Cross-cultural effects of self-discrepancy on the consumption of counterfeit branded luxuries

Jiongen XIAO, Chunyu LI*, Ling PENG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Consumers’ motivations for purchasing counterfeit branded luxuries are a topic of heated discussion amongst academics and practitioners. Drawing on self-discrepancy theory, the purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of actual-ideal self-discrepancy on consumers’ attitudes towards counterfeit branded luxuries. It investigates how self-monitoring and perceived social risk moderate this effect. Furthermore, it explores cross-cultural differences in the impact of actual-ideal self-discrepancy. Design/methodology/approach: A pilot study provides preliminary evidence that highlights the importance of actual-ideal self-discrepancy in counterfeit consumption. Based upon a large-scale survey across Hong Kong, the USA and Australia, the principal study explores the moderating effect of self-monitoring and perceived social risk as well as cross-cultural differences. Findings: The results indicate that self-discrepancy increases consumers’ tendency to engage in symbolic consumption, and that consumption of counterfeit branded luxuries can serve the social function of self-expression to reduce the discomfort induced by self-discrepancy. Self-monitoring and perceived social risk have significant moderating effects, with the former strengthening and the latter attenuating this effect. Moreover, the effect of self-discrepancy is more pronounced amongst individualistic consumers than collectivistic consumers. Originality/value: This is the first study to highlight the significance of self-discrepancy in the consumption of counterfeit branded luxuries. It examines the important moderating effects of self-monitoring and perceived social risk. Consumers from collectivistic and individualistic cultures define their self-concept differently, thus the findings provide meaningful cross-cultural information on the impact of self-discrepancy in counterfeit consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-987
Number of pages16
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2018


  • Counterfeit branded luxuries
  • Cross-cultural differences
  • Perceived social risk
  • Self-discrepancy
  • Self-monitoring


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