Background of the Study
Last November 2017, agency J. Walter Thompson releases its Top Ten Trends gathered from all over the world. Trends culled from over 100 insights help build strategies and push ideas. From these 100, JWT Manila sized up the 10 that push the envelope: culture, tech innovation, travel and hospitality, brands and marketing, food and drink, beauty, retail, health, lifestyle and luxury.
Masstige lifestyle is on the JWT list. What it is, is a smart play on words that creates an oxymoron. Mass prestige lifestyles are those that are offered by Uber or Grab, for example. Where middle-class consumers have access to, and have become attached to lifestyle apps that afford a degree of high-end comfort, otherwise unaffordable.
This top trend also includes Professional FoMO enhancers—that’s Fear of Missing Out. Some professional FoMo enhancers are Kim Jones and the lifestyle brand The Travel Trap project. Their blogs and articles on how to travel to different places within a budget are making its rounds on social media; people are inspired with what they see and are enlightened with the possibility of being able to reach their dream destinations just by engaging on these influences social media accounts. Brands tap into these FoMO enhancers to promote a certain lifestyle that consumers envisage for themselves.
FoMO is an emotional experience felt by individuals who fear missing both self and socially affirming occurrences. It is not a unique emotional experience, but it is unique in societal discussion and technology. As society changes, the significance of envy (the key emotion in FoMO) transfigures. FoMO is a new term for an emotional experience with historical practice, envy. The circumstances in which one experiences this emotional state have become associated with social media. Social media serves as a platform for individuals to gain secondhand experiences of what they were not part of in person.
Through medias such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, the experiences that individuals are shown quick glances as to what they are missing, but still allowing them to imagine the contextual situations surrounding the image. There is a lack of context with social media but also a great exposure to the highlights of an individual’s life. The other side of the experience of FoMO is that this exposure social media provides, leads individuals to strive to appear through social media posts as though they are not missing out. The need to disassociate with the emotional state of FoMO derives from the socially perceived negativity associated with emotionality. There exists the fear of missing out as well as the fear of being perceived as missing out.
The need for ideal self-portrayal on media prompts individuals to follow social rules for fear of unaccepted representation of the self. FoMO is used by individuals to self-market and self-brand an ideal ‘self’. There exists a seeming falsehood of the creation of a mediated self as what one portrays as their own is socially sanctioned. Companies harness the understandings of identity and FoMO of the ideal self in their strategic marketing of products, quite similar to marketing of the self.
According to Awesomeness and Trendera Gen Z: Leaders of the Mobile Social Movement (2017) research, 65% of Gen Z says “if you don’t have a smartphone, it will significantly hurt your social life”. The primary reason why Gen Z is so tethered to their smartphones is social connection and thus social media. Social media has become intimately woven into the fabric of Gen Z’s reality, fulfilling a myriad of roles and needs in their lives. Social media platforms are what Gen Z’s use to define and establish themselves, trying on various identities and determining where they fall in the world’s social order via followers, snap streaks, and ratios.
Social media has become intimately woven into the fabric of Gen Z’s reality, fulfilling a myriad of roles and needs in their lives. These platforms are what Gen Zs use to define and establish themselves, trying on various identities and determining where they fall in the world’s social order via followers, snap streaks, and ratios. Social media is where they explore their sense of self, search for answers to any question they could possibly have, and share their ideas with the world, all the while hoping to connect with others in the process. On establishing hierarchy, the majority of Gen Zs (58%) say it is important for people their age to be popular on social media. On cultivating self-esteem and a sense of self: 82% say their experiences on social media make them feel good about themselves and 72% feel their social media profiles reflect who they really are. Gen Z: Leaders of the Mobile Social Movement (Awesomeness and Trendera research). Social media is where they explore their sense of self, search for answers to any question they could possibly have, and share their ideas with the world, all the while hoping to connect with others in the process.
Generation Z, the youngest generation of consumers is driving the masstige brand market. According to a report by Bain & Company, generation Z and millennials generated 85% of masstige brand market in 2017. Rather than focusing on the millennial group, brands are turning their marketing to generation Z, adopting new digital language to reach and resonate with younger audiences. Masstige brands such as Starbucks (15M), Victoria Secret (56M) are the most popular Gen Z-facing brands on Instagram, still according to Awesomeness and Trendera research.
The purpose of this study is to investigate what the role of Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) is on the masstige consumption behavior of generation Z consumers. Specifically, how online-specific FoMO affects the factors of motivation and belief-based judgments in predicting intentions and actual behavior of generation Z consumption of masstige brands. These products are not from luxury brands but still rate higher than middle-market brands; typical masstige brands include Coach, Godiva, Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret (Silverstein & Fiske, 2003). This study will focus on online-specific FoMO of the generation Z.
How social media effects the masstige brand consumption of Generation Z?
Objectives of the Study
This research aims to explore the effects of online-specific FoMO on Generation Z’s consumption behavior of masstige products. Specifically, the present study aims:
1) Explore the relationship between FoMO and the generation Z’s attitude in the context of purchasing masstige brands?
2) How do social media affect geration Z’s FoMO attititude?
3) Determine the effects of online-specific in predicting the generation Z’s purchasing behavior of masstige products?
Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is a theory of human motivation in the ‘organismic’ or humanistic tradition (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Within the core of this theory is the difference between self-determined and non-self-determined forms of motivation. This difference is time and again viewed on a continuum reflecting the perceived origin or cause of an individual’s behavior in a given context, known as the perceived locus of causality (PLOC, Ryan & Connel, 1989). Self-determined motivation is about acting to meet personally relevant goals. According to Ryan and Deci, Self-determination theory shows that intrinsic motivation flourishes in contexts that satisfy human needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness.
Competence is the feeling that one is effective in his environment; a sense of mastery of the things that are important to you. Autonomy refers to behavior that is self-endorsed; that one agrees with and find congruent with oneself. This means feel that one have a lot of choices and is self-initiating. When one is fully autonomous, one is wholeheartedly behind the thing that one is doing and because of that wholeheartedness, performance tends to be better when one is acting out of autonomous motives. Finally, relatedness is about having a sense of belonging and connectedness to others. It is a feeling that one matters to other people who are there. Relatedness is enhanced not just by people treating you warmly and being included, but it is also enhanced by the ability to give back to others and being able to matter in their lives. According to Ryan and Deci, these are “essential for facilitating optimal functioning of the natural propensities for growth and integration, as well as for constructive social development and personal well-being”.
The Need to Belong Theory
The need to belong (Baumeister & Leary, 1995), which is defined as people’s innate need to gain acceptance from others to enhance their chances of safety, success. or even survival, is a fundamental element of personality processes (DeWall, Deckman, Pond & Bonser, 2011). In fact, most people’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are motivated by a desire to satisfy the need to belong (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). The need to belong is universal (Baumeister & Leary, 1995); yet, just as with other needs, people differ in the strength of their desire for acceptance and belonging (Hill, 1987; Leary et al, 2013). Individuals high in the need to belong are characterized by strong needs for acceptance; they worry about how they are valued by others, display strong negative affective reactions to real or anticipated exclusion, and put a great deal of effort into establishing, maintaining, and restoring social relationships (Leary, Kelly, & Schreindorfer, 2001; Pickett et al., 2004; Rego, Souto, & Cunha, 2009). A strong need to belong thus motivates individuals to invest extensive energy in behaviors that engender acceptance and the development of social relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Rego et al, 2009), including task performance (DeWall, Baumeister, & Vohs, 2008).
Individual differences in the need to belong have been associated with interpersonal sensitivity; that is, the ability to sense and accurately decode verbal and nonverbal social cues. Individuals with a strong need to belong are highly sensitive to affiliation cues from other group members (Pickett et al., 2004), are sensitive to situations in which rejection is possible (Gardner, Pickett, & Brewer, 2000; Gardner, Pickett, Jefferis, & Knowles, 2005), accurately decode nonverbal cues (Pickett et al., 2004), and mimic their interaction partners (Lakin, Chartrand & Arkin, 2008; Morrison
& Matthes, 2011). A strong need to belong often characterizes individuals who experience insecurity over their belongingness (Rego et al., 2009). These individuals may exhibit certain constructive behaviors, such as demonstrating cooperation when working in groups (DeCremer & Leonardelli, 2003), but they also show biased reality perceptions; that is, they tend to construe social situations in ways that help to maintain a sense of belonging (e.g., by failing to perceive instances in which they are a target of discrimination; Carvallo & Pelham, 2006) or exaggerated perceptions of consensus with their opinions (Morrison & Matthes, 2011). People with a strong need to belong have also been found to exhibit behavioral conformity (Rios & Chen, 2014; Williams, Cheung, & Choi, 2000), refrain from voicing their opinion (Matthes et al., 2012; Neuwirth et al.,
2007; Rios & Chen, 2014), and be willing to engage in unethical progroup behaviors when faced with the risk of exclusion (Thau et al., 2015). Thus, the need to belong might motivate individuals to refrain from authentic self-expression to avoid the risk of rejection.
H1: Generation Z’s need to belong is associated with internet use
H2: Generation Z’s need for popularity is associated with internet use
H3: Generation Z’s fear of missing out (FoMO) mediates the relationships of need to belong and need for popularity with internet use
H4: Generation Z’s fear of missing out (FoMO) is associated with intention and behavior on purchasing masstige brands related to internet use
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Internet-specific Fear of Missing Out
Coined in a mediated sense just a few years ago, the concept of fear-of-missing-out (FoMO) (Cohen, 2013; Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan & Gladwell, 2013) involves feeling that missing a party, program, concert, class or some other event could result in being excluded from a cultural conversation or seminal moment. This term is typically tied to technology and related to technology-based behavior (Bright, Kleiser & Grau, 2015), as people feel compelled to constantly check the internet enabled devices to ensure that the experience they are having is not inferior to the one they could be having at some other place and point in time. Lack of access to social media information leads to FoMO (Fox & Moreland, 2015), where people are increasingly second-guessing the choices they make on how to spend their time (Cheever, Rosen, Carrier & Chavez, 2014).
Masstige Brand Marketing
Masstige marketing is considered as a market penetration strategy for medium and large enterprises, particularly in foreign markets (Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 2015, Vol. 33 Issue 5,p691-706, 16p).
Masstige is a term which refers to a product or brand located between the mass and luxury markets. The word refers to products which are said to provide “mass prestige”. The term was first used in the early 2000s by brand consultants at the Boston Consulting Group, to describe products which supply the symbolic prestige of a luxury brand at a fraction of the cost. Between the exclusive, luxury end of the market, and the traditional mass market, is a rich area of opportunity in which you can engage with customers while also repositioning your brand.
For example, when the Porsche Centre in Abu Dhabi imports the Boxer, a model of Porsche which is around half the price of the 911 model, it is serving the masstige market. While a Boxer carries the prestige associated with having a Porsche badge on your car, its build quality and performance is closer to a mass market saloon, rather than a high-end luxury sports car.
Recent empirical investigation into FoMO (Przybylski et al., 2013) suggest using self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2008; Ryan & Deci, 2002) as a theoretical backbone for understanding why people choose to modify behaviors based on their FoMO. Self-determination theory (SDT), rooted in empirical psychology research, contends that “people have a primary propensity to forge interconnections among aspects of their own psyches as well as other individuals and groups in their social worlds” (Ryan & Deci, 2002: 5), meaning that people are not only driven to be part of a group, but also to have strong relationships as part of a peer group (see Ryan & Deci, 2002). Advances in technology (e.g., social media, content streaming services) change the realm of necessary interconnectedness, providing the opportunity for the global village predicted by McLuhan (2011). Thus, it is not only their immediate social group that an individual feels motivated to be a part, but rather a larger, cultural conversation about popular culture and media.
Core understanding of SDT centers on individual motivations for actions, distinguishing between autonomous and controlled motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Autonomous motivation exists when the individual is motivated by intrinsic, self-oriented goals, resulting in an individual being satisfied with their actions independent of the opinions of others (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Conversely, controlled motivation exists when an individual is motivated by external forces, such as “contingencies of reward or punishment” (Deci & Ryan, 2008: 182). Controlled motivation can also take place when an individual seeks to avoid social shame, self-esteem, or the approval of others (Deci & Ryan, 2008). FoMO may be a result of the pressures of controlled motivations, as the pressure to act and think in congruence with a larger social group resulting from controlled motivation, individuals may fear that they are missing out on opportunities and experiences when they are not part of a cultural conversation about media.
In addition to motivations, SDT focuses on needs satisfaction (Ryan & Deci, 2002). Three primaries needs exist within SDT: (a) competence, (b) relatedness, and (c) autonomy, which collectively “provide the basis for categorizing aspects of the environment as supportive versus antagonistic to integrated and vital human functioning” (Ryan & Deci, 2002: 6). The need for relatedness may be most strongly tied to FoMO, as the fear of missing out on experiences and social connection can motivate people to make decisions based on timing more than personal desires.
Combining these principles of SDT to the uses and gratifications approach is useful, as U&G primarily aims to investigate, explain, and understand fundamental psychological needs underlying an individual’s reason for choosing a specific medium (Rubin, 1994). The uses and gratifications approach explains media use as a cyclical function, where a combination of individual needs and socio-psychological factors create certain expectations, thereby affecting patterns of media use (Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1974). These patterns of media use eventually yield gratifications, which then revert to influence individual needs (Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1973). A central assumption of the uses and gratifications perspective is that audience members proactively seek a medium in an attempt to satisfy a specific need or gratification (Blumler & Katz, 1974), and also that media enjoyment (a gratification obtained) is influenced by many different social and psychological factors (Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1974; Ruggerio, 2000; Rubin, 2002).
There are three basic tenets of the uses and gratifications (Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1973) approach: (a) that audience members were goal-directed in their behavior, (b) audience members were active in their use of media, and (c) audience members were aware of their needs and they selected specific media to gratify those needs. This means that individuals manipulate and actively use a particular form of media to meet a specific need—a concept in direct opposition to the idea that media can overpower and influence individual choices on what to consume. Moreover, the uses and gratifications approach assumed that the media served equally as agents of diversion and entertainment as they do of information and influence (Katz, Gurevtich, & Haas, 1973). There are four primary categories of the uses and gratifications typology of needs (Katz, Gurevtich, & Haas, 1973; Rubin, 1983): (a) diversion (escape, emotional release, entertainment); (b) personal relationships (companionship, social utility); (c) personal identity (personal reference, reality exploration, value reinforcement); and (d) surveillance (acquiring news and information). These needs typologies explain that exposure to media is dependent upon the gratification an individual seeks to obtain from that particular medium (Katz, Blumler, & Guerevitch, 1974). Blumler and Katz’s (1974) research also showed that each individual can use the same media to communicate the same message, but for different reasons and to satisfy a variety of needs. They explored the links between the uses, social roles, and the psychological needs of the individuals whose media use they studied (Blumler & Katz, 1974).
Many of the early uses and gratification studies dealt with the uses and gratifications of television use (e.g., Finn & Gorr, 1988; Katz, Gurevitch, & Haas, 1973; Rubin, 1983), and the majority of these studies examined how different expectations, motivations, and socio-psychological factors lead to different media use (Rubin, 1983). The 21st century ushered in a new age of communication technology as use of the internet as a communication tool grew; changing the way people interact with one another, and also with the world around them. Communication studies in the late 1990s and the early 2000s applied previous uses and gratifications research on audiences, their motivations sought, and gratifications obtained through watching television programs to the newest communication technology – the Internet (e.g., Ruggiero, 2000; Vincent & Basil, 1997). The widespread adoption of computer mediated communication and its integration into people’s everyday lives revived the importance of the uses and gratifications approach (Ruggerio, 2000). Because the uses and gratifications approach is often used to examine what motivates individuals to participate in certain media use behaviors, and what inherent needs a specific behavior may fulfill (Blumler & Katz, 1974), it is logical to utilize the uses and gratifications approach as one of the supportive theoretical bases of exploring FoMO.
Need to belong theory
Findings from experimental tests of the need-to-belong theory appear quite unequivocal: Social exclusion undermines selfregulation (Baumeister et al., 2005; Baumeister, Twenge, & Nuss, 2002), at least in the short term. Self-regulation is often defined as the ability to suppress instant or impulsive urges and primary biological impulses in favor of deferred and higherarching goals (Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1994; Carver & Scheier, 1981; Posner & Rothbart, 2000). However, selfregulation may also relate to executive functions, such as goal oriented behavior (Tangney, Baumeister, & Boone, 2004), attentional control (Carver & Scheier, 1981; Rueda, Posner, & Rothbart, 2005), and emotion regulation (Eisenberg, Spinrad, & Eggum, 2010). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example, is typically described as a condition involving both poor inhibitory control and deficiencies in executive functions (Barkley, 1997). Hence, self-regulation includes both the control over immediate impulses, such as the inhibition of anger (e.g., when being bullied), as well as the allocation of cognitive resources, such as sustaining attentional focus (e.g., in the service of completing a school task).
Although some authors have suggested that inhibition of behavior is fundamentally different from attentional focusing and goal-oriented behavior (Geng, Hu, Wang, & Chen, 2011), the inhibition of behavior and attentional abilities typically display substantial empirical overlap, at least among young children (Barkley, 1997; Rothbart, Ahadi, Hershey, & Fisher, 2003; Rueda et al., 2005). Therefore, several authors contend that both inhibitory and executive efforts are different aspects of a more general phenomenon, which is self-regulation (Liew, 2012; Raffaelli, Crockett, & Shen, 2005; Rueda et al., 2005). Importantly, research documents some plasticity in the development of self-regulation. Evidence indicates, for example, that it is shaped by attachment security early in life (Kochanska, Philibert, & Barry, 2009) and parenting styles in adolescence (Belsky & Beaver, 2011).
Kids and teens with no concept of life without the internet have so far been called the Generation Z. Gen Z is defined as those consumers born between 1995 and 2009 (aged 9 to 23). It is the demographic cohort following the Millennials (born 1980-1994), Generation X (born 1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964).
Being the youngest generation, Gen Z will remain the largest consumer group across all generation types in both absolute and relative terms through to 2030. As Gen Z consumers will acquire more purchasing power, they will become a key driver of the global consumer market in the future. These trends make Gen Z an important demographic cohort, prompting the need for consumer businesses to be prepared for this increasingly powerful consumer market segment.
Gen Zers are born social and many have had a digital footprint since birth. Influenced by internet stars and the media they follow, they seek uniqueness in all walks of life, either in social media, shopping or future employment. Gen Zers appreciate authenticity and look for products that help them express their individuality.
Gen Zers grow up in a world where it is common for brands/marketers to gather extensive data on them in order to adapt their offers. Although Gen Z do value their privacy (that is why they prefer anonymous social media like Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper rather than Facebook), they are comfortable speaking their mind and sharing information in order to have an experience that is tailored to their needs and wants.
Grown up with the opportunities provided by the power of internet and social media, today’s tweens, teens and young adults are more likely to have travelled across borders, have friends who are on the other side of the world, and know people from another religion or culture than that of their parents and grandparents. They are, therefore, often more open to differences (either in race, religion, culture, gender issues or sexual orientation) and expect brands/retailers to be the same.
Due to interactions with their global peers, global Gen Zers also have more in common with each other in terms of characteristics and values. Their awareness of trends, brands and global events is largely similar, making them truly global citizens. Given their greater adaptive ability, Gen Zers are more likely to embrace global education and later on, global workplaces. There has been a strong rise in the number of foreign students in developed countries.
Following the Millennials, Generation Z represents the next wave of ethical consumers who take social and environmental issues seriously. Gen Zers, therefore, expect brands to be transparent and accountable for their environmental and social impact. Although their incomes are limited, young consumers would prioritise buying organic and ethical products, hoping their choices would help to make a better world.
There is also a trend among teenagers and young adults turning to vegetarianism in order to protect the environment and animal rights. Gen Z consumers are health-conscious, as they have reaped the benefits of improved understanding of nutrition and health. They tend to eat healthier (i.e. more fruits and vegetables and less fat and sugar) and are much less likely to take up smoking and drinking than previous generations.
A. Research Design
The type of research that will be used in this study is quantitative research. Quantitative research aims to understand the Gen Z’s behavior and the reason on how online-specific FoMO affect masstige brand consumption. The researchers also investigates the why and how of decision making. In addition, the researchers also examine the phenomenon through observations in numerical representations through statistical analysis along with questionnaires that was given out to respondents for statistical representation of the findings in the study. The goal of this research is to expand the understanding on the research problem, provide insights and develop a reliable hypothesis.
B. Data Collection
The research will use online survey/questionnaire and utilized this platform to gain consumer insights on how FoMO affect masstige brand. The survey will be sent out via the shareable link where respondents can access on any device. Facebook messenger, skype, Instagram, WhatsApp and other messaging app where used to reach our respondents. Google forms were chosen as the tool for the online survey because it offers real time feedback from the respondents and data can be exported to a file for easier analysis.
The survey respondents of this research are students from some of Manila’s universities ages 17-23. Respondents belong to the mid-income to upper-income family class. The survey respondents will be asked by the researcher for consent and approval to answer the questionnaire until the desired number of respondents which is 300 is reached.
D. Sampling Procedures
Probability sampling procedure was used particularly cluster sampling method as our respondents are limited to only one geographical location which is Metro Manila. All of our respondents should be residing in Metro Manila. Sampling will also be done through convenience sampling method as the researchers has a limited time to conduct the research and will need an ample amount of data (at least 300) for us to proceed in validating our hypothesis/framework.
E. Scope and limitations of the study
There are various limitations that were experienced during the study. Due to time and cost considerations, the subjects were selected for convenience. Thus, the sample covers only respondents residing in Metro Manila. This paper does not explore the objectives outside said demographic, though it may be worthy of note.