Introduction

Even more than 100 years ago, Veblen (1899) coined and popularized the term conspicuous consumption in The Theory of the Leisure Class. His idea was that people can be "signaling-by-consuming." Crouch (2013) describes how the ostentatious parties during La Belle Epoque in France were the source of inspiration for Veblen. Based on this classic idea, different forms of signaling-by-consuming were subjects of research. Included in the conspicuous consumption theory and empirical research were different household expenditure categories (Kamakura & Du, 2012), different goods or products (Heffetz, 2011), different identity-creating brands (O'Cass & McEwen, 2004; Tsai, 2005), and different cultures (Jin, Wang, Wang, Li, & Deng, 2015; Li & Su, 2007). It was mainly economists who studied this phenomenon (Solnick & Hemenway, 1998), and their perspective in general is that a consumer decision to buy a good cannot be explained only by the intrinsic utility derived from consuming it. Also, what the purchase of the good symbolizes to others is an important additional explanatory factor (Corneo & Jeanne, 1997; Mason, 2000). In this "economist tradition," emphasis was always on the demonstration of wealth, income, and status, mainly focusing on buying durables. However, other researchers, like Chen, Yeh, and Wang (2008), for example, stress that conspicuous consumption means on one hand the ostentation of wealth but on the other hand also the demonstration of something symbolic that is more immaterial. They define conspicuous consumption as "the extent of one's behavioral tendency of displaying one's social status, wealth, taste or self-image to one's important reference groups through consumption of publicly visible products" (p. 686). Jin et al. (2015) denote this distinction as Veblen effects (reputability and social status) versus Bourdieu effects (taste and personality).