Repair or Replace: How Consumers React to Product Failure

Over the past several decades, there has been a substantial shift toward disposable consumption, which includes replacing rather than repairing broken durable goods. While this disposable mindset may be perceived as driven by consumers’ desire for new products, we argue that it is, at least in part, driven by a product replacement choice default and thus perception of effort to repair products. We demonstrate that offering paid repair services significantly decreases the likelihood of product replacement (study 1). This effect occurs due to a decrease in the consumer’s perceived effort of the repair process (study 2). The effect of paid repair services on replacement likelihood is stronger for individuals that are frugal due to an aversion to waste (study 3). Our research informs sustainability efforts aimed at curbing disposable consumption and provides implications to managers of companies considering offering paid repair services.

Tuesday Poster Session
Nathan Allred
Karen Winterich
Related Conference Themes
Materials & Waste