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Can refurbished products feel like antiques? The role of the neo‐retro design style on consumers' evaluation of refurbished products

Wallner, Theresa S.; Magnier, Lise; Mugge, Ruth

This research explores a new pathway to improve consumer acceptance of refurbished products that is inspired by the positive evocations of other used products, such as antique products. Currently, the prior use and age of refurbished products make them a less desirable option because they are perceived to be of lower quality, to have a reduced performance and to be out of fashion more quickly than new products. In contrast, antiques are associated with durability, uniqueness and timelessness despite their prior use and considerable age. In 21 in-depth interviews with consumers, we compared refurbished products with antiques and explored whether refurbished products with a design style evoking the past – the neo-retro style – can lead to more positive associations than refurbished products with a prototypical design style. Our findings provided preliminary support for the value of a neo-retro design style for improving consumers' evaluations of refurbished products. Refurbished products and antiques differ in age, technology and the purpose of having them. Antiques have an emotional value and are kept because of the story and historic values, the appearance and/or durability refurbished products are kept for purely functional reasons. Similar to antiques, refurbished products following a neo-retro design style do not only evoke more positive associations with old products, such as feelings of nostalgia but can also decrease risks associated with refurbished products as they are perceived to be of higher quality and more durable than refurbished products following a prototypical design style.
Published in: PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment : 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany, Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin
Published by ISBN 978-3-7983-3125-9