Second hand luxury market
The concept of second hand luxury is a complex social phenomenon that suffices out of consumer behavior and preferences. Turunen and Leipämaa-Leskinen (2015), offer a unique insight into the definitive characteristics of second-hand luxury noting the five key decision making cues in consumer behavior; sustainable choice, real deal, pre-loved treasure, risk investment and unique find. Based on these characteristics, the authors observed that consumers engage in purchase of second-hand luxury goods to achieve symbolic status at fair value, regardless of the presence of exclusive service that is usually attached to luxury goods. The element of luxury that most is most sought after is the exclusivity of the product which results in prestige of the product. As such, organizations place a premium on the exclusivity aspect of the product hence resulting in high value products. In the absence of exclusivity, the luxurious aspects of the commodity become questionable. As such, second-hand luxury products are, by extension, valued by conspicuous consumption behaviors rather than the perceived quality of the product.
The rationale behind luxury and cost minimization is echoed by Lee M., Ko, Lee S. and Kim, K. (2015), who noted that the typologies of luxury disposition is influenced by cognitive and emotional decision-making behaviors with the cognitive part focusing on financial decisions and the emotional part focusing on relational decisions. The two elements are the main feature which promotes the purchase of second-hand luxury products. In the first instance, the cheaper costs of the product result in the consumer behavior towards second-hand products. On the other hand, the emotional cues predict the alignment to the luxury products. The supposition of Lee et al., is that the purchase decision is based on the related value determinants, where, higher emotional value would mean higher costs, and hence optimal emotional and financial values would determine the purchasers willingness to purchase the second-hand luxury product.
In Berta (2015), it was noted that prestige in second-hand luxury goods in the Gabor Roma society was influenced by the history of ownership of the product. The study provides a different aspect of value of second-hand luxury items, relating them to the concept of authenticity of ownership. In the study, it was observed that higher value was placed on perceptions of ownership transfer methods such as sale; inheritance, and proprietary contents. Berta’s perspective on the significance of culture on second hand products offers a different method of valuation of the commodity. From Berta’s perspective, the value of the product is determinable by information relating to the past financial value and the historical social importance of the item. This perception offers a bridge between luxurious purchase of second-hand items, and second-hand purchase of luxurious items. The former relates to purchasing of second-hand items of high value, while the later denotes the purchase of high value products at a lower cheaper cost.
In a contributing opinion, Cervellon, Carey and Harms (2012), differentiate between vintage purchase and second-hand luxury purchases. Their argumentative perspective notes that with vintage purchases, status value is not a priority, but rather the nostalgic annotations that the item produces, while on the other hand, second-hand purchase is based on frugality. It is observable that, while Berta’s value system is based on the financial aspects influenced by prestige to represent, Cervellon et al., offer that regardless of the financial aspect of the decision making, when the emotional cue is nostalgia, the consumption is vintage rather than second-hand. In this way, it is assumable that the purchase price of a vintage item, which denotes a luxurious purchase, would be higher than the price of the same item if it was considered a second-hand item. This elemental value exchange is then dependent upon how the seller presents the item to the buyer.
In seeking to determine consumer attitudes towards online shopping, Al-Debei, Akroush and Ashouri (2015) observed that quality is a construct of trust and perceived benefits in online purchases. The author’s defined quality, in an online setting, as web quality, which, in essence, is the network quality or quality constructed by the social network. Based on these descriptions, the study further discovered that online shopping behaviors are determined by trust in the ability of the specific online shopping web site to sell quality commodities. The element of trust in this case represents a value created by the consumer towards the seller and this is capitalized in current and future transactions. The position of Al-Debei et al., in this case is that, in the absence of trust, even when the quality of the goods is factual, the purchaser would avoid the purchase, while in the presence of trust, the factual quality of the product becomes inconsequential.
Groß (2018) offers a different perspective of trust formation noting that online shopping is influenced by trust in the vender as opposed to trust in quality of the product. From another point of view, Benn, Webb, Chang and Reidy (2015) argued that online and physical shopping followed similar decision-making cues, with the visual representation of product forming a significant informational resource in elating to purchase the product. The difference in opinion is based on the trust formation cues which predict purchase behavior of the consumer. On one part, it is trust in the seller and on the other part is trust in the quality of the product. Trust in the seller is as a result of the interactions between the consumer and the vendor, while trust in the product is based on experience with the product. In this case, a vendor can offer a low quality product to the consumer, with the additional value being the value of trust formed. On the other hand, trust in the product is uncompromised and depends of the producer’s ability to produce reliable products.
Despite the growing prevalence over online shopping, Beckers, Cárdenas and Verhetsel (2018) observe an increasing challenge for the retailers, logistics operators, and public authorities, which is a direct result of the growing online shopping preference. The authors note that there is gross misrepresentation of data involving adaptation of online shopping and that, with current data, the middle aged working male population is the most prone to adapt to online shopping. The middle-aged working male population would be more inclined to research on the quality of the product prior to purchase, most of the information, which can be easily found on online stores than physical stores. The issue of trust resurfaces in this case, where the most probable online consumer would be influenced by trust in the product description rather than the annotations of the vendor.
Park and Lee (2017), offer some form of insight into the response of stakeholders to the challenges, by observing the online communication strategies of online marketing companies. Echoing the inference of Beckers et al., on gender, Park and Lee note that socio-demographic characteristics, mostly gender and age, are used by online shopping companies to design communication strategies. Notably, the middle-aged working male consumer had higher chances of using multiple information gathering and online purchase methods. The foundation and rationale of this supposition is the aspect of developing trust in a product rather than in the vendor. Both Park and Lee, and Beckers et al., observed the use of product reviews in the determination of the quality of the product. As such, online purchase behavior is determined by the ability of the consumer to get trustworthy information regarding the quality of the product.
Second-hand luxury online markets
In Ferraro, Sands and Brace-Govan (2016), the authors discovered that second-hand online markets are based on fashionableness of the products which is a significant influence on consumer behaviors. The authors note that retailers, including online retailers, are capitalizing on the fashionableness of vintage lines to attract the consumer market. However, the authors discover that the trends in vintage fashionableness are replicated across all platforms of shopping including both brick and mortar and online platforms. The essence of point of view is the fact that, luxury depends on exclusivity to validate high costs and value. In placing an item as a luxury product, the vendor may miss out on the attractive second-hand negotiable value that most purchase of second-hand luxury items rely on. As such, the vendor is better placed at advertising the item as being of high value due to the second-handedness of the product rather than the initial luxury value of the product.
Sihvonen and Turunen (2016) offered that consumers place a perceived value on fashion brands in online flea markets. In constructing their argument, the authors provide brand availability, origin, perceived quality, authenticity and price as the main components of online shopping decision-making for fashion and luxury products. In both instances of research, it is evident that online consumer behaviors are dependent on perceived value which is based on vintage fashionableness and negotiated value (Ferraro et al., 2016; Sihvonen, & Turunen, 2016), authenticity, origin and availability of brands (Sihvonen, & Turunen, 2016). In this case, the assumption of web quality offered by Al-Debei et al., (2015), plays a significant role in determining the online second-hand purchase of luxury goods. This is because, both luxurious value, and vintage fashionableness are social constructs, which increase the value of the product and increase the likelihood of the individual to purchase the item.
Offering a different perspective into the online consumption behavior of luxury brands, Truong, (2010) determines that luxury consumption is more dictated by conspicuous consumption than perceived quality. Interestingly, the author’s position negates all the other arguments of value based on perceived quality and price considerations, inferring that the objective of the luxury consumer is to be seen to consume the product. As opposed to Ferraro et al., (2016); Lee et al., (2015); and Turunen & Leipämaa-Leskinen, (2015), Truong, forms a paradox where the individual relies on status as a decision-making cue, while seeking to disclose the value aspect of the product hence resulting in probable misperceived value of online products. The conspicuous consumption point of view of second hand products is a complex phenomenon. This is because, the seller would want to represent the item as second-hand luxurious to the buyer, while the buyer would want to represent the item as vintage luxurious the peers in the social circle.
Abdul-Ghani, Hyde, and Marshall’s, (2011) perspective on consumer-to-consumer online purchases, as based on utilitarian, hedonic and social benefits are reinforced. In this way, second-hand online purchases of luxury goods are based on a paradoxical process of trust building between buyer and seller and untrustworthiness between buyer and the social network. On the other hand, the process also represents a trade-off between social benefits and utilitarianism. The complex system exists due to the fact that, the web quality affects value, and yet, web quality is determined by the representation of the product by the buyer to the social network.