Ownership - a challenged Consumer Ideal. A Study of two Collaborative Consumption Practices: Clothes Swapping and Clothing Libraries
Abstract: This research is a theoretical contribution to CCT and existing literature on ownership, investigating whether ownership has become an out-dated ideal in consumer culture. We explore how Millennials negotiate issues of ownership and sharing in the context of collaborative consumption. Consequently, the study provides insights on new consumption forms, and more specifically swapping and access-based consumption. Findings show that ownership has not become an out-dated ideal in consumer culture, as consumers continue to strive for ownership for certain possessions. We present four object categories for which ownership is highly valued: intimate possessions, frequently used possessions, possessions with emotional attachments, and the home. However, consumers are politically motivated to seek other, more sustainable consumption forms. In addition to being compatible with their political views, clothes sharing offers consumers cost savings and opportunities to experiment with style, access to communities with like-minded users, and ultimately happiness, given by the act of sharing with others. We find that consumers identify with the services as well as with the shared clothes. In other words, while ownership is so far not an out-dated ideal, it is a challenged one.
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