Purpose: Prior research has found that consumers’ purchasing behavior varies amongst consumers of different cultures. The purpose of this paper is to examine the behavior of consumers of luxury products by investigating the relationships between their collective-oriented values (pertaining to religion, family, and community), and their materialism or materialistic orientation, resulting in them using such products to signal their social status to others, and whether they are getting satisfaction from using such products, in an effort to understand how the behaviors vary between Malaysian and Saudi Arabian consumers. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected by a questionnaire survey where 1,388 self-administered questionnaires were collected from Baby boomers, Generations X and Y respondents in two major cities: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. The authors also assessed the structure and reliability of the constructs developed for this research as well as tested some hypotheses regarding their interrelationships, across the two different cities/cultures. Findings: Findings demonstrate the complexity of cultures and lifestyles of consumers and societies. For Saudi consumers, their materialistic tendency is significantly influenced by their religious, family values (inverse relationship), and community values, whereas for the Malaysian consumers, this tendency was only significantly influenced by their family values. For the Saudis, there were strong positive relationships between materialistic values and product status signaling and between product status signaling and product satisfaction, whereas for the Malaysians, both relationships were also positive but only moderate in strength. Overall, the results show that the Malaysians were more materialistic than the Saudis. But, since the Saudis have higher income, they are in a better position to fulfill their materialistic desire than their Malaysian counterparts. Research limitations/implications: The convenience sampling used for the study is the main limitation. Another limitation of this study is that it was done in only one major city in each of the two countries. Practical implications: Consumers from the two cultures/cities do use luxury products to signal their status in the society, despite their different cultures and country income levels and that the consumption of those products gave both of them satisfaction. Hence, as a practical implication, international marketers of luxury products and services could and should continue to market their products and services in these two countries. However, they need to understand that the factors that influence the consumers’ materialism are different between the two cultures/cities and hence their marketing strategies need to take this into consideration. Originality/value: All the issues discussed in this study have not been previously empirically investigated and compared in two different developing countries – Saudi Arabia, a mono-cultural and high-income country) and Malaysia (a multi-cultural and upper middle income country) despite their rapid growth rates and economic importance.
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