Consumption and Self-concept. Let’s dig into

by Marina Greggio

This article examines the concept of self in relation to consumption decisions. The belief is that we can choose the type of person we want to be, and purchase the appropriate clothes to achieve our goal. Is it really so simple?

The self-concept and consumption

We actually have to self-concepts: the actual – how we perceive we are – and the ideal – how we would like to be. These self-concepts are also made by the behaviors we do and see on others. That’s why consumption behaviors are thought instrumental in the development and expression of the self-concept. In consumer behavior, people are thought to derive their sense of self partially from the goods and services they consume. Through consumption consumers enhance their self-concepts by using products to communicate particular personal characteristics to themselves and others, it’s the way by which we communicate our identity. 

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The role of culture

The self is influenced by external and internal factors. The most predominant one, among the externals, are culture and subcultures. For example, my family lives in Italy and is Italian (culture) but my father is also half British (subculture). From the article, we discover that the relationship between the self and culture is reflected in the term “cultural anchoring”, a term that describes the process by which certain products become part of an individual’s self-concept. So, most of the time we are conditioned to develop our self-concepts in relation to our age, gender, and social groupings. 

So from what you can see our self-concept is made and shaped by loads of influences and these have the power to rise or decrease our self-esteem. As a matter of fact, if the difference between our actual self-concept and the ideal one is high you will have a low self-esteem, on the other hand, you will have a higher self-esteem. Interesting right? And I’m discovering everything thanks to fashion marketing!

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