This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Role of Need for Distinctiveness and Acculturation in Young, Urban Indian Consumers’ Purchase Intention for Western Brands at Western Retail Formats: An Application of Theory of Planned Behavior




Mann, Manveer

Type of Degree



Consumer Affairs


Facing stiff competition and saturation in the home markets, American and European firms are increasingly looking for opportunities in India, the second largest untapped retail market. Despite its great market potential, the unique cultural background and market structure in India make it critical for foreign firms to understand why young Indian consumers, an emerging segment, choose to buy (or not to buy) Western brands at Western retail formats. To this end, this study examines need for distinctiveness to capture Indian consumers’ dual desire for affiliation and differentiation to assert status, and investigate its role in accelerating acculturation towards Western culture and forming their value perception towards Western brands and Western retail formats in India. Drawing from Theory of Planned Behavior, a conceptual model is proposed to examine the roles that young Indian consumers’ value perceptions (beliefs) about Western brands and Western retail formats as well as their subjective norms and perceived behavioral control play in forming an intention to buy Western brands at Western retail formats. A mall-intercept survey with a sample of 407 young Indian consumers was conducted in four Indian cities to test the proposed model. This study contributes to theory development by examining acculturation occurring through direct and/or indirect contact facilitated by media, technology, education, and travel, and by further developing and testing need for distinctiveness in the context of status-seeking behavior and testing its validity in explaining consumer behavior in an Eastern market. Findings from this study provide insights into the psychographic characteristics of young Indian consumers that increase their purchase intentions toward Western brands at Western retail formats and generate knowledge that can inform strategic marketing planning of manufacturers and retailers targeting this emerging market.