles. This contention has been supported by Durvasula and Lysonski (2008) and Mathur et al. (2008).
Based on the above-mentioned literature, a ten-point scale measuring popularity of foreign brands from EDCs was developed. The items consisted of respondents’ perception of foreign brands on parameters like technology, quality, value for money and status for durable as well as non-durable products (the parameter on technology was not included in case of non-durable products). For example, for a particular consumer durable, which respondent chose from a list of product categories provided[5] (similarly a set of product categories for consumer non-durables[6] was also provided), response was elicited on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 – strongly disagree to 5 – strongly agree on the statement – “foreign brands have better technology than Indian brands”.
On a similar five-point Likert scale, the respondents had to answer questions on their intention to buy foreign brands as well as their admiration for lifestyles of people living in EDCs.
Measuring various buyer behavior traits
The buyer behavior traits measured were credit card usage, impulse purchase and enjoyment with respect to shopping. Though multi-item measures for each these traits would be desirable for getting a more robust result, for the sake of parsimony and in order to avoid making the questionnaire too lengthy for the respondent, each trait was measured through a single item. The response was elicited on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 – strongly disagree to 5 – strongly agree on the given statement,
e.g. “I use my credit card very often”.
Results
The Cronbach’s alpha was calculated for each instrument for the total sample as well as for each demographic segment based on city, income, age, educational qualification and gender (Table III). All the calculated Cronbach’s alpha values were above
0.70, which is taken as a cut-off point by many researchers like Smith and Gerald
(2005), while measuring reliability of an instrument. Hence, the instruments that have

S.no.

Sample segment

1
Total sample
Cities
1
Delhi
2
Bombay
3
Hyderabad
4
Kolkata
5
Indore
Age segments
1
16-25 yrs
2
26-35 yrs
3
36-45 yrs
4
46-55 yrs
5
56 þ yrs
Income segments
1
Lower middle class
2
Middle class
3
Upper middle class
Educational qualification segments
1
Undergraduates
2
Graduates
3
Postgraduates
Gender segments
1
Males
2
Females

Foreign brand popularity (ten items)

MV (nine items)

0.838

0.835

0.875
0.855
0.814
0.810
0.852

0.791
0.733
0.832
0.887
0.808

0.796
0.822
0.879
0.865
0.760

0.776
0.840
0.851
0.800
0.880

0.855
0.834
0.818

0.823
0.813
0.843

0.782
0.842
0.851

0.823
0.852
0.818

0.841
0.833

0.836
0.827

Globalization

been used for measuring various variables in this study are reliable and internally consistent. Testing for hypothesis H1
The results of sample means, independent sample t-tests and ANOVA given in
Tables IV-VI, respectively, show mixed support for H1a-H1e. H1a is supported as the
`
MV in younger age groups (16-35 years) was significantly higher (at a ¼ 0.05) vis-a-vis older age groups, except when the sample falling in age group of 16-25 years was compared with those falling in age group 36-45 years. But contrary to the proposed
H1b, higher income groups showed significantly lower (at a ¼ 0.05) materialistic bent of mind than the lower income group (lower middle class). Also, as far as residing in metropolitan vs non-metropolitan cities was concerned (H1c), most of the results were insignificant. Even segments created on the basis of educational qualification (H1d ), did not show any significant difference. Interestingly, male respondents showed significantly higher (at a ¼ 0.05) materialistic orientation than the female respondents, thereby supporting the H1e.
Testing for hypothesis H2
The results given in Table VII overwhelmingly supported the H2a. Indian consumers did show significantly strong positive correlations between their MV and their PTFB.
The only exceptions to these results were the sample from Kolkata, sample belonging to the lower middle class income segment and the undergraduate sample, hence, showing a partial support for H2b.

259

Table III.
Cronbach’s alpha for total sample as well as for each demographic segment

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Mean score (SD)
Basis of segmentation
Cities

260
Age

Income
Qualification level
Table IV.
Means of scores on MV across demographic segments Gender

Total sample
Segment
Delhi
Mumbai
Hyderabad
Kolkata
Indore
16-25 yrs
26-35 yrs
36-45 yrs
46-55 yrs
56 þ yrs
Lower middle class
Middle class
Upper middle class
Undergraduates
Graduates
Postgraduates
Males
Females

3.17 (0.79)
3.32
3.38
3.10
3.49
3.31
3.34
3.43
3.21
3.17
3.06
3.53
3.13
3.31
3.38
3.31
3.32
3.26
2.99

Classification based on
Table V.
ANOVA results comparing MV across demographic segments

Cities
Age
Income
Qualification
Gender

(0.79)
(0.80)
(0.74)
(1.04)
(0.71)
(0.76)
(0.83)
(0.83)
(0.88)
(0.82)
(0.79)
(0.87)
(0.85)
(0.74)
(0.86)
(0.82)
(1.02)
(0.92)

Results
F
F
F
F
F

(4,552) ¼ 1.951,
(4,552) ¼ 5.446,
(2,554) ¼ 3.269,
(2,554) ¼ 1.691,
(1,555) ¼ 8.975,

Sig. ¼ 0.101
Sig. ¼ 0.000
Sig. ¼ 0.039
Sig. ¼ 0.185
Sig. ¼ 0.003

Testing for hypothesis H3
In order to test the H3a and H3b, a regression equation was constructed, wherein the independent variable was PTFB and various demographic variables, e.g. age, gender, qualification and income, were acting as control variables. The dependent variable taken was the MV score for the Indian consumers. Results given in Table VIII show that only the coefficients of PTFB, age and gender were significant[7]. Hence, PTFB significantly impacted the prevalent MV among the Indian consumers, when age and gender were held as control variables. The lower the age, the greater MV was depicted.
Also, male respondents were shown to be more materialistic than the female respondents[8]. Hence the H3a that the predisposition of the Indian consumers towards foreign brands would significantly impact their MV and various demographic variables (age and gender in this case) would significantly affect this phenomenon
(H3b), is accepted.
Testing for hypothesis H4
It is observed from the results given in Table IX that various buyer behavior traits like credit card usage (H4a), impulse purchase (H4b) and consideration of shopping

S.no.

Group 1

City segments
1
Hyderabad
2
Hyderabad
3
Hyderabad
4
Hyderabad
5
Delhi
6
Delhi
7
Delhi
8
Bombay
9
Bombay
10
Kolkata
Age segments
1
16-25 yrs
2
16-25 yrs
3
16-25 yrs
4
16-25 yrs
5
26-35 yrs
6
26-35 yrs
7
26-35 yrs
8
36-45 yrs
9
36-45 yrs
10
46-55yrs
Income segments
1
Lower middle class
3
Lower middle class
5
Middle class
Educational qualification segments
1
Undergraduate
2
Undergraduate
3
Graduate
Gender segments
1
Male

Group 2

t-stat.

Sig.
(two-tailed)

Delhi
Bombay
Kolkata
Indore
Bombay
Kolkata
Indore
Kolkata
Indore
Indore

2 2.650
2 1.930
2 1.169
2 2.642
0.515
0.867
2 0.111
0.425
2 0.598
2 0.929

0.009
0.055
0.244
0.009
0.607
0.387
0.911
0.671
0.551
0.354

26-35 yrs
36-45 yrs
46-55yrs
56 þ yrs
36-45 yrs
46-55yrs
56 þ yrs
46-55yrs
56 þ yrs
56 þ yrs

2 0.668
1.817
2.248
2.804
2.654
2.947
3.446
0.728
1.599
0.909

0.504
0.071
0.027
0.007
0.008
0.003
0.001
0.468
0.112
0.366

2.253
2.512
0.676

0.025
0.013
0.499

1.762
1.471
2 0.748

0.079
0.142
0.455

3.155

0.002

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Middle class
Upper middle class
Upper middle class
Graduate
Post graduate
Post graduate
Female

as an enjoyable activity (H4c) showed significant positive correlations with the MV prevalent among the Indian consumers. This was shown by the total sample as well as by most of the segments created on the basis of various demographic variables.

Testing for hypothesis H5
To test if MV prevalent among the Indian consumers were acting as mediating variable, in presence of PTFB, on various buyer behavior traits under study like credit card usage (H5a), impulse purchase (H5b) and consideration of shopping as an enjoyable activity (H5c), the tests suggested by Baron and Kenny (1986) were followed.
From the results given in Table X, it was observed that in presence of PTFB, MV did act as a mediating variable in case of credit card usage (H5a) and shopping as an enjoyable activity (H5c). Though there is a significant impact of MV on impulse purchase (H5b), it does not act as a mediating variable in this case.

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Table VI. t-test results comparing
MV across demographic segments APJML
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262

Table VII.
Correlation between
MV and PTFB

Segment
Total sample
City
Delhi
Mumbai
Hyderabad
Age
16-25 yrs
26-35 yrs
36-45 yrs
Income
Lower middle class
Middle class
Educational qualification
Undergraduate
Graduate
Gender
Male

Independent variables

Table VIII.
Regression result of the total sample taking MV as the dependent variable

0.110
PTFB
Age
Gender
Educational qualification
Income level
Adjusted R 2

Correlation between
MV and PTFB
Segment

Correlation between
MV and PTFB

0.305 (0.000)
0.391 (0.000)
0.407 (0.000)
0.234 (0.015)

Kolkata
Indore

0.159 (0.108)
0.378 (0.000)

0.282 (0.002)
0.255 (0.000)
0.311 (0.001)

46-55 yrs
56 þ yrs

0.308 (0.018)
0.390 (0.023)

0.092 (0.483)
0.333 (0.000)

Upper middle class

0.320 (0.000)

0.208 (0.138)
0.337 (0.000)

Post graduate

0.331 (0.000)

0.269 (0.000)

Female

0.283 (0.000)

b

t-stat.

Sig.

14.736
0.243
2 0.011
2 0.208
0.019
2 0.065
F

0.000
6.059
2 3.662
2 3.142
0.386
2 1.239
Sig.

0.000
0.000
0.002
0.700
0.216

Discussion and conclusion
Materialistic values observed among various demographical segments
The results of the empirical analysis showed that young Indian consumers (falling in the age group of 16-35 years) were showing higher MV than the older consumers. Similar findings have also been shown by other researchers. Burroughs and Rindfleisch (2002) had observed a negative relationship between age and materialism. Cleveland et al.
(2009), after conducting a cross-national study of eight countries, had concluded that younger people were more materialistic than older people (though in his study, this phenomenon was not significantly corroborated by the Indian sample). These higher
MV among Indian youth might become a cause for concern in the future as according to
Burroughs and Rindfleisch (2002), many authors subscribe to the view that materialism leads to long-term negative consequences for an individual. To substantiate their claim, they have quoted the work of Cohen and Cohen (1996), who found that adolescents’ admiration of materialism was associated with a number of psychological disorders, including attention deficit disorder, conduct disorder and narcissism.

Segment

Correlation between MV Correlation between MV Correlation between MV and credit card usage and enjoying shopping and impulsive purchase

Total sample
0.129 (0.002)
Cities
Delhi
0.281 (0.002)
Bombay
0.092 (0.339)
Hyderabad
0.162 (0.095)
Kolkata
0.019 (0.850)
Indore
0.196 (0.037)
Age Segments
16-25 yrs
0.181 (0.055)
26-35 yrs
0.088 (0.175)
36-45 yrs
0.050 (0.604)
46-55 yrs
0.364 (0.005)
56 þ yrs
0.012 (0.945)
Income segments
Lower middle class
0.100 (0.448)
Middle class
0.126 (0.024)
Upper middle class
0.166 (0.026)
Educational qualification segments
Undergraduate
2 0.070 (0.621)
Graduate
0.187 (0.004)
Post graduate
0.111 (0.066)
Gender segments
Males
0.189 (0.001)
Females
2 0.002 (0.976)

0.163 (0.000)

0.259 (0.000)

0.029
0.235
0.076
0.245
0.203

(0.750)
(0.014)
(0.434)
(0.013)
(0.031)

0.213
0.168
0.267
0.329
0.174

(0.017)
(0.081)
(0.005)
(0.001)
(0.065)

0.215
0.060
0.351
0.104
2 0.086

(0.022)
(0.352)
(0.000)
(0.434)
(0.629)

0.173
0.341
0.151
0.208
0.305

Globalization

(0.066)
(0.000)
(0.116)
(0.113)
(0.080)

2 0.018 (0.892)
0.718 (0.001)
0.154 (0.040)

0.152 (0.246)
0.156 (0.005)
0.374 (0.000)

0.239 (0.088)
0.132 (0.045)
0.187 (0.002)

0.186 (0.187)
0.275 (0.000)
0.252 (0.000)

0.127 (0.022)
0.296 (0.000)

0.141 (0.011)
0.277 (0.000)

263

In this study, the lower middle class income segment showed significantly higher MV
`
vis-a-vis the middle class and upper middle class segments. These findings have been supported by the results reported by Goldberg et al. (2003), wherein they observe that youths with the highest levels of materialism tended to be drawn from families with lower incomes. However, it contradicts Richins’ (1987) observations that level of income is highly correlated with material satisfaction. The reason for the phenomenon shown in the current study might be Inglehart’s (1990) post-materialism theory, according to which people who consistently have experienced high affluence are less concerned about material needs. Since they would have fulfilled their prevalent materialistic desires, they move beyond it and following Maslow’s hierarchy, try to fulfill much higher needs such as self-actualization, etc. Interestingly, this reasoning might create a contradiction of sorts with the results given in Table VII, wherein significant correlation between MV and PTFB is shown by higher income groups. Such contradiction may be addressed in light of what Venkatesh (1994) had observed that:
Indian consumer scene is replete with what might be misinterpreted by the modernist as contradictions, but in reality this represents highly symbolic modes of behavior much of which must be understood within the Indian cultural framework.

To further make this point clear, Venkatesh (1995) states that in Indian culture spiritualism and materialism are not considered opposites, instead they belong to the same realm of experience and hence there is no confrontation of beliefs if both are adopted together. An interesting example of this is shown in a recent phenomenon

Table IX.
Correlation between MV scores and various buyer behavior traits

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264

Table X.
Results of Baron and
Kenny’s (1986) test to check if MV are acting as mediating variable on various buyer behavior traits in presence of
PTFB

(a) PTFB on MV
R2
0.08
F
PTFB beta
0.282
t-stat.
1. Testing for credit card usage
(b) PTFB on credit card usage
R2
0.041
F
PTFB beta
0.202
t-stat.
(c) PTFB and MV on credit card usage
Adj. R 2
0.043
F
PTFB beta
0.180
t-stat.
MV beta
0.078
t-stat.
2. Testing for impulse purchase
(a) PTFB on impulse purchase
R2
0.002
F
PTFB beta
0.042
t-stat.
(b) PTFB and MV on impulse purchase
Adj. R 2
0.065
F
PTFB beta
0.034
t-stat.
MV beta
0.269
t-stat.
3. Testing for shopping as an enjoyable activity
(a) PTFB on shopping as an enjoyable activity
R2
0.034
F
PTFB beta
0.185
t-stat.
(b) PTFB and MV on shopping as an enjoyable activity
Adj. R 2
0.044
F
PTFB beta
0.151
t-stat.
MV beta
0.120
t-stat.

23.699
6.924

Sig.
Sig.

0.000
0.000

47.947
4.868

Sig.
Sig.

0.000
0.000

13.539
4.169
1.812

Sig.
Sig.
Sig.

0.000
0.000
0.071

0.985
0.993

Sig.
Sig.

0.321
0.321

20.257
0.787
6.282

Sig.
Sig.
Sig.

0.000
0.432
0.000

19.578
4.425

Sig.
Sig.

0.000
0.000

13.789
3.485
2.786

Sig.
Sig.
Sig.

0.000
0.001
0.006

wherein top corporate chieftains in India, who pride in the ownership of the most expensive cars in the world, are also claiming to be proud owners of Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car (Bhushan and Chauhan, 2010).
The Indian male consumers have shown significantly higher levels of MV than the female consumers. Similar results have been reported by Goldberg et al. (2003) in the youth population in USA. According to them many other studies in the literature have also reported such results. The reason for such results among Indian population might be that India being a patriarchal society (Brokaw and Lakshman, 1995; Mullatti,
1995; Webster, 2000), its work force is still dominated by males, who many times are the sole bread earners of a household. Since they are the ones who earn and would be keeping the tab on the household expenditure, MV seem to be much more prominently ingrained in them than in the average Indian female population. This is a speculative argument and requires further empirical testing.
The study did not show any significant difference in materialism among the segments that had been constructed on the basis of educational qualification. This result, according to Cleveland et al. (2009), is in concurrence with the findings of Richins and Dawson (1992), which too did not show any relationship between educational attainment and materialism.
Impact of predisposition towards foreign brands on materialism
The study empirically showed that Indian consumers’ PTFB and their MV had significant positive correlation among them. Added to this, PTFB along with

demographical variables like age and gender (acting as control variables) significantly impact the MV prevalent among Indian consumers. It is also observed from the results that impact of MV on the usage of credit card as well as on consideration of shopping as an enjoyable activity is being strengthened in the presence of PTFB. MV also significantly impact the impulse purchase behavior of Indian consumers. These finding are few of the prominent contributions of the paper to the existing body of literature.
It substantiates the view of many researchers like Eckhardt and Mahi (2004), who had indicated towards the prevalence of such a phenomenon, but failed to empirically substantiate it.
Managerial implications
The study showed that MV among the Indian consumers was positively correlated with each of the buyer behavior trait studied – the use of credit card[9], impulsive buying behavior and enjoyment related with the shopping activity. Also, it was the younger segment of the population that was showing considerably higher materialistic tendencies as compared to the older segments. Added to this, the predisposition of
Indian consumers towards foreign brands was further enhancing their MV. All these observations would sound music to the ears of the managers who consider India as a prominent market for their products. This is because in a country where more than
70 per cent of the population is below 36 years of age (Bharadwaj et al., 2005), such bits of information bring with them a sense of positive forecasts for the future with a promise of huge bounty if the marketers play their cards right. The need of the hour, for the managers, is to concentrate on the younger consumers (between age group
16 and 35 years) as they are the ones who are showing definitive change in their buying behavior and increasing MV. Alternatively, if the marketers plan to lure older population also, the products would have to be modified to suit their requirements.
Limitations and future research prospects
The study was limited to only five cities in India. A more widespread study that covers smaller cities and country sides in India would provide the researchers a more comprehensive view of the progression of Indian consumers towards MV. The sample was restricted to the educated population only. In a country like India, wherein the literacy rate is around 66 per cent[10], the findings of this study are limited to the educated, urban population of India only.
The buyer behavior traits are measured using only single item instruments, which inturn might have compromised the robustness of the results. Future researchers are suggested to use multi-item measures for various buyer behavior traits in order to get robust results. Robust explanation regarding certain findings in the study, e.g. sample from Kolkata showing insignificant correlation between MV and PTFB, has not been provided. Future researchers might be able to bridge this gap. Longitudinal study, which would study the prevalence of materialism on a selected sample over a period of time, is desirable as it would give indications as to in which direction is materialism progressing in a developing country like India. The study of influence of PTFB on materialism or any other cultural construct can be done for other countries wherein consumers show similar tendencies. For Indian consumers, influence of PTFB on various other cultural dimensions, besides materialism, can be studied.

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Notes
1. The behavior traits studied by Cleveland et al. (2009) are completely different from the behavior traits studied in this paper.
2. The demographic variables studied by Cleveland et al. (2009) were income, age, educational qualification and gender.

266

3. Middle class constitutes of households earning between Rs 180,000 and Rs 300,000 or between $ 3,829.78-$ 6382.98 per annum (Bharadwaj et al., 2005) (exchange rate considered:
$1 ¼ Rs 47).
4. The five-point Likert scale ranged from 1 – strongly disagree to 5 – strongly agree.
5. A list of seven consumer durable product categories were provided, it included – car/SUVs,
TV sets, shirts, jeans, refrigerators, washing machines and watches.
6. The set of seven consumer non-durable product categories were provided, which included – shampoo, lipstick, bathing soap, shaving cream, deodorants, hair colour, cosmetic creams and lotions.
7. Scatter diagram of standardized predicted values and standardized residuals was plotted and absence of any systematic patterns between these two variables, suggested absence of heteroscedasticity problem. Variance inflation factor for all the independent variables was less than 2, indicating absence of multicollinearity among the independent variables.
8. During data entry, the male respondents were coded as 1 and female respondents were coded as 2. So a negative sign of the coefficient representing gender indicates that the lower your gender code is, i.e. 1 (representing male respondents) instead of 2 (representing female respondents), the more materialistic you are.
9. The respondents who gave responses on the credit card usage query were all above 18 years, the minimum age requirement to receive an “add-on” credit card in India as stipulated by
State Bank of India (the largest public sector bank in India).
10. Source: www.unicef.org/infobycountry/india_statistics.html (accessed 18 November 2010).
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About the author
Nitin Gupta gained his PhD in Consumer Behavior from ICFAI University, Dehradun, India.
He has done MBA and has a Bachelors degree in Economics. He was a Visiting Research Scholar in Syracuse University, USA. He is regularly invited by ICN Business School, Nancy, France for taking marketing courses for their students. At IBS Hyderabad, he has taught various marketing courses to MBA, Executive MBA and PhD students. His areas of interests are consumer behavior, brand management and influence of globalization on consumer culture. His research work and cases have been published in national and international journals. Nitin Gupta can be contacted at: prof.nitingupta@gmail.com

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