What Kind Of Shopper Are You?

Fashion media is starting to look a lot like a quiz-heavy issue of Cosmo magazine. First the Wall Street Journal outlined the four types of luxury shoppers, and now WWD has a breakdown of the five shopping personalities — with names like Shop-a-Lot Sue and Bubble Barbie, of course — women can have.

We’ll give the Wall Street Journal and Young Jee Han, the UCLA doctoral student behind the study, some credit for using slightly less than absurd names. (Also, extra points for alliteration.) According to their breakdown, so-called “luxury shoppers” fall into four separate categories.

Patricians. High in financial means, Patricians are “principally concerned with associating with other patricians rather than dissociating themselves from other classes of consumers…” They pay a premium for understatement.

Parvenus. “Parvenus are affluent…They are concerned first and foremost with separating or dissociating themselves from the havenots while associating themselves with other haves, both patricians and other parvenus.” Parvenus love the Louis Vuitton logo, the researchers say.

Poseurs. Like Parvenus, Poseurs are “highly motivated to consume for the sake of status.” Poseurs “do not possess the financial means to readily afford authentic luxury goods…” Poseurs like counterfeit luxury goods.

Proletarians. These are less-affluent consumers who also are less-status conscious. “Proletarians are simply not driven to consume for the sake of status and either cannot or will not concern themselves with signaling by using status goods…” They tend to avoid luxury goods altogether.

We’re not sure these describe luxury-specific shoppers so much as shoppers in general and their approach to shopping in general. But those findings seem to make sense. However, WWD’s version of this — which comes via research conducted by WSL Strategic Retail — is just silly.

WSL asserts that there are five types of shopping personalities, all of which deserve idiotic names like the aforementioned Shop-a-Lot Sue and Bubble Barbie, but also include I’ll Pass Patty, Miserable Mona, and Chic Chic Charlotte. Deep breaths.

These characters have a variety of annual incomes — Sue and Mona are under $60,000, while Patty, Barbie, and Charlotte all stay north of $72,00 — and shop according to their personalities. Perhaps predictably, Bubble Barbie lives in, well, a bubble and WSL encourages stores to “keep doing attractive displays of new products that stop her in the aisle and add more to her basket.”

We’d go into more detail, but frankly, we’re bored. Here’s the bottom line:

Some people like to shop. Some people don’t. Some people are good with their money. Some people are bad. Some people like expensive things because they look expensive. Some people like expensive things just because they are expensive. And some people couldn’t care a less about any of this.

Which one are you?


The Four Species of Wealthy Consumers [WSJ]
Survey Finds Five “Shopper Personalities” [WWD]

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