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The „making“ of product lifetime: the role of consumer practices and perceptions for longevity

Frick, Vivian; Jaeger‐Erben, Melanie; Hipp, Tamina

FG Transdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in der Elektronik

In two studies we explored how electronic devices’ use times are influenced or “made” by users and their (d)evaluation and usage practices. Research questions were: What meanings do users attribute to use time? How are these meanings linked to realized, expected and ideal use time? Is use time linked more to attitudes and meanings or to situational factors such as social and material setting? Communicative, symbolic and setting-related predictors of washing machines’ and smartphones’ use time were tested with multiple regressions. A preliminary online survey (N=2.000) explored communicative predictors. It was followed by a face-to-face interview survey (N=350) that further included social and material setting. In both studies, the attractiveness of newness was the strongest predictor both for the realized, expected and ideal use time of washing machines and smartphones. Study 2 identified device attachment and the personal norm for longevity as further predictors for longer ideal use times. Results suggest that attractiveness of newness can directly shorten use time, whereas personal norm or responsibility for longevity and the setting may be more distally linked to use time.