Do consumers mind contamination by previous users? A choice-based conjoint analysis to explore strategies that improve consumers' choice for refurbished products

T. S. Wallner*, L. Magnier, R. Mugge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Refurbishment is an effective strategy to extend product lifetimes in a circular economy. However, consumers believe that refurbished products are contaminated with traces of prior use, which can be indicated by the appearance (e.g., scratches) or functionality (e.g., lower battery capacity) of refurbished products. This research explores strategies to improve consumer adoption of refurbished products by reducing contamination. In a choice-based conjoint analysis, 785 participants were exposed to refurbished headphones varying in features related to contamination, warranty, and price. We tested three contamination-reducing strategies, including (1). Communication about the clean object state, (2). Eliminating signs of use (aesthetic and functional wear-and-tear) and (3). Renewing parts that touch the skin (e.g., ear-cushions). Additionally, we analysed whether different consumer groups are driven by different attributes of refurbished products. Results showed that most consumers value refurbished products that show no signs of wear-and-tear and that have parts touching the skin renewed during the refurbishment process. These attributes are even more important than the reduced price or warranty, even though these are frequently used to market refurbished products. Depending on the consumer group, other contamination-reducing strategies were of great influence. While some consumer groups highly valued that signs of prior use are eliminated through an as-new appearance, others preferred refurbished products without functional wear-and-tear. In conclusion, four design strategies to deal with contamination during multiple life cycles of refurbished products are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105998
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume177
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Choice-based conjoint analysis
  • Circular economy
  • Consumer choice
  • Contamination
  • Refurbishment
  • Wear-and-tear

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