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Social Media Conspicuous Consumptive Behaviour and Consumer Purchase Intentions of Mobile Devices

Info: 8557 words (34 pages) Introduction
Published: 1st Mar 2022

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Table of Contents

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1.3.1 The problem statement


1.4.2 Primary objective

1.4.3 Secondary objectives

1.4.4 Hypotheses



1.6.1 Underlying theories Consumer socialisation The theory of planned behaviour

1.6.2 Empirical research Social media usage e-WOM


1.7.1 Theoretical Paradigm

1.7.2 Research approach

1.7.3 Research Design

1.7.4 Research Instrument

1.7.5 Sampling method and size

1.7.6 Data collection

1.7.7 Data analysis





The internet is a phenomenon that has actively changed lives throughout the world since its emergence in the 1990s. The internet has also been embraced by South Africans, such that in 2016 more than 51.9% of the South African population had access to the internet (World Wide Worx, 2016). The pervasive use and growth of the internet and digital media has led to communication channels between businesses and their consumers. It has enabled the stimulation of communication methods through enabling new forms of technology based communication channels available to consumers and marketers (Kaplan & Haelin, 2010 and Hung & Li, 2007). Among these channels, is the advent of ‘social media’. Social media is evidently prevalent, this is seen by the average daily social media usage of 106.2 minutes per day worldwide (Chaffey, 2016). With a global penetration rate of 29% there is much credit to how fast social media is developing in business and becoming integrated into individual’s daily lives. Two-way communication is a crucial feature in social media, this is emphasised by its foundation of user generated content (Erkan & Evans, 2012).

Social media is born from the introduction of Web 2.0 technologies. Web 2.0 technologies describe sites that emphasize user-generated content, usability and interoperability (Kaplan & Haelin, 2012 and Thoumrungorje, 2014). These technologies have enabled social media to thrive, such as the social networking site Facebook, and the microblog, Twitter and photo sharing site Instagram. Social media encompasses a “wide range of online word-of-mouth forums”, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat (Rehmani & Khan, 2011 and Erkan & Evans, 2016). It has become an indispensable platform to facilitate information sharing. Social media has allowed groups of people to create and share content inside and outside their normal routine. Fast becoming a significant source of consumer information sharing, awareness, support and empowerment, these platforms are of high interest to marketers (Kaplan & Haelin, 2010). Consequently, social media allows business to directly and inexpensively engage with their clients, realising levels of efficiency that are respectively higher than any other traditional marketing tool (Berthon, Pitt & Campbell, 2008).


The increasing number of mobile devices such as internet connected cell phones, tablet pc’s and the development of short-range wireless technology have communication scientists anticipating the further growth in popularity of social networking sites worldwide (Rehmani & Khan, 2011 and Kaplan & Haelin, 2010). Chaffey (2016) reported that globally, there are over two billion active social media users at a growing rate of 10% year on year. The impact of social media is increasingly pervasive, studies have been conducted in developed economies such as Europe and the United States, whereas research in developing countries is significantly lower (Bolton, Parasuraman, Hoefnagels, Migchels, Kabadayi, Loureiro & Solnet, 2013 and Wang, Yu & Wei, 2012). Social media in developing countries in increasingly prevalent (Duffet, 2014).

South Africa is seen to contribute to the growth of social media on a wide scale, reporting 13 million active social media accounts and a growth rate of 25% (World Wide Worx, 2016). In 2016, World Wide Worx reported that Instagram had redefined the social landscape in South Africa with a 33% growth rate, higher than any other social media platform. Facebook is currently dominating the social media platforms in South Africa, with 14 million monthly users as of 2017. Duffet (2014) found that South African Facebook user’s usage characteristics and demographic variables have a positive influence on online consumer attitudes.

Consumer behaviour and attitudes has been majorly influenced by social media. Compared to traditional marketing and communication channels, social media holds the advantage of communication based on previously established networks. This may be seen as more effective as individuals have certain trusts established in advance (Erkan & Evans, 2016). Individuals are seen to have increased self-esteem due to positive engagements facilitated through social media (Gonzales & Hancock, 2011).  Because the content is user-generated, users can carefully control their content by only sharing positive images about themselves among their network of acquaintances. The feedback is thus often positive which enhances self-esteem. Wilcox and Stephen (2011) found that individual with a higher esteem due to social media, is likely to engage in impulsive and indulgent consumptive behaviour, such as excessive spending on conspicuous goods. Conspicuous goods are those that display wealth and status whilst satisfying an individuals’ need for prestige (Buetler & Gudmunson, 2012). These goods represent a hedonic purpose rather than a utilitarian. Wilcox and Stephen (2011) and Thoumrungorje (2014) state that social media can lead individuals to make irrational choices by increasing their expenditure on conspicuous goods. The following section will provide motivation for the study in the form of the problem statement and objectives.


The literature presented in the background of the study as created a base for which the study can be conducted. The following section will focus on the problem of the study as the resultant objectives.

1.3.1 The problem statement

The revolution of social media has altered the communication landscape significantly, consequently impacting marketing communications. The use of social media sites has influenced consumer’s communication habits and consumption behaviour. The emergent communication structure has seen consumers shift from passive participants, to active creators and influences in marketing causing a transfer of power over brands directly to the consumers. As such, consumers now find themselves in a strengthened position regarding the exposure of media marketing (Kaplan & Haelin, 2010). Consumers comprehensively critique information shared online in order to adopt the opinions, motivations and behaviours for ideal purchase intentions (Erkan & Evans, 2016)

Interactions on social media have created new behaviours and have also affected consumers’ purchasing decisions (Duffet & Wackham, 2016). Social media allows a diverse range of factors to influence a consumer. Cheung, Zhu, Kwong, Chan and Mozel (2003) determined factors such as consumer characteristics which includes the frequency and intensity of social media usage and peer interactions affect a consumer’s purchase decision. Gratification from consumer socialisation on social media is linked to conspicuous consumptive behaviour, this is due to the need for indivualuadls to gain social acceptance by online peers and the need for a good ‘social image’ .(Thoumrungorje, 2015 and Jain, Khan & Mishra, 2015). The behaviour consequently results in consumers making irrational choices by increasing the expenditure on conspicuous goods (Wilcox & Stephen, 2011 and Thoumrungorje, 2014). The pervasiveness of conspicuous consumption in South Africa has been identified and previously studied (Chipp, Manzi & Kleyn, 2011), but its relation to the specific context of social media has not been explored. However, with the growth of social media users in South Africa it is imperative to understand how social media affects conspicuous behaviour on intention to purchase in the South African context. Social media has significantly changed the communication structure between businesses and their consumers, is important for marketers to gain a greater understanding of the role that social media plays in driving purchase behaviour (Kaplan & Haelin, 2010). It is believed that consumers are becoming more reliant on eWOM in a social media context (Erkan & Evans, 2016 and Thoumrungorje, 2014). Consistent with literature on conspicuously consumed products, this study aims to examine how social media influences purchase intentions of mobile devices (Chipp et al., 2011; Park, Rabolt and Jeon, 2007 and See-to & Ho, 2014).  Mobile devices have recently become one of the fastest growing communication gadgets. The ‘mobile feature’ is found to satisfy numerous consumer needs such as safety, accessibility, and fashion (Davie, Panting & Charlton, 2004).


1.4.2 Primary objective

The primary objective of this study is to examine conspicuous consumptive behaviour facilitated by Instagram and Facebook on intention to purchase mobile devices.

1.4.3 Secondary objectives

  • To measure the impact that Instagram usage intensity has on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.
  • To measure the impact that Instagram reliance on eWOM has on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.
  • To measure the impact that Facebook usage intensity has on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.
  • To measure the impact Facebook reliance on eWOM has on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

1.4.4 Hypotheses

Figure 1

Instagram usage intensity

Instagram reliance on eWOM



Social media conspicuous consumptive attitude

Intention to purchase luxury clothing brands

Facebook usage intensity


Facebook reliance on eWOM


Figure 2


H0: Instagram usage intensity does not have a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

H1:Instagram usage intensity has a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

H02: Instagram reliance on eWOM does not have a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

H2: Instagram reliance on eWOM has a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

H03: Facebook usage intensity does not have a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

H3: Facebook usage intensity has a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

H04: Facebook reliance on eWOM does not have a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

H4: Facebook reliance on eWOM has a significantly positive influence on conspicuous consumptive behaviour’

H05: Conspicuous consumptive behaviour does not have a significantly positive influence on intention to purchase mobile devices.

H5: Conspicuous consumptive behaviour has a significantly positive influence on intention to purchase luxury mobile devices.


The significance of this study lies in the view that limited research studies have examined the impact of social media on consumer behaviour (Bolton et al., 2013) and even less research has been conducted on conspicuous consumptive behaviour and emerging markets intention to purchase. Therefore this study aims to provide insights into this gap in academic literature by investigating social media and its impact on conspicuous consumptive behaviour and intention to purchase mobile devices.

South Africa has one of the largest electronic communications markets in Africa (Duffet & Wackham, 2016). Businesses have realised the impact and importance of the digital community, consumers and competitors are now more accessible than with any other traditional marketing tools. Initial adoption of social media by consumers is only the first step toward success (Cheung et al., 2003), businesses need to create and maintain long-term relationships with consumers to promote purchase and re-purchase. It has also been reported that more African business are seen to be embracing social media as the advertising medium to drive sales (Alfreds, 2015). Understanding the impact that social media has on consumer behaviour will allow business to develop more effective positioning strategies for their products, particularly with reference to luxury brands and their positioning thereof.


This section aims to provide an overview of existing literature pertaining to the key aspects under study. The underlying theories supporting he study, namely the Consumer Socialisation Theory and The Theory of Planned Behaviour are briefly reviewed. Lastly, prior research studies relative to this study’s context will be highlighted.

1.6.1 Underlying theories

In an effort to provide sound literature, the study has employed two underpinning theories. The Theory of Consumer Socialisation and the Theory of Planned Behaviour are examined in the Section and respectively. Consumer Socialisation

The theory of Consumer Socialisation was developed by Moschis and Churchil (1978) as a theoretical framework that describes the interaction between personal and environmental factors on behavioural outcomes. Consumer Socialisation theory predicts that cognitive, affective and behavioural attitudes are results of communication among consumers (Ward, 1974). Through this communication process individuals develop consumer-related capabilities, information and approaches (Ward, 1974). The theory offers two theoretical perspectives to understand and forecast communication among consumers: a cognitive development model and social learning theory. This study made use of the latter as it emphasises external environmental sources of learning known as “socialisation agents” (peers) which convey norms, attitudes, motivations and behaviours to learners (Wang et al., 2012 and Köhler, Rohm, Ruyter & Wetzels 2011). In order to explain the consumer socialisation processes among adult populations this perspective has been implemented (Ahuja and Galvin, 2003 and Taylor, Lewin and Strutton, 2011).

Social media creates a virtual platform for individuals to communicate on the internet, which many studies have noted as an important agent of consumer socialisation (Köhler et al., 2011 and Wang et al., 2012).  There are three conditions that encourage consumer socialisation among peers online, provided by social media that can be identified (Wang et al., 2012). Firstly, social media sites provide a communication landscape that makes the socialisation process easy and convenient. Secondly, the pervasive use of social media allows consumers to learn about experiences and share information to facilitate consumer-related decisions. Lastly, the multitude of peers who act as socialisation agents provide vast product evaluations that can facilitate education and information. Wang at al., (2012) state that peer communication online can influence consumer’s attitude toward certain purchase behaviour. This theory forms a basis for the proposed study as the study examines the depth and nature of socialisation and modelling behaviour that takes places between individuals in a social media context, specifically Facebook and Instagram.

Conspicuous consumption

Conspicuous consumption is a behavioural pattern where consumers ostentatiously obtain, use and display goods and services to gain social status, more than to meet functional needs (Buetler & Gudmunson, 2012). Chipp et al. (2011) state that conspicuous consumptive behaviour involves expenditure for the purposes of ego-inflating. That is to say conspicuous consumption is a concept whereby people consume products to display their hierarchal status both to themselves and their network of peers(Thoumrungorje, 2014).

Conspicuous consumption has many psychological and social influences, these influences mirror the socialisation agents in the Theory of Consumer Socialisation. Social media exposure and peer influences are factors that are related with conspicuous consumption (Chipp et al., 2011) Consumers may often want to be positively recognised by their peers, this can lead them to consume conspicuously (Hennings, Wiedmann, Klaarman & Beherens, 2015). Chipp et al. (2011) found that individuals try to improve their quality of life, which may include the need for material resources, which are all linked to conspicuous consumptive behaviour.

For This study, the concept of conspicuous consumption is merged with social media consumer socialisation theory and postulates that social media influences conspicuous consumption. More specifically the study takes into consideration the frequency of time spent on social media (Facebook and Instagram) and word-of-mouth communication that occur and how this influences individuals’ propensity to purchase mobile devices. The Theory of Planned Behaviour

Azjen (1991) proposed to improve the prophetic power of the Theory of Reasoned action by including perceived behavioural control, this concept became the theory of planned behaviour. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) aims to associate behaviour and beliefs, this is to say that it aims to predict an individual’s intention to engage in a certain behaviour. Azjen (1991) submitted that an individual’s behaviour is determined by behavioural intentions. He furthered this by proposing three determinants of behavioural intentions, namely: individual’s attitude toward behaviour, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control. The three determinants predict intention.

Attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control outline the behaviour prior to it taking place, this is used as a good predictor for actual behaviour (Conner & Armitage, 1998). The Individuals attitude simply refers to the degree to which an individual has experienced negative or positive feelings toward the behaviour in interest. On the other hand the subjective norm refers to an individual’s perception based on their significant others. An individual’s perception as to the extent to which performance of the behaviour is achievable refers to their perceived behavioural control. Generally if the intention it strong, it is more likely that the behaviour will be performed.

Behavioural intention is measured as the antecedent of actual behaviour by a significant number of studies (The Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Technology Acceptance Model). Behavioural intention encompasses a significant larger scope that will allow predictability to include present and future purchase intentions. However, when it comes to buying behaviour, criticism by old and new studies has been noted (Erkan & Evans, 2016), the rationale being that purchase behaviour is exposed to prejudice by external factors such as fluctuation of income (Erkan & Evans, 2016).

Intention to purchase

It is imperative that there is a clear distinction between purchase intentions and behaviour. Purchase behaviour generally refers to a consumer’s attitudes and preferences when making the decision to purchase a product or service (Lim, Ting, Khoo & Wong, 2012). On the other hand, purchase intentions refer the plan of action as consumer engages in. The establishment of the model of TPB created a foundation for future studies in consumer behavioural intention. Purchase intention specifies a consumer’s probable behaviour. Positive purchase intention not only indicates high probability of purchase but also consumes positive commitment toward a product (Moorman, Deshpande & Zaltman, 1993).

For this study, the TPB is used to measure individual’s intention to purchase stemming from social media conspicuous consumptive behaviour patterns.

1.6.2 Empirical research

Research regarding social media and consumer behaviour has been already conducted. Previous studies have generally studied the effect of social media on consumers purchase decisions across a variety of contexts (Pookunlangara & Kosler, 2011; Erkan & Evans, 2016 and Bolton et al., 2012). The impact of technology on purchase decision and conspicuous consumption has however been overlooked (Cheung et al., 2003).Pookunlangara and Kosler (2011) analysed the influence of social media on consumers from a business’s perspective, stating that social media provides retailers with an opportunity to add value by openly providing positive information to the consumers. Balakrishan, Dahnil and Yi, (2014) found that the virtual communities that social media platforms allows consumers to share and exchange their views and product/service related information.  The increase in online advertising has increased the effectiveness of interactions between consumers and businesses, this has been seen to be a positive impact on consumer purchase intentions (Balakrishan et al., 2014). However, Hudson and Thal (2013) found that marketers were not effectively interacting with consumers on social media platforms.

The availability of information on social media, and the extent to which the information is value adding was found to have a positive impact on consumer purchase intention (Erkan & Evans, 2016). Maxwell (2013) revealed that although many consumers conduct information mining online, the actual purchase of good is done physically. Whilst there is a range of social media studies that have been conducted in South Africa (Duffet, 2014; Peter & Johnston, 2015; Duffet & Wakhamn, 2016 and Van Rooyen, 2015), none of them have examined conspicuous consumption and social media. Social media usage

The amount of time spent on social media is steadily on the rise denoted by 30% of teenager’s time being spent online. (Asano, 2017). The integration of social platforms is evident such that in 2017 an average of 20 minutes a day was spent on Facebook alone (Asano, 2017). Research has shown that consumers actively select media that satisfy specific needs (Gao and Feng, 2016). Based on the underpinnings of traditional mass media, Gao and Feng (2016) found that the use of social media increased in the following categories: information seeking, entertainment, social interaction, self –expression and impression management. Johnson and Yang (2009) that found that users who felt gratification based on of the motives were more likely to frequent social networks

Social media is rapidly becoming one of the most time-consuming activities in a person’s life. With the rapid growth mobile devices, social media activities are much easier and more frequent (Li, Park & Park, 2016). The average use of social media usage among millennials is six hours 19 minutes per week with ‘Gen X’ (Born years 1960-1980, approximately) leading at seven hours per week (Asano, 2017). Thoumrungorje (2014) suggests that intensity of use of social media has an active impact on consumer consumptive behaviour, 41% of consumers spend 2 hours or less on social networks spent at least $500 (R6400) on online purchases (Nielson, 2016)  Consumers who engage in more time on social media are likely to review the products as positive (Li et al., 2015). In addition, consumers who spend more time on social media gain more product knowledge (Barker, Dozier, Weiss & Bored, 2013) with 37% of consumers reported to use social media to receive information on products or services, exclusive offers, coupons and brand discounts (Nielson, 2016). e-WOM

Word of mouth (WOM) has been acknowledged for many years as a critical influencer of personal communication (Gupta & Harris, 2010). WOM is characterised as oral, person-to-person interaction between a communicator and a receiver. Due to the revolution of technology WOM transformed into a new form of communication known as electronic-word-of-mouth (eWOM). Consumers are exposed to eWOM through social media (Gupta & Harris, 2010). The lack of social cues in eWOM forces consumers to appraise persuasiveness exclusively constructed by content characteristics, eWOM has a direct impact on the purchasing behaviour of consumers (Thoumrungorje, 2014).

Consumers are exposed to eWOM through social media (Gupta & Harris, 2010). The lack of social cues in eWOM forces consumers to evaluate persuasiveness solely based on content characteristics. EWOM is becoming more prominent over time and more businesses are opting to use it as a tool to aid the implementation of ‘social marketing strategies’. EWOM users are evidenced to be growing, the number of users who post or share their opinions or experiences is increasing (Thoumrungorje, 2014). This in turns creates a direct impact of eWOM on the purchasing behaviour of consumers (Thoumrungorje, 2014). The emergence of social media a direct influence on consumer purchasing decisions (Erkan & Evans, 2016), the content on social media sites have become one of the most significant source of information for consumers to make purchasing decisions. The information that is relayed through eWOM results in the persuasion on consumers to purchase products (Erkan & Evans, 2016). The impact of eWOM in social media on consumer purchase intentions has been studied (See-To & Ho, 2014; Wang et al., 2012 and Thoumrungorje, 2014). The information that is relayed through eWOM results in the persuasion on consumers to purchase products (Erkan & Evans, 2016).


Research methodology can be defined as the process used to collect data for the intended research. McDaniel and Gates (2015) propose it as an approach used to obtain and analyse data; this includes the method of selecting the subject of the phenomena to be studied. This section explains the methodology applied in the study, when and from whom the data will be collected, how many respondents participated in the study, and the instrument used to collect the data. The theoretical paradigm that was used in the study is explained in the following section.

1.7.1Theoretical Paradigm

A theoretical paradigm can be defined as the set of basic beliefs that deal with first principles (Bryman & Bell, 2011). A philosophical framework is necessary in marketing research to act as a guide to the way the research processes are performed (Shukla, 2008)). This study will make use of the positivist approach. This paradigm was chosen as the study aims to gain factual knowledge  through observation. The approach allows for the generalisation of findings by means of a quantitative research approach which uses large samples sizes in order to achieve research objectives (Bryman & Bell, 2011). The paradigm chosen allows the study to follow an appropriate research approach and design explained in Sections 1.7.2 and 1.7.3 respectively.

1.7.2 Research approach

This study will employ a quantitative approach. Quantitative research provides a formalised data structure where one can measure what people think from a statistical and numerical point of view (Malhotra, 2009). This is ideal as the response options were predetermined by the researcher allowing the numerical data to be collected and analysed (Wiid & Diggines, 2013). The intention of the study is to reach a large number or respondents, collect data and develop summaries about the sample drawn rather than exploring and monitoring data.

1.7.3 Research Design

The research design is the overall strategy used to integrate the different components of the study (McDaniel & Gates, 2015). It is imperative to determine an appropriate research design that is a function of the research objectives and the information required. Generally there are three types of research design that may be used, namely: exploratory, descriptive and causal.

The study will use the descriptive research design as the intention of the research is to collect data and create constructs that will allow the researcher to determine patterns and links but not causal links.  McDaniel and Gates (2015) also indicate that quantitative research methods are more directly related to the descriptive research design than exploratory studies.

1.7.4 Research Instrument

The research instrument is essentially how and/or with what the data will be collected from the intended respondent (Hair, Wolfinbarger, Bush & Orintau, 2012). This study will make use of a self-completion questionnaire.  A Questionnaire is a survey containing a set of questions, it is one that is addressed to statistically significant subject (Shukla, 2008).The research scales adopted to measure constructs in this study are shown below in table 1.1.

Table 1: The research instrument

Scales to be adopted Source Cronbach’s Alpha Factor loading
Social media usage intensity Adapted from  Bush & Gilbert (2002) and Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe, (2007)






Time spent on photo sharing sites (Instagram) 0.807
Time spent on social networking site (Facebook) 0.741
Instagram eWOM Adapted from Bearden, Neteyemer & Teel (1989)






When I consider new products, I ask my contacts on Instagram for advice 0.836
I usually talk to my contacts on Instagram before I buy products. 0.906
I like to get opinions of my contacts on Instagram before I buy products. 0.919
I often ask my contacts on Instagram about what products to buy. 0.915
I feel more comfortable choosing products when I have gotten opinions from my contact on Instagram. 0.890
When choosing products, my contacts opinions on Instagram are important to me. 0.893
Facebook eWOM  
When I consider new products, I ask my contacts on Facebook for advice 0.836
I usually talk to my contacts on Facebook before I buy products. 0.906
I like to get opinions of my contacts on Facebook before I buy products. 0.919
I often ask my contacts on Facebook about what products to buy. 0.915
I feel more comfortable choosing products when I have gotten opinions from my contact on Facebook. 0.890
When choosing products, my contacts opinions on Facebook are important to me. 0.893


Conspicuous consumptive behaviour

Chung & Fisher (2001)






It is important to  know what friends think of different brands or products I am considering   0.696
It is important to know what kinds of people buy brands or products I am considering. 0.773
It is important to know what others think of people who use certain brands or products I am considering. 0.741
It is important to know what brands or products to buy to make a good impression on other. 0.551
Intention to purchase  
In the future I intend to purchase a mobile device when I purchase again.  Hung, Hackley & Hackley (2011)


Construct Reliablity

Lin, Wu & Chen (2013)




I am considering purchasing mobile devices when I purchase again. 0.599
There is a strong possibility that I will purchase a mobile devices when I purchase again. 0.809
I am likely to purchase mobile devices when I purchase again. 0.919
I intend to purchase mobile devices when I need to purchase again. 0.910

1.7.5 Sampling method and size

One of the first steps in designing a quantitative research study is to choose the objects from which the data will be collected. In this particular study, it is the individuals who participated in the research. This study will make use of non-probability sampling. Smith and Albaum (2010) define non-probability sampling as a technique used to select units from a population that a research may use for study. Convenience sampling will be used in the research, convenience sampling is simply when the units for study are selected for inclusion because they are easiest to access (Cooper & Schindler, 2014).  Convenience sampling was chosen for this study because it is an inexpensive way to the approximation of the truth.

The respondents chosen will be University of Fort Hare students, in the East London campus. The sample size will consist of 350 respondents, the number of respondents was sufficient a suggested by similar studies (Erkan & Evans, 2016; Li et al., 2016 and Wang, 2014). Students were chosen for this study as, Park et al. (2007) found that young university students in emerging markets are influenced by materialism and conformity driving them conspicuous behaviour.

1.7.6 Data collection

The data collection methodology that will be employed is a survey. Wiid and Diggines (2013) describe a survey as primary data collection in which information is gathered from a representative sample of people. The survey method is beneficial as it is quick, has direct opinion from respondents and the data is original and does not already exist in any other usable form (Shukla, 2008).

1.7.7 Data analysis

Data analysis refers to the process of transforming the data collected to useful information and conclusions that will help in decision (Hair et al., 2012). The study will make use of descriptive and inferential statistics and association analysis. Descriptive statistics summarises the population using mean, median, mode, frequency distribution and standard deviations (Wiid & Diggines, 2013). Inferential statistics uses standard error and null hypothesis while association analysis makes uses of correlations, regressions and cross tabulations (Bryman & Bell, 2011). The model will be tested via structured equation modelling (SEM). SEM aims to understand and explain correlational patterns among variables at item level as opposed to construct level (Bryman & Bell, 2011). It will further evaluate the overall fit of the proposed model using Lisrel software.

Reliability is “the instrument which measures the repetition of research findings”, whereas the validity is the extent to which the findings are accurately representing the actual situation (Bryman & Bell, 2011).  This study will is the Cronbach’s alpha as a measure for its reliability. The Cronbach’s alpha test checks if each individual item in a scale correlates with the remaining items, alpha coefficients of a values greater than 0.7 are considered acceptable (Wiid & Diggines, 2013). This study will use the exploratory factor analysis, which is used to understand underlying variables between measure variables to test validity (Bryman & Bell, 2011). The Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS), version 23 will be used to analyse the data.


Ethics can be defined as norms and standards of behaviour that guide people’s choices, behaviour and relationships (Resnik, 2015). Ethics in research aim to ensure safety and comfort in research activities. The study will contain a confidentiality statement. The confidentiality statement ensures that the study retains its validity as well as protect the respondents (Wiid & Diggnes, 2013). Furthermore, respondents will be required to sign and date the statement as part of good ethical practice in research. Gaining ethical clearance in research is important as it ensure that all research is conducted appropriately and done in a manner that is sensitive to the respondents needs. Ethical clearance for the study will be sought after from the University of Fort Hare Research and Ethics committee in order to conduct this research.


This study will consist of five chapters which will be introduction, literature review, and description of the methodology, data analysis and presentations and also the presentations of findings, drawing of conclusions and recommending possible future research.


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