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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2013
Thesis number: 13285
Renting luxuries as an identity project - a hermeneutic approach
Author: Kärkkäinen, Heidi
Title: Renting luxuries as an identity project - a hermeneutic approach
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; ylellisyystavarat; luxury goods; tavarat; commodities; palvelut; service; vuokra; rent; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; kulutus; consumption; identiteetti; identity
Pages: 148
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13285.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1256622)
Key terms: luxury consumption; renting behavior; luxury renting; identity; hermeneutic
Objectives of the study

The aim of my research is to construct a luxury renter identity by building on the existing literature about luxury and renting identities. By theoretically elaborating luxury consumption and renting behavior literature and empirically exploring luxury renting I seek to broaden the understanding of how is luxury renter identity constructed in fashion blog writings.

Research method

The nature of the research is a qualitative one. I browsed 30 Finnish and foreign fashion blogs for comments about renting luxuries. Of these 30 I chose 14 blogs of which I extracted 85 comments that dealt the issue of luxury renting. This observation of fashion blogs was suitable for this study as it enable me to conveniently and unobtrusively reach individuals who have experience in my research topic. I searched for similar patterns in the comments and organized them under themes and analyzed them via hermeneutic approach which is especially feasible for researches that contain lot of textual data and whose focus is on understanding. In total I was able to gather six different themes that formed the basis of my analysis.

Central findings

The central findings are the six luxury renter identity themes. First, luxury renters are not materialistic as their do not feel a great need to own all their consumption items. Second, they need variety and novelty in their lives. Third, they express a rational way of thinking as they use renting as a way to test a luxury bag in actual use, but also contemplate the possible damage that might happen to the rented bags as well as criticize how renting gets expensive in the long run. Fourth, they prove to be independent and desiring uniqueness by which to distinguish from the masses by wanting to use luxury bags that are rare and not worn by everyone. Fifth, they are also very convenience oriented individuals who want instant gratification and therefore choose renting instead of saving, want to match the luxury bag's usage duration with the ownership duration by renting for a specific occasion and appreciating the suitable location, hence being online, of the rental place. And sixth, they also want to support local, innovative entrepreneurs. The luxury renter's identity might contain one or many of the aforementioned identity themes. The luxury renter's identity is also a part of an individual's whole identity and it is constantly evolving as well as affected by the personal and social identity cues.
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