Exploring the Inter-play between the Decorative Consumption Dimensions: A deep dive into Conspicuousness and Snobbism through cases of Wristwatches and Houses


  • Chathurga Karunanayake Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka
  • Lalithasiri Gunaruwan Department of Economics, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka




Conspicuousness, Decorative Consumption, Houses, Snobbism, Wristwatches


Laden by the hope of being superior to others, the modern-day man engages in lavish consumption patterns choosing ‘class over mass’ through procurement of expensive goods and services. This robust urge to mark one’s stature in the society provokes common populace to quest for ostentatious ownership of goods and services by engaging in consumption of high-priced articles rooted upon the exhibitionist nature, defined as Decorative Consumption. This paper explores the inter-dependence between two dimensions of such consumption, namely, Conspicuousness and Snobbism, borrowing data from a previous study conducted by the authors. Since existing literature fails to provide a lucid inference on the inter-effect between Conspicuousness and Snobbism, this paper aims at filling the research gaps, considering the cases of wristwatches and houses. The results of the study reveal that, consumption desires, which are Snobbish, are necessarily Conspicuous, with regard to the cases of wristwatches and houses. However, with regard to wristwatches, there could be consumption desires which are Conspicuous, yet, not Snobbish. In the contrary, when considering houses, the findings suggest that the Conspicuous demand is likely to be Snobbish. This is a possible indication of product-specific pattern; the causes for which warrant further research. Finally, the findings of this paper not only contribute towards enriching theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the interdependence between decorative consumption dimensions but also suggest possible implications on public policymaking.

Author Biographies

  • Chathurga Karunanayake, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka


    Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka

    100 Independence Ave, Colombo 00700, SRI LANKA

  • Lalithasiri Gunaruwan, Department of Economics, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Professor in Economics & Senior Lecturer

    Department of Economics

    University of Colombo, Sri Lanka


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