A typology of consumers regarding perceived obsolescence: The paradox of eco-conscious consumers

Gisele DE CAMPOS RIBEIRO, Emmanuelle Le Nagard, Valérie Guillard

The lifespan of durable goods is a global concern because it has consequences not only in terms of waste management and natural resources but also in terms of consumer well-being. Companies and consumers are concerned, in particular, by the frequency of product replacement, which itself depends, on the consumer side, on their evaluations of the product's perceived obsolescence. The objective of this article is to better explain the intention to replace a durable good while it is still in working order. More specifically, we investigate the role of perceived product obsolescence (PPO) on product replacement intention. An exploratory qualitative study (n = 10) leads to a definition of PPO as the difference between the perceived value of a product owned and what is currently available on the market. Four data collections (n = 948) form the basis for the development of a PPO measurement scale involving five dimensions (aesthetic, social, technological, commercial, environmental), and their association with product replacement intention is demonstrated. Finally, a typology of consumers with respect to their “PPO scores and individual characteristics” is built. We show that the most ecologically aware consumers are also the ones who intend to replace the perceived obsolete product the quickest, as they perceive that it is not ecologically efficient enough. These results and this paradox allow us to formulate societal recommendations.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
Date de parution: 
Journal of Cleaner Production