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Title: Drivers and barriers to product-service system consumer adoption in a fashion subscription case
Author: Day, Steven
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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Product-service systems (PSS) have been proposed as one mechanism through which corporate, consumer, and environmental interests may be aligned. The drivers for and barriers to consumer adoption, however, have remained largely unknown. This has impeded the diffusion of PSS and delayed the transitition to a more sustainable consumption paradigm. The role of trust in the PSS provider, one factor that is assumed to be critical to consumer adoption, remains similarly underexplored. This study borrows a consumer decision-making model derived from prospect theory as a theoretical lens. This lens is better suited to predicting adoption than explaining acceptance, on which previous theories in PSS research have focused. A PSS from the area of fashion, which features use- and result-oriented PSS attributes, is chosen as the context. The drivers for and barriers to the adoption of this PSS are quantitatively investigated (n=524) by combining experimental research design with structural equation modelling. Perceived value and risks are hypothesised to predict purchase intention, and product information treatments are presented to study participants to assess whether product information from a trusted provider can reduce uncertainty. The findings indicate that only cost savings potential will motivate consumers to purchase the PSS. Various perceived risks, including concerns about the product’s physical condition, fears that the PSS may render enjoyable shopping activities redundant, and the fear of being held financially liable for product returns, detract from purchase intentions, even if the provider is highly trusted. Four specific product information types are explored and the results indicate that trusted PSS providers have some scope to shift consumer perceptions in favour of adoption. The exception here remains the assurance that consumers can save money by purchasing the PSS instead of alternatives. This, combined with the relatively weak effects of the other product information types, indicates a) that several dimensions of trust are at work and b) that providers will struggle to transfer trust gained in regular business models to the effective marketing of PSS. This study extends current knowledge by first quantitively assessing the predictors of adoption in a PSS case combining various sustainability mechanisms under more realistic conditions to determine which are impactful. Second, knowledge from consumer decision-making is transferred to the area of PSS research. Third, the role of trust is specified to greater detail. Several avenues for future research emerge from these contributions. Keywords: PSS; B2C; consumer adoption; fashion; circular economy; sharing economy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor