Impact of Immigration on Native and Ethnic Consumer Identity via Body Image

Canadian Center of Science and Education
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Marketing Studies, 2017, 9 (1)
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This research focuses on consumer identity of two under-researched but growing immigrant communities in Australia via the lens of the body image construct. Consistent with an emerging stream of research, body image is viewed as a part of identity. Given the variety of goods and services that have an impact on consumers’ perceptions of their body, and because consumers use products to create and convey desired identities, body image is also viewed as a part of consumer identity. Considering literature on identity, body image, and acculturation, exploratory research was undertaken to determine the impact of immigration on the identities of both immigrants and natives. Specifically, focus groups were conducted on two generations of Filipino- and Indian-Australian women as well as Anglo-Australian women. It was found that second generation immigrants have dual consumer identities where they balance the values, attitudes and lifestyles of both their home (i.e., native or heritage) and host cultures whereas first generation immigrants tend to retain their native consumer identity even if they appear to adopt values, attitudes, and lifestyles of the host culture. The impact of immigrants on consumer identities of native residents who are typically in the majority (i.e., the Anglo group) was not evident. Theoretical and practical implications including recommendations for marketing practitioners are then discussed followed by suggestions for future research.
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