Essentiality of non-essential purchases for digitally influenced bottom of pyramid customers

Author Affiliation

  • Dr. Huma Amir is Assistant Professor & ex-Chairperson (Marketing) at Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Marketing

Was this content written or created while at IBA?


Document Type


Source Publication

Business & Economic Review




Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business Intelligence | E-Commerce | Marketing


This paper aims to broaden the understanding why bottom of pyramid customers in Pakistan purchases non-essential items despite their financial constraints. Qualitative data was collected through in-depth interviews from a purposive sample of 14 respondents. NVivo 12 was used to analyze data. In the light of self-determination theory, this hermeneutic inquiry suggests that bottom of pyramid customers who are negatively stereotyped on account of their consumption inadequacy, have a specific need to improve self-worth. They struggle to engage in socially relevant consumption practices, to avoid social exclusion. Internet increases their awareness about products that they consider necessary for a minimal level of decent living. This digital influence transforms their consumer behavior. Since consumer culture does not adequately define what makes up a minimally decent living, bottom of pyramid customers will keep on aspiring products that they perceive as socially relevant for a better lifestyle. These reasons make ‘non-essential’ purchases extremely essential and relevant for bottom of pyramid customers. This practice is observed in more affluent people too, however, the sacrifices that bottom of pyramid customers make in order to fulfill their need for a more respectable social standing, are relatively more critical than the trade-off that more affluent people make among their choices. This research will enable marketers to understand value requirements of bottom of pyramid customers more deeply and create more precise value propositions.

Indexing Information

HJRS - X Category

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Reza , Fariha & Amir , Huma. Essentiality of non-essential purchases for digitally influenced bottom of pyramid customers . Business & Economic Review, v. 12, n. 4, p. 71-96, dec. 2020.Available at: <>.

Publication Status


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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