Premature Product Replacement: An Exploration of the Reasons Why People Replace Products

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Prolonging product lifetimes is a crucial aspect of the Circular Economy.Currently, a lot of products are replaced while still functioning or in need of (minor) repair. Although industry creates a demand for new products with the introduction of new technologies and promotion activities, consumers’ evolving needs
and barriers towards repair activities stimulate premature replacement. Yet, recent literature on consumers’ reasoning behind the decision to prematurely replace products is scarce. This research contributes by providing an in-depth understanding of the underlying reasons of the (premature) replacement of consumer
electronics and white goods. The reasons to replace and barriers towards repair activities were explored in semi-structured interviews
with consumers (n=10). Product, user and market-related factors were found as factors influencing (premature) product replacement. First, defect or faltering functionalities and the age/value depreciation of products has large effect on replacement. When the age of the product increases, the more likely it will be replaced by a new one even if the product still functions properly. Furthermore, cosmetic wear also stimulates replacement. New desires, the lack of repair knowledge and individual differences between
users also impact the replacement. In addition, consumers lack knowledge about the impact of products’ early replacement on the environment. While they prefer long-lasting, well-functioning products, the desire to fulfil their evolving needs is essential. Regarding the market, the low price of new products and high price of repair reinforce the decision to replace a product. Deals and discounts also tend to trigger premature product replacement. Our findings aim to pinpoint important factors of premature product
replacement that need to be addressed by researchers, industries and policymakers in order to prolong products’ lifetime.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IS4CE2020 Conference of the International Society for the Circular Economy
EditorsKen Webster
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventIS4CE2020 : Conference of the International Society for the Circular Economy - University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20207 Jul 2020
https://power4bio.eu/event/is4ce2020

Conference

ConferenceIS4CE2020 : Conference of the International Society for the Circular Economy
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityExeter
Period6/07/207/07/20
Internet address

Keywords

  • product lifetime
  • Longevity
  • replacement resons
  • repair barriers

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  • Cite this

    van den Berge, R. B. R., Magnier, L. B. M., & Mugge, R. (2020). Premature Product Replacement: An Exploration of the Reasons Why People Replace Products. In K. Webster (Ed.), Proceedings of the IS4CE2020 Conference of the International Society for the Circular Economy