Competently ordinary: new middle class consumers in the emerging markets
Journal of Marketing
American Marketing Association
125 - 140
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Although the new middle classes in emerging markets are a matter of significant interest for marketing scholars and managers, there has been little systematic research on their values and preoccupations. This article focuses on new middle class consumers to identify the new, shared socio-ideological sensibilities informed by the recent neoliberal reforms in emerging markets and examines how these sensibilities are actualized in consumption. Through an ethnographic study of fashion consumption in Turkey, the authors explicate three salient new middle class sensibilities, which implicate the mastery of the ordinary in pursuit of connections with people, institutions, and contexts. These sensibilities crystallize into a particular mode of consumption-"formulaic creativity"-which addresses consumers' desire to align with the middle and helps them reconcile the disjuncture between the promises of neoliberalism and the realities of living in unstable societies. The article provides recommendations on product portfolio management, positioning strategies, and marketing mix adaptation decisions.