An exploration of the value of timeless design styles for the consumer acceptance of refurbished products

Theresa S. Wallner*, Lise Magnier, Ruth Mugge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


The prior use and age make refurbished products a less desirable option because they are perceived to be of lower quality, to have a reduced performance and a less attractive appearance. This research investigates one strategy on how to enhance the appearance of refurbished products and thereby encourage circular consumption via refurbishment. In 21 in-depth interviews, we explore whether embodying refurbished products in a timeless design can serve as a potential strategy to influence consumer acceptance of refurbished products. Specifically, we examined two design styles that were proposed as timeless: the neo-retro design style, which evokes nostalgia and benefits from associations with the past, and the simplistic design style, that is independent of cultural or time-related cues. Our findings provided qualitative support that the neo-retro and the simplistic design styles can improve consumers' evaluations of refurbished products. Both design styles were considered to be timeless and elicited favorable associations in consumers. While refurbished products, following a neo-retro design style, evoked positive associations with old products, such as feelings of nostalgia and the good quality of the past, simplistic products benefited from associations with durability and associations with high-quality brands.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1213
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Circular economy
  • Consumer acceptance
  • Neo-retro design style
  • Product appearance
  • Refurbished products
  • Simplistic design style
  • Timeless designs


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