This article examines the lifestyle preferences and consumption behaviour of urban middle-class individuals in East Java Province, Indonesia. Data were obtained from 400 respondents in four cities: Surabaya, Malang, Kediri and Sidoarjo. We found that the Indonesian urban middle classes in East Java tend to consider the signifying or symbolic value and social pressure as important deciding factors when buying a particular consumer product, rather than its use value and exchange value. Moreover, global-referenced lifestyles and consumption behaviour have influenced the preferences of the Indonesian urban middle class in choosing consumer products. Generally, the global consumerist lifestyle and trends cause them to become more oriented towards foreign products. For some products, especially high-tech products, the Indonesian urban middle class in East Java seemed to prefer branded and imported products over domestic ones. However, for some other non-high-tech products, we found that the majority of respondents increasingly perceived that there was little difference between consuming domestic or branded imported products. Unlike the previous generation, contemporary Indonesian urban middle-class individuals would now purchase or consume domestic or local products, as long as the products met their demand, suited their purchasing power, and had the same quality as foreign-imported products.
- Indonesian middle class
- middle class