HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

The impact of cultural dimensions on Gen Z consumers'social media engagement (affective & behaviroual engagement) in the context of luxury brands: the case of Belgium and China

Huang, Pei-Chi ULiège
Promotor(s) : Gruslin, Claire ULiège
Date of defense : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023 • Permalink :
Title : The impact of cultural dimensions on Gen Z consumers'social media engagement (affective & behaviroual engagement) in the context of luxury brands: the case of Belgium and China
Author : Huang, Pei-Chi ULiège
Date of defense  : 4-Sep-2023/8-Sep-2023
Advisor(s) : Gruslin, Claire ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Cadiat, Anne-Christine ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 90
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Marketing
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en international strategic marketing
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] To date, many luxury brands adopted new digital technology (e.g., social media) in order to strategically maintain and engage with Generation Z consumers, who will be the biggest consumer base in the future (Hodgson, 2018). Different cultural backgrounds may impact consumers’ attitude, and behaviour on social media (Al Omoush et al., 2012; Waters & Lo, 2012; Tsai & Men, 2017; Dessart, 2017). However, most of existing literature examining the variance of customer engagement across different cultures is based on the Individualism versus Collectivism cultural dimension (Hofstede, 1980) or the high- and low-context model (Hall 1973, 1976). Other cultural dimensions, Indulgence versus Restraint and Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede, 1980; Hofstede & Bond, 1988; De Mooij & Hofstede, 2010), lack of academic research. Hence, this study aims at discovering whether different cultures influence Gen Zers’ Affective engagement and/or Behavioural engagement on social media in the context of luxury brands.
This study leverages on 3 cultural dimensions (i.e., IVC, IVR, UAI) from Hofstede’s model (Hofstede, 1980; Hofstede & Bond, 1988; De Mooij & Hofstede, 2010) as independent variables and 2 types of customer engagements (i.e., Affective engagement & Behavioural engagement) (Mollen & Wilson 2010; Hollebeek 2011; Brodie et al., 2013; Dessart 2017) as dependent variables. Moreover, this research specifically targets Gen Z consumers in Belgium and China as these two countries have opposite values with respect to the cultural dimensions mentioned above. An online survey was conducted in English for Belgian respondents and Chinese for Chinese respondents. A total of 324 responses were obtained. 6 hypotheses are developed and tested using different statistical methods.
The findings show that the assumption from Hofstede’s model that Belgians are individualist is not supported. Also, only indulgent culture has an impact on Affective engagement (i.e., emotional perceptions) and Behavioural engagement (i.e., Word-of-Mouth communication behaviour). The consistent and inconsistent results in comparison to existing literature are discussed as well.
Moreover, the theoretical contributions and practical implications are also elaborated. This study is the first paper to the best of my knowledge, to observe whether the IVR culture impacts customers’ Affective engagement and Behavioural engagement. The findings suggest Luxury marketers to select restrained countries (e.g., China) to promote their products using more emotional appeals. Meanwhile, they also need to avoid mentioning taboos from the targeted countries as well as selecting controversial topics or photos for their contents. Besides, marketers should maintain and react fast to the reviews/comments on social media regardless of whether they are positive or negative in the case of Gen Z consumers from restrained cultures (e.g., China), as they are more likely to share and search brand-related information and spread negative WOM.
Finally, the limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.



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