Methodological fitness-for-purpose in the phygital age: the case of luxury

Parnwell, Michael and Meng, Kelly. 2024. Methodological fitness-for-purpose in the phygital age: the case of luxury. Qualitative Market Research, 27(3), pp. 433-448. ISSN 1352-2752 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper aims to contribute to this special issue on interpretivist research methodologies and the phygital consumerist landscape by exploring some underlying issues within the specific context of luxury consumption. The paper starts with a critique of current research, drawing particular attention to problems of reductionism, poor representativeness and weak contextualisation in research that adopts a positivist epistemology. The paper then highlights some of the contributions that interpretivist scholarship is making, and can potentially make, to our understanding of the experiential and humanistic aspects of luxury consumption, presented in a nuanced, discursive and deeply contextualised manner.

This commentary is informed by an in-depth examination of the methodology and approach adopted in the 327 most-recently published academic articles on luxury (from late-2021).

This opinion piece suggests the need for a sea-change in the way that scholars approach luxury research in online, offline and hybrid phygital settings to capture and convey its true complexity, diversity, contingency and contextuality and its emotional and symbolic character, and to help ensure that it delivers findings that are of relevance and value to luxury industry practitioners.

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper to look comprehensively and critically at the methodological approaches adopted by academics writing in the field of luxury consumption.

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'This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact'


Luxury; phygital; methodology; positivism; interpretivism; reductionism; contextualisation; experiential.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


11 October 2023Accepted
27 October 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

30 Oct 2023 16:14

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2024 08:30

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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