Young Black professionals (Buppies) have taken the South African market by storm.
These individuals and their parents come from suppressed and poverty-stricken pasts.
Since the abolishment of the Apartheid regime, they have been provided with
remarkable prospects and have been given the opportunity to participate in the
economy. They are a vastly growing consumer segment. However, very little
information is available on their needs, desires and motivation. With their newfound
wealth and higher-paying professional positions they are now able to spend money on
luxury items and in so doing, express how far they have come to the outside world.
The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe this dynamic market’s
motivations to consume. In order to provide more insight, research was done on their
motivation to engage in conspicuous and or status consumption. Previously, these
constructs were used interchangeably. However, later research conducted by O’Cass
and McEwen (2004) proved these constructs to be empirically different.
By determining Buppies’ motivation to engage in conspicuous and or status
consumption; this study contributes to the fields of consumer motivation, marketing
and retail. It provides insight into the driving force behind the purchasing decisions of
this emergingmarket. The theoretical background to the study comprises of a literature
review providing detail on conspicuous consumption and status consumption. Some additional information is also provided on studies conducted in the past relating to the
motivation to engage in these forms of consumption. The information gathered on
conspicuous and status consumption is then used to formulate a conceptual framework
and the research objectives in which all of the key concepts and their relationships are
Exploratory survey research design was employed in this study to provide insights into
Buppies’ conspicuous and status consumption of clothing brands. The sample
consisted of 246 (n=246) Black urban consumers between the ages of 24 and 36, living
in Gauteng and currently working in a professional position. Non-probability sampling
methods were employed, which included purposive and snowball sampling.
Respondents completed an online self-administered questionnaire. To further ensure
an appropriate sample, the online questionnaire was also distributed in paper-based
format. Since a quantitative research approach was utilised the questionnaire was
structured in such a way as to obtain descriptive and inferential statistical data. The
questionnaire was then distributed to Buppies, after which descriptive and inferential
statistics were used to accurately describe the phenomena.
The results of the study indicated that Buppies are more inclined to be motivated by
aspects of status consumption than that of conspicuous consumption. Buppies proved
to be very aware of the image that they project and how they are seen by others thus
indicating that they are motivated by high self-monitoring. The results also indicated
that although Buppies do enjoy being part of a group, they do not necessarily desire to
communicate their belonging to a specific reference group by utilising clothing as a
Dissertation (MConsumer Science)--University of Pretoria, 2015.