Hopping on the Service Bandwagon Towards a Circular Economy - Consumer Acceptance of Product-Service Systems for Home Furniture
Abstract: Product Service Systems offer companies the possibility to reduce environmental impacts by diminishing resource consumption, raw material extraction and waste generation. The concept focuses on a system of products, services and supporting networks with the aim of transitioning from selling the benefits of a product rather than the actual product. Naturally, incentives are created for companies to design for longevity, repair, recycling and remanufacturing, all of which could entail reduced material throughput and improved overall environmental performance. Product service systems are further celebrated for their potential to facilitate a transformative change towards a greater uptake of circular business models among companies. While claims emphasising the sustainability potentials of circular business models are ubiquitous in the literature, research on consumer acceptance of Product Service Systems is scarce and the potentials have not been contested in scientific studies. This thesis takes an explorative approach and on the one hand explores circular business proposals for the furniture retail industry and on the other, assesses consumer acceptance of home furniture PSS particularly targeting the B2C market. The analytical framework utilised for the discussion of consumer acceptance was devised from a synthesis of factors found to affect consumer acceptance of service offers in the literature of consumer behaviour as well as previous PSS literature. Primary data was collected via in-depth interviews with industry professionals and academics as well as through two consumer surveys. The research presents two business proposals applicable to the furniture retail industry as well as identifies factors that are important for the conditioning of consumer acceptance for each type of the proposed business offerings.
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