What is aspirational consumption?

by phil on Tuesday May 19, 2009 11:44 AM

I know about the term "conspicuous consumption." But I couldn't tell whether "aspirational consumption" was something Dana Goodyear made up, or is actually a real term.

Dana Goodyear has an interesting article about Fred Franzia, who recently celebrated the sale of the four-hundred-millionth bottle of Charles Shaw, also known as Two Buck Chuck:

The recession is likely to bring Franzia more customers. People are drinking more, and cheaper, wine; industry people call it "trading down," a sharp reversal after decades of aspirational consumption.
That's the first time I heard the term "aspirational consumption." Fortunately I don't have to think anymore and can just Google it. Wikipedia has an interesting entry on Aspirational brand:
As a general rule, an aspirational brand and its products can command a price premium in the marketplace over a commodity brand. This ability can to a large extent be explained by the consumer's need for invidious consumption for which he is willing to pay a premium. The smaller the size of the product's target audience compared to the exposure audience, the more the product satisfies this need, and the higher the premium that such a consumer is prepared to pay.

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