The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand the risk-reducing strategies used by Chinese consumers in a collectivistic culture to balance the psychological dichotomy they face when consuming counterfeit luxury products to construct their social identities. Consumers, on the one hand, are tempted to buy counterfeit luxury products due to their remarkable price advantages, while on the other hand they are reluctant to use these products given the fear of being socially caught out. This dissonance intensifies in a collectivistic culture, where the concept of social face is important. The study involved reviewing a large volume of literature on the research of non-deceptive counterfeit luxury consumption, based on which 26 semi-structured in-depth interviews among Chinese consumers were conducted to explore strategies used by consumers to construct their social identity through using counterfeit luxury products. In addition, the ways they select and use these products to avoid being caught out in order to maintain their constructed social identity were investigated. The data were analyzed by adopting (Mitchell in Manag Decis 30(3):26–31, 1992) risk reduction framework, and the findings illustrate the different strategies taking place through two separate consumption phases: pre-purchase and post-purchase. This research offers new insights into non-deceptive counterfeit consumption by introducing perceived risk and risk-reducing strategies.
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Appendix: Interview Questions
Appendix: Interview Questions
Section 1 Basic information
The basic information includes the interviewees’ gender, age, education, occupation, income, family status.
Section 2 Basic information about luxury consumption
Do you like luxury products?
Do you know any luxury brands?
Do you have any preferred luxury brand(s)?
Where, how often, what kind and why do you buy luxury products?
Do you think the price of the luxury brands is reasonable?
Section 3 Basic information about counterfeit luxury consumption: focus on the self
Have you ever considered purchasing a counterfeit luxury product?
Have you ever bought a counterfeit luxury product?
Why do you buy or do not buy counterfeit luxury products?
What kind of counterfeit luxury products have you ever bought?
Can you talk about the process of purchasing a counterfeit luxury product?
Do you think you gain some benefits from consuming counterfeit luxury products?
Do you or the people around you [who might buy counterfeit luxury products] think you or they can use a counterfeit luxury item to construct the same social identity as they can with the original ones?
Do you or the people around you [who might buy counterfeit luxury products] feel any risk attached to consuming counterfeit luxury products?
Are you afraid of being caught by others? Do you feel embarrassed by using counterfeit luxury products or/and are you afraid of losing face by being caught out?
What do you [or the people around you] think about counterfeit luxury products?
Section 4 Basic information about counterfeit luxury consumption: focus on friends or/and family
Do you know if any of your friends or family members have bought or are going to buy counterfeit luxury products? Were you with them when they bought it? If so, could you please explain?
Did your friends or family members tell you what they have bought and why they have purchased counterfeits?
What do you think the reason(s) could be when your friends or family purchase counterfeit products? Have you ever seen them using the purchased product(s)? If so, how and when do they use them? Please explain.
Section 5 Scenarios
Imagine you want to buy a counterfeit luxury product…
What would you do? Are you going to do some preparation or research before buying a counterfeit luxury? Please explain.
How would you buy and select a counterfeit luxury product?
How and when would you use a counterfeit luxury product?
What would you do to prevent others from finding it as a counterfeit luxury product?
What would you do if others find or strongly suspect you are using a counterfeit luxury product?
Do you or your friends use social media to flaunt their counterfeits in the same way as they do with the originals? Please explain.
Section 6 Follow-up questions
What type of counterfeit luxury products would you select to take to a certain type of function?
What occasions do you go that you need the counterfeit luxury products?
How do you use counterfeit luxury products?
Who would you be hoping to see the counterfeit luxury products?
What behavior might you engage into get others notice your [counterfeit] luxury products?
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Li, J., Ghaffari, M. & Su, L. Counterfeit luxury consumption strategies in a collectivistic culture: the case of China. J Brand Manag 27, 546–560 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41262-020-00197-4