"Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure." - Thorstein Veblen
The term materialism has become a tremendous significance in the eyes to those involved in marketing and consumer research. Materialism is correlated with the larger tendency of consumers to obtain the goods provided by marketers (Muncy, 1998). Richins (2004) defined materialism as the "importance ascribed to the ownership and acquisition of material goods in achieving major life goals or desired status". Materialism could turn to be the main concern of one's life, over religion, friends, and other attainments. Subsequently, studies display that materialism has an explicit outcome on conspicuous consumption (Arli et al., 2016).
Nowadays, society has potential consumers that tend to be materialistic, including youth. The findings by Goldberg et al. (2003) suggested that materialistic youth tend to shop more and save less. He also implied that their parents view them as experts in certain products, and by means act as an influence to their consumption. Materialistic youth tend to consume goods that are successfully advertised and promoted.
When consumers in general change their focus of material gain towards non-material gain, they will consume less from the market; marketers will be left with less consumers. However, this can be beneficial for certain marketers whose goods increase the quality of life. But, on the other hand, it would be a disadvantage for marketers that provide goods and services for materialistic gain. So, how does religion take part?
Religion, as one's core values, influences the attitude towards obtaining material goods to achieve a desired status (Arli et al., 2016). Delener (1990) defined religiosity as the "degree to which beliefs in specific religious values and ideals are held and practiced by an individual". Religiosity is able to provide the justification of how groups and nations have integrated; it may provide a rewarding focus in the findings that relates to the attitude of people. Allport (1967) distinguished the characterization of religiosity by extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation are always influential and un-idealistic. Theological terms imply that extrinsic motivation allows an individual to turn to God, but without turning away from oneself. While intrinsic motivation comes internally from an individual, bringing harmony in religious practice of oneself.
The findings of Allport (1967) became a reference for many scholars to construct the dimensions of religiosity, including the discovery by Muhammad et al. (2010). He pointed out that understanding the effect of religion towards human behavior is not straightforward; religious commitment is not the only influence towards religious behavior that can be measured, as there are other several dimensions that can be taken into consideration. He was also able to construct the dimensions based on psychology literatures and marketing studies. These dimensions are particularly the factors that interfere between one's religion towards consumption behavior, which include: (i) religious affiliation, (ii) religious commitment, (iii) religious knowledge, and (iv) motivation in following a religion.
Religious affiliation is the belief one holds, including the different schools of thought within the belief, such as Sunni and Shia in the Islamic religion, while religious commitment relates to the devotion of oneself towards his/her religion. Furthermore, religious knowledge refers to the degree of understanding of the affiliated religion. At last, the motivation in following a religion is oriented on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational approach towards religion.
Conspicuous Consumption and the Characteristics of Luxury Goods
Arli et al. (2016) earlier mentioned that materialism has an explicit outcome on conspicuous consumption. Thorstein Veblen originated the term conspicuous consumption in his book, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), pointing that the rich frequently consume profusely to display that they are able to do so. Conspicuous consumption can be interpreted as the intention to consume goods that allows buyers to display wealth and social status. Conspicuous consumers obtain satisfaction from spending in an excessive manner to boost social status and achieve materialistic gain (Stillman et al., 2012). Consumers' motive to indicate social status can be done by purchasing luxury goods from luxury brands (Yildirim et al., 2016). A good with a higher price indicates more willingness coming from the rich to consume the particular good, correspondingly coincide with the 'Veblen effect' (Tjahjono, 2014).