This study examines how young consumers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with emphasis on female university students, actively use commodities and services, especially those related to brands and luxury products, to forge and express their personal and collective identities. Understood as a socio-cultural practice, rather than purely economic, brand consumption becomes a site where multiple images and meanings interact. Thus, commodities do not only serve to satisfy basic needs but also to create and negotiate identity and unique images of consumers’ lifestyles. The study adopts a qualitative research method; a total of 255 in-depth interviews were conducted with students at the UAE University in Al Ain city, UAE, during the academic year 2017–2018. It demonstrates that most students use plenty of their available resources (time, money, effort, and technology) on consumption. Through various practices of conspicuous consumption, they seek not only to display their tastes and choices but also to distinguish themselves from non-Emirati students. In the process of constructing and maintaining their self-concepts, consumers continuously attach various generated meanings and symbols to brands. Social media platforms constitute a significant and powerful tool in promoting the practice of online shopping and trademark connectivity among young consumers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science