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Sustainability of the sharing economy in question: When second-hand peer-to-peer platforms stimulate indulgent consumption

The sharing economy has recently gainedmomentumamongmanagers, public policy makers and academics as a great opportunity to boost sustainable consumption through sharing or selling durables or semi-durables. The present paper contributes to this
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  Sustainability of the sharing economy in question: When second-handpeer-to-peer platforms stimulate indulgent consumption ☆ Béatrice Parguel a, ⁎ , Renaud Lunardo b , Florence Benoit-Moreau a a DRM, UMR CNRS 7088, Paris-Dauphine University, Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 75016 Paris, France b Kedge Business School, 680 cours de la Libération, 33405 Talence, France a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f o  Article history: Received 15 July 2016Received in revised form 8 March 2017Accepted 21 March 2017Available online 28 March 2017 Thesharingeconomyhasrecentlygainedmomentumamongmanagers,publicpolicymakersandacademicsasagreat opportunity to boost sustainable consumption through sharing or selling durables or semi-durables. Thepresent paper contributes to this debate by investigating the propensity of consumers to give in to temptationon second-hand peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms, which provide a favorable context for self-licensing behaviors.A survey was conducted in 2015 amongst 541 active buyers on the French P2P platform leboncoin (equivalentof US craigslist) addressing questions relative to their buying activities in the previous year. The results showthatmaterialisticandenvironmentallyconsciousconsumersaremorelikely(thanconsumerswhoarenotmate-rialisticandenvironmentallyconscious)tobetemptedinthecontextofsecond-handP2Pplatformsastheseoffer justi 󿬁 cationsthathelpreduceconsumption-relatedcognitivedissonance.This 󿬁 ndingcorroboratesthecounter-productive role of collaborative consumption for sustainability in certain conditions. Theoretically, the researchcontributestofurtherdevelopingtheemergingself-licensingtheoryinthecontextofsecond-handP2Pplatformsand understanding impulse buying on this new web interface.© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: P2P platformsSecond-hand shoppingSelf-licensingCognitive dissonanceIndulgent consumption 1. Introduction Thesharingorcollaborativeeconomyencompasses “ systemsoforga-nized sharing  ,  bartering  ,  lending  ,  trading  ,  renting  ,  gifting  ,  and swapping across communities of peers ”  (Botsman and Rogers, 2010, p. xv). Manyacademics and managers (e.g., Bauwens et al., 2012; Botsman andRogers, 2010; Schor, 2014) see this as a third industrial revolution asthe sharing economy induces a new paradigm in terms of productionand consumption, engendering technological as well as sociologicalchanges. Amongst collaborative consumption practices, peer-to-peer(P2P) exchanges have recently gained momentum through second-handP2Pplatforms(e.g.,eBayworldwide,craigslistintheUS,leboncoininFrance)andbecomethemostwidespreadcollaborativeconsumptionpractice.In 2014, three quarters of the Frenchpopulation bought atleast oneitem on second-hand P2P platforms (Daudey and Hoibian, 2014), ren-dering these platforms of utmost strategic importance in terms of eco-nomic impact and sustainability issues. However, there is a lack of empirical research addressing current understanding of user behavioron second-handP2Pplatformsgenerally. Intermsof sustainability, col-laborativeconsumptionisattimespresentedasautopia(Protheroetal.,2011; Schor, 2014) in that it creates social links, empowers ordinarypeople, provides deprived persons with access to markets and reducestheenvironmentalfootprint.Atthesametime,criticsdenounceitasex-ploitative and self-interested (Schor, 2014) as well as potentiallyin 󿬂 uencing overconsumption (Denegri-Knott, 2011; Denegri-Knottand Molesworth, 2009; Robert et al., 2014).In relation to this last complex question, very little is currentlyknown. At  󿬁 rst glance, compared to other households that buy newitems, second-hand P2P platforms would seem to encourage sustain-able consumption as they offer a kind of second life to objects, therebyavoiding their useless storage. As such, these platforms embody thebest channel to apply the famous US EPA 1 injunction  “ Reduce, Reuse,Recycle ” . In addition, environmental arguments are a key motivationfor  “ of  󿬂 ine ”  second-hand shopping (Guiot and Roux, 2010) and the 󿬁 rst or second motive for 30% of consumers using these platforms, justafter economic motives (i.e., saving or earning money) (Daudey andHoibian, 2014). However, the positive environmental impact of sec-ond-hand P2P platforms remains to be veri 󿬁 ed. Several authors arguethat the impact may be negative due to overconsumption through Technological Forecasting & Social Change 125 (2017) 48 – 57 ☆  This work was supported by grant MOVIDA  –  PICO (PIonniers du Collaboratif)awarded by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. ⁎  Corresponding author. E-mail addresses:  beatrice.parguel@gmail.com (B. Parguel),renaud.lunardo@kedgebs.com (R. Lunardo),  󿬂 orence.benoit-moreau@dauphine.fr(F. Benoit-Moreau). 1 Environmental Protection Agency, US public agency in charge of environmentalissues.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2017.03.0290040-1625/© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Technological Forecasting & Social Change  buying unnecessary items because of their low price or the capacity toresellthemeasily(e.g.,Robertet al.,2014)andreboundeffectsthroughpurchasing other things with the savings from second-hand buying(Peugeot et al., 2015; Thomas, 2003, 2011).Withthese 󿬁 ndingsinmind, thepresentresearchcontributesto thedebate by investigating two aspects of the question: do second-handP2P platforms actually stimulate indulgent consumption? If so, whoare the speci 󿬁 c consumers that may be more likely to indulge whenusing second-hand P2P platforms? Hence, this research also addressesthe question of who would be likely to give way to temptation in thecontext of second-handP2P platforms. Common sensewould generallydictate that materialistic consumers are more likely to give way totemptation while environmentally conscious consumers are less likelytodoso.However,wepostulatethatduetotheliberatingcontextofsec-ond-hand P2P platforms, both materialistic and environmentally con-scious consumers could be more subject to temptation than others. Todefendthisassumption,we drawontheemergingself-licensingtheory(DeWittHubertsetal.,2012;KhanandDhar,2006;Merrittetal.,2010;Miller and Effron, 2010; Mukhopadhyay and Johar, 2009) stating thatcertain decision contexts leadtoindulgentdecisionsasthey offer a jus-ti 󿬁 cation to give in to temptation, especially when con 󿬂 icting goals areat stake. Drawing on this theory, we develop a conceptual frameworkpostulating that consumer materialism and environmental conscious-ness will enhance indulgent consumption on second-hand P2P plat-forms (i.e., buying impulsively or buying more items), since theseplatforms offer justi 󿬁 cations that allow reducing consumption-relatedcognitive dissonance. Based on a survey conducted in 2015 amongst541 active buyers on the French leading second-hand P2P platformleboncoin,weshowthatbothconsumermaterialismandtheirenviron-mentalconsciousnessenhanceindulgentconsumptionthroughtheme-diation of cognitive dissonance reduction. We  󿬁 nally discuss our 󿬁 ndings and derive interestingmarketingimplicationsfor public policymakers. 2. Collaborative consumption  2.1. De  󿬁 nition and practices Collaborative consumption effectively emerged as a global conceptin 2010 with Botsman and Rogers (2010), even if the  󿬁 rst leading col-laborative platforms were launched earlier (e.g., eBay and craigslist in1995,leboncoinin2006,Airbnbin2008).Whilecollaborativeconsump-tionwas 󿬁 rstde 󿬁 nedbyBotsmanandRogers(2010)throughalistofac-tivities that emphasized the P2P dimension as the main aspect of itsunderlying revolution, Belk (2014) then proposed a more conceptualde 󿬁 nition stating,  “ collaborative consumption is people coordinating theacquisition and distribution of a resource for a fee or other compensation ” (p.1597),andmakingitacentralquestionformarketingandconsump-tion.While suchde 󿬁 nitionsdonotadvance collaborativepracticescon-ducted through web-based platforms as a necessary condition, manyauthors consider that Web 2.0 technologies underlie the tremendouspace of the phenomenon's worldwide development (Belk, 2014;Schor, 2014) and the culture that has developed around collaboration,openness, freeness and horizontality (Turner, 2012, cited by Peugeot et al., 2015, p. 21).Goingfurther,theseseminalworkscontributetode 󿬁 ningtypologiesofcollaborativepractices.BotsmanandRogers(2010)organizecollabo-rative practices around three types of activities. The  󿬁 rst, termed  prod-uct-service systems  (PSS), encapsulates activities relating to renting orsharing durables or semi-durables, where ownership of goods is nottransferred.Famous examplesof this category include zipcar, blablacar,neighborgoods in the US or sharevoisins in France. The second type,called  redistribution markets , includes activities of gifting, bartering orselling preowned goods with an effective transfer of ownership wherethe exchange does not necessarily entail material or  󿬁 nancial compen-sation. Constituting the oldest type of collaborative activities, asdemonstrated by the early emergence of eBay and craigslist in 1995,these are the most widespread. Many new platforms of this type areemerging every day, such as thredup or thread 󿬂 ip for apparel andfreecycle or yerdle for free exchange (Schor, 2014). The third type,termed  collaborative lifestyles , includes sharing immaterial resourcessuch as space (e.g., co-working, co-gardening and housing, such asCouchSur 󿬁 ng or Airbnb), money (e.g., crowdfunding) or services.Schor (2014) proposes a very similar typology depending on the prac-ticeobjectives:increasedutilizationofdurableassetsorsharingproduc-tive assets (equivalent to PSS, except that Schor distinguishes betweensharing assets for consumption and assets for new production, such asco-workingormakerspace),therecirculationofgoods(similartoredis-tribution markets) and the exchange of services.  2.2. Collaborative consumption and sustainability Practically speaking, many collaborative platforms promote them-selves as green or as a way of reducing own carbon footprint giventhat sharing is less resource intensive than the dominant ways of accessing goods and services (Schor, 2014). These thus respond to theincreasing demands of consumers engaging in collaborative practicesfor ecological reasons, following closely behind economic reasons(Daudey and Hoibian, 2014; Robert et al., 2014).Many researchers (e.g., Albinsson and Perera, 2012; Belk, 2010;Botsman and Rogers, 2010; Gansky, 2010; Prothero et al., 2011; Schor,2014) share this general view that the collaborative economy is proba-bly a major step towards more sustainable living at the environmentaland social level. Belk (2010) considers sharing as an alternative formto traditional distribution channels that in an environmental perspec-tiveaimstopreservenaturalresourcesandinasocialperspectivefosterasenseofcommunity.Protheroetal.(2011)indicatethatthecollabora-tiveeconomy re 󿬂 ects  “ a global readiness to shift values away from exces-sive consumption to more frugal and thus more sustainable solutions toeveryday problems ”  (p. 36). Focusing on the ecological side, BotsmanandRogers(2010)alsostatethatthesecollaborativesystemsofferenvi-ronmental bene 󿬁 ts by increasing the use of unproductive objects, re-ducing waste, encouraging the development of goods with longerlifespans or optimized lifecycles, and absorbing the surplus generatedbyoverproductionandoverconsumption.Severalstudiesshowthatcol-laborative practices also tend to change the relation that consumershavewithobjectsandmateriallife(Robertetal.,2014).Ascollaborativeconsumption isassociatedwith sharinginsteadof having, the superior-ity of access over ownership and the acceleration of the circulation of goods, it disrupts previous conceptualizations of objects, extending theconceptof the self and creating attachment (Belk, 1988), enhancingso-cialidentity(Bourdieu,1979)andencapsulatingthememoryofthepast(Scholl, 2006). This has led to a paradigm shift towards more frugalways of living and the progressive decay of materialism.However, followingthe initial enthusiasm for a utopian view of col-laborativeconsumption,severalauthorsbegantoconsidertheenviron-mental bene 󿬁 ts as a more complex issue (Robert et al., 2014; Schor,2014). Detachment from possessions and consumption is not as obvi-ous, since renting or temporarily accessing goods provides an opportu-nity to enjoy new experiences, thereby increasing their hedonic andexperiential value (Durgee and O'Connor, 1995). To illustrate, Peugeot et al. (2015) identify different trajectories of relationships with carsamongst users of the car-sharing platform Drivy: those who sell theircars because their needs are tenuous and they rely on public transportand rental cars, and those who want to keep their cars because theycan offset costs by renting them out occasionally. Regarding this issueof theenvironmentalimpactof P2P platforms,Schor (2014,p. 6)states, “ despite the widespread belief that the sector helps to reduce carbon emis-sions , therearealmostnocomprehensivestudiesofitsimpact  ” (withafewexceptions on car sharing as Schor (2014) cites). As these initiativestendto demonstrate,thequestionoftheecologicalimpact ofcollabora-tiveconsumptionneedstobeaddressedatthelevel ofaspeci 󿬁 ctype of  49 B. Parguel et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 125 (2017) 48 – 57   consumption and possibly even at the level of the platform itself, de-pendingontherulesde 󿬁 nedforP2Pexchange.Accordingly,inthepres-entresearch,wefocusonthemostcommonpractice(i.e.,redistributionmarkets), according to its relevance in terms of transaction  󿬂 ows andtherefore its capacity to transform consumer relations with objectsand material life. 3. Consumers indulging on second-hand P2P platforms  3.1. Self-licensing theory Self-licensing theory aims to explain people's behavior by under-standing how they feel psychologically licensed to act (Miller andEffron, 2010) and posits that such license can derive from the justi 󿬁 ca-tion that people attribute to their behavior. The consequence is that in-dividuals are more likely to behave in ways that can be easily justi 󿬁 ed(Sha 󿬁 r et al., 1993). Justi 󿬁 cation may be easy for the consumption of non-indulgent or virtuous products (Chernev and Gal, 2010), but mayrevealmoredif  󿬁 cultwhenachoicegeneratessomecon 󿬂 ict,forinstancewhen a choice is  “ hedonically complex ”  and involves indulgent con-sumption (Rook, 1987, p. 191). In this case, decision makers seek justi- 󿬁 cations to solve the con 󿬂 ict and justify their choices (De Witt Hubertsetal.,2012).Amongthepotentialjusti 󿬁 cationsforagivenbehavior,thecontext of the decision or past behavior may be of interest (Miller andEffron, 2010). For instance, research on self-licensing in the context of moral behavior shows that individuals might use their past behavior(considered as  “ good ”  behavior) as a justi 󿬁 cation to subsequently be-have badly within the same domain (De Witt Huberts et al., 2012;Merritt et al., 2010; Miller and Effron, 2010). Although this theory hasmore recently been applied to consumer behavior to explain hedonicchoices or indulgent decisions by permitting oneself an otherwisediscrediting pleasure (De Witt Huberts et al., 2012; Khan, 2011; Khanand Dhar, 2006; Mukhopadhyay and Johar, 2009), research on thisissue is still scarce (De Witt Huberts et al., 2012).What preceedes indicates that licensing effects contribute toexplaining how people give in to temptation, i.e., a  “ momentary al-lurement that threatens a currently active goal ”  (Mukhopadhyay and Johar, 2009, p. 334). As such, licensing effects are therefore closelylinked to impulse buying, which occurs when temptation is high(Mukhopadhyay and Johar, 2009; Mukhopadhyay et al., 2008) andwhen goal-con 󿬂 ict is at stake, for example, being tempted to pur-chase an unplanned product or the typical case of indulging in choc-olatecakewhenonadiet(KhanandDhar,2006;Mukhopadhyayand Johar, 2009). Prior research also agrees that the context providing justi 󿬁 cation for self-licensing serves to enhance consumer self-con-cept (feeling virtuous), thereby allowing transgression (Khan andDhar, 2006). Thus far, recent studies have only examined a few con-texts to explain indulgent behaviors. These include initial shoppingrestraints (Louro et al., 2007; Mukhopadhyay and Johar, 2009),money won in a lottery (O'Curry and Strahilevitz, 2001), altruisticdecisions made before consumption decisions (Khan and Dhar,2006) and the amount of effort devoted to obtaining a reward in aloyalty program (Kivetz and Simonson, 2002). These contexts aregood candidates to induce self-licensing as they provide a justi 󿬁 ca-tion to make indulgent choices, be it an external (srcin of themoney spent in O'Curry and Strahilevitz, 2001) or internal justi 󿬁 ca-tion (De Witt Huberts et al., 2012), like a  “ good ”  past behavior suchas an effort made or altruistic engagement. Although these studiesall mention the importance of justi 󿬁 cation, the justi 󿬁 cation processitself is less considered. As an exception, Mukhopadhyay and Johar(2009) integrate the justi 󿬁 ability of indulgent behavior as a moder-ator in their temptation-based licensing model, but do not explainthe justi 󿬁 cation mechanism itself. In the present paper, we build ontheir reasoning and add an element of explanation: the reductionof cognitive dissonance enabled by second-hand P2P platforms.  3.2. Self-licensing effects on second-hand P2P platforms Second-hand P2P platforms may represent an appropriate contextto enact licensing processes. This suggestion lies in two speci 󿬁 cities of second-hand P2P platforms that 1/offer second-hand items on-lineand 2/are assumed to be intrinsically virtuous as they encourage zero-waste and offer a second-life to objects.First, websites are generally shown to stimulate affective reactionssuch as enjoyment, surprise and the feeling of bargain hunting(Bressolles et al., 2007; Parboteeah et al., 2009; Wol 󿬁 nbarger andGilly, 2003), leading to temptation (Mukhopadhyay and Johar, 2009) and impulse buying (Novak et al., 2003; Park et al., 2012). They thusare believed to trigger impulse buying de 󿬁 ned as the  “ sudden ,  often powerfulandpersistenturgetoconsume , oftenwithoutmuchdeliberation ” (Dholakia, 2000, p. 957). Then, second-hand shopping is also known totriggerimpulsebuying(GuiotandRoux,2010;Stoneetal.,1996)duetosavings and discount opportunities as well as recreational motivationsand the limited time of the sale (since the product is unique, it can besold to someone else when taking time to make a decision). Denegri-Knott (2011) through a qualitative study showed that eBay acceleratesconsumer desire by invigorating the  “ cult for the new ”  and the alwayschanging in 󿬂 ux of goods, both due to its digital nature (accessible any-time, anywhere) and the permanent actualization of offers. Second-hand P2P platforms might lead to the same acceleration in consumerdesire as their properties are similar to those of eBay: they are digitalin nature and propose an in 󿬂 ux of goods that constantly changes, thusmaking the offer actualized and accessible at any time and any place.As such, second-hand P2P platforms appear as idealplaces to engenderthese types of affective reactions.Second, consumers hold the strong belief that buying second-handgoods  –  as opposed to new products and as can be done with P2P plat-forms  –  is environmentally virtuous as this fosters a  “ zero-waste ”  soci-ety (Peugeot et al., 2015). Such platforms are thus also assumed to bevirtuous as they offer a second-life to objects. To this regard, Guiot andRoux (2010) identify the motivations behind second-hand buying ingeneral and empirically measure the key motives, besides economicones, including ethical and ecological concerns about recycling andcombating waste. Other authors defend a more ambiguous perspectiveof consumer motivations for second-hand goods as opposed to newproducts. Peugeot et al. (2015) show that on second-hand P2P plat-forms, the real motivation of frugality cohabits with that of purchasingmore items or more luxurious goods in the knowledge that these canbe sold after a few uses (especially in fashion markets). Dehling(2014) observe the degree to which much second-hand buying can beassociated with the accumulation of objects. Earlier, in the context of traditional of  󿬂 ine second-hand buying, Bardhi and Arnould (2005)showthatthriftand hedonicdesire, albeit apparentlycontradictory,ac-tuallycoexistduringabuyingoccasion.Consumerdiscoursesshowthatthey usethriftas a way of justifyingtreats when engagingin contradic-tory practices, reporting, for example,  “ having no regrets for buying stuff in thrift shops that they would never use or might not even like ”  (p. 231).Following Belk et al. (2003), Bardhi and Arnould (2005) argue, “ consumers justify their desires through moral arguments and that everyculture creates speci  󿬁 c social contexts where indulgences of desires areapproved ”  (p. 231). Although the authors did not test the hypothesisfurther, self-licensing theory can support this interesting intuition toexplain the ambivalence in consumer motivations at the individuallevel, notably in relationship with the cognitive dissonance theory thatis presented below.  3.3. Cognitive dissonance reduction as an explanation for self-licensing onsecond-hand P2P platforms Generallyspeaking,consumershavethegoalofnotspendingmoneyunnecessarily (Hirschman, 1990; Mukhopadhyay and Johar, 2009).Impulsive purchases  –  those that are sudden and immediate, with no 50  B. Parguel et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 125 (2017) 48 – 57   pre-shoppingintentionseithertobuythespeci 󿬁 cproductcategoryortoful 󿬁 ll a speci 󿬁 c buying task (Beatty and Ferrell, 1998)  –  go against thisgeneral goal. They lead to cognitive dissonance, the phenomenon thatoccurs when individuals try  “ to establish internal harmony ,  consistency , or congruity among their opinions ,  attitudes ,  knowledge and values ” (Festinger, 1957, p. 260) and strive for consistency within themselvesbetween what they know or believe and what they do. In the presenceof an inconsistency between these two goals, they experience psycho-logical discomfort that  “  gives rise to pressures to reduce that dissonance ” (p.18).Asimpulsebuyingisacognitiveandvolitionalprocess,thecon- 󿬂 ict willhaveto beresolvedthroughacognitiveevaluationmechanismto decide whether to resist or enact the purchase (Dholakia, 2000).When facing cognitive dissonance, consumers use different ways tocope with these cognitions and to reduce them (Festinger, 1957;Goslingetal.,2006;Simonetal.,1995).Amongthem,onerefersto 󿬁 nd-ing some consonant cognitions that reduce the overall level of inconsistency.Building on self-licensing theory, what we argue is that the con-text of second-hand P2P platforms provides a good opportunity to justify giving in to temptation, and thus enact impulse buying. Therationale for this suggestion lies in that, as trading on second-handP2P platforms is assumed to be virtuous in terms of savings(Daudey and Hoibian, 2014) and environmental bene 󿬁 ts (DaudeyandHoibian,2014;GuiotandRoux,2010;Peugeotetal.,2015)asop-posed to buying new products, P2P platforms offer numerous justi 󿬁 -cations to give in to temptation. These justi 󿬁 cations bring consonantcognitions that contribute to the reduction of cognitive dissonancethat derives from the inconsistency between consumer attitude(negativelyconsideringimpulse buying) andcounter-attitudinalbe-havior (giving in to temptation). Second-hand P2P platforms thusrepresent good contexts for the justi 󿬁 cation of indulgent consump-tion. Therefore, we posit that consumers who experience a goal con- 󿬂 ict on P2P platforms  –  notably due to their materialistic andenvironmental consciousness traits  –  will be more likely to engagein a dissonance reduction process, and as a result, become more sub- ject to impulse buying. We develop this notion below.  3.4.Materialismandenvironmentalconsciousnessasdriversoftheneedfor cognitive dissonance reduction Two consumer characteristics can induce signi 󿬁 cant consump-tion-related goal-con 󿬂 icts and thus a need for cognitive dissonancereduction: consumers' materialism and their environmentalconsciousness.Materialistic consumers, or those that consider possessions as im-portant (Belk, 1984) and as a means of gaining happiness and express-ing their success (Richins and Dawson, 1992, p. 308), associateconsumption with greater value than non-materialistic consumers. Inthe short term, they are therefore more likely than non-materialists toindulge themselves. As an illustration, they will more frequently giveself-gifts (McKeage, 1992), display impulse buying (Rose, 2007) and overconsume (Sirgy, 1998). However, in the long term, their persistentpursuit of possessions may result in lower satisfaction with what theyown due to their symbolic rather than utilitarian function (Wang andWallendorf, 2006). Collecting hosts of useless objects, materialist con-sumers spend a disproportionate amount of their resources on acquisi-tions (Goldsmith et al., 2011). This acquisition of large numbers of products may be stigmatized as inappropriate behavior (Veer andShankar, 2011). Consequently, materialistic consumers are more likelyto question the level of their own consumption and its utility, and feelguiltier than non-materialistic consumers (Fitzmaurice, 2008). Materi-alisticconsumersmaythusexperiencehigherlevelsofconsumption-re-lated cognitive dissonance. Since P2P platforms are often seen asvirtuous in terms of savings and environmental bene 󿬁 ts, they can helpreduce materialistic consumers' cognitive dissonance, leading to anincrease inindulgentconsumption,i.e. impulsebuyingand thenumberof items purchased, on second-hand P2P platforms. Hence: H1.  In the context of second-hand P2P platforms ,  the more materialistic consumers are ,  the more they engage in indulgent consumption ,  this effect being mediated by cognitive dissonance reduction .In the same way, environmentally conscious consumers, de 󿬁 ned asoriented towards concern for the environment (Lin and Chang, 2012),are also more likely to question their consumption level and utility,and experience more consumption-related cognitive dissonance thannon-environmentallyconsciousconsumers.Theyknowthatconsumingexploits natural resources and generates waste (Saunders and Munro,2000)andaremorelikelytoconsiderthattheyshouldchangetheircon-sumption to protect the environment and avoid engaging in environ-mentally damaging consumptions (Segev et al., 2015). They aretherefore also more likely to question whether they actually need thethings they consume and experience higher levels of consumption-re-lated cognitive dissonance. As previously, since P2P platforms areoften seen as virtuous in terms of environmental bene 󿬁 ts, they canhelp reduce environmentally conscious consumers' cognitive disso-nance, leading to an increase in indulgent consumption, i.e. impulsebuying and the number of items purchased, on second-hand P2P plat-forms. This suggests: H2.  Inthecontextofsecond-handP2Pplatforms , themoreenvironmental-ly-conscious consumers are ,  the more they engage in indulgent consump-tion ,  this effect being mediated by cognitive dissonance reduction .Attheindividuallevel,agrowingbodyofevidencesuggeststhatma-terialism may be negatively associated with pro-environmental atti-tudes and behaviors (Banerjee and McKeage, 1994; Saunders andMunro, 2000; Segev et al., 2015), such as power and achievement op-posed to universalism at a cultural level (Schwartz, 1992). A recentmeta-analysis evaluates the average correlation at − 0.28 (Hurst et al.,2013), thus moderating the supposed negative correlation betweenmaterialism and environmental consciousness. Some consumers canactually be both materialistic and environmentally conscious. Facingsuch goal con 󿬂 ict between their materialistic orientations and thepreservation of the environment, these consumers should experiencea particularly high level of consumption-related cognitive dissonance(Burroughs and Rind 󿬂 eisch, 2002; Dholakia, 2000). However, the am-bivalence of second-hand P2P platforms, fueling both consumption de-sire and environmentally friendly purchases, make them perfectcandidates for such a goal-con 󿬂 ict resolution. As a result of the speci 󿬁 ccontext of second-hand P2P platforms, the in 󿬂 uence of materialism onthe ability to reduce consumption-related cognitive dissonance shouldbe stronger among environmentally conscious consumers. This leadsto the following hypothesis: H3.  On second-hand P2P platforms ,  consumer environmental conscious-ness moderates the effectof consumer materialism oncognitivedissonancereduction ,  such that the consumer materialism effect on cognitive disso-nance reduction is stronger among environmentally conscious consumers .Thesehypothesesleadtothefollowingtheoreticalmodel(seeFig.1). 4. Method 4.1. Survey procedure Totestourconceptualframework,asurveywasadministeredinJuly2015to 541Frenchconsumersrecruitedthrougha professionalmarketresearch institute. This sample is representative of the French popula-tion in terms of age (mean age 40 years), gender (52% women), regionand socialclass.All participantswere active buyerson theP2P platformleboncoin,meaningthattheyhadboughtatleastoneitemonleboncoinover the previous 12 months. Launched in 2006, leboncoin aims to 51 B. Parguel et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 125 (2017) 48 – 57   connectbuyers and sellers in Franceand is theFrench equivalentto su-bito in Italy, custojusto in Portugal, segundamano in Spain,avitoin Mo-rocco, tayara in Tunisia and mudah in Malaysia. In France, with around25 million users and 28 million classi 󿬁 ed ads, leboncoin is the mainP2P platform and also the fourth most visited website. 4.2. Measures: description and psychometric properties In accordancewith theconceptualization of impulsebuying provid-ed by Ramanathan and Menon(2006), indulgentconsumption wasop-erationalized through the two aspects of impulse buying and buyingbehavior. Speci 󿬁 cally, the propensity to endeavor impulse buying onthe platform was measured following Bressolles et al. (2007) and buy-ing behavior through the number of items purchased over the last12 months on leboncoin.In extant literature on dissonance reduction, cognitive dissonanceanditsreductionaretraditionallymeasuredindirectlythroughdiscom-fort felt, or more broadly, negative affective states such as uncomfort-able, uneasy in making a decision or bothered (Elliot and Devine,1994; Gosling et al., 2006; Simon et al., 1995). In the present case, themeasure of cognitive dissonance reduction had to encompass thereduced discomfort felt when making purchasing decisions on second-hand P2P platforms. We developed  󿬁 ve  “ ad hoc ”  items inspired byextant literature on second-hand shopping. The  󿬁 rst three items areinspired by Bardhi and Arnould's (2005) interviews:  “ Since I bought onleboncoin , IwonderlessifIreallyneedtobuyasmuch ” and “ [ … ], Iwonder less often on the real utility of the product I buy . ”  The next three itemscomprise the discomfort associated with potential regret that shoppersmayexperiencewhenoverconsuming,andderivefromChernev(2011)and Bardhi and Arnould (2005):  “ Since I bought on leboncoin ,  I have lessregretassociatedwiththepurchaseofproductsthatIdonotactuallyneed , ”“ [ … ], Ifeellessguiltybuyingmanyproducts ” , “ [ … ], Ifeelmorecomfortablewith the idea of replacing products that are still in good condition ” (Table 1).In terms of individual variables, consumer materialism is measuredusing the three items developed by Richins (2004) to measure its cen-trality dimension (reverse items). Considering the centrality of posses-sions in consumers' lives as a global consequence of their importancein achieving happiness and signaling success, we preferred this globalcentrality dimension to the other dimensions of happiness and successidenti 󿬁 edbyRichinsandDawson(1992).Environmentalconsciousnessis measured using three items from Parguel et al. (2015) to ascertain Indulgent consumption on second-hand P2P platformsMaterialismEnvironmental consciousnessCognitive dissonance reductionImpulse buying(IP)Number of items purchased (NIP) H2 (+)H3 (+)H1 (+)H1-2 (+)H2 (+)H1 (+) Fig. 1.  The conceptual model.  Table 1 Psychometric properties of the scales.Factor loadings of the measuresCognitive dissonancereductionImpulsebuyingEnvironmentalconsciousnessMaterialism/centrality dimension(rev. items)PricesensitivitySince I buy on leboncoin, I have less regret associated with the purchaseof products that I do not actually need0.836. … , I feel less guilty buying many products 0.830. … , I question the real utility of the products less often 0.791. … , I question less often whether I really need to buy as much 0.760. … , I feel more comfortable with replacing products that are still ingood condition0.714On leboncoin, my purchases are spontaneous 0.819. … , I often buy compulsively 0.774. … , I do not think long before buying an object 0.723 … ., I often buy things on impulse 0.695 … ., my purchases are rarely planned in advance 0.694When possible, I systematically choose the product that has thelowest impact on the environment0.928I try not to buy from companies that strongly pollute 0.904When I have the choice between two equivalent products, I alwaysquestion which one pollutes less before buying0.900I try to keep my life simple as far as possessions are concerned 0.842I usually only buy the things I need 0.830I do not like spending money on things that aren't practical 0.822When it comes to choosing something, I rely heavily on price 0.830I usually buy the lowest priced products that will suit my needs 0.808I usually buy products on sale 0.766Reliability (Cronbach's  α ) 0.883 0.843 0.922 0.816 0.73152  B. Parguel et al. / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 125 (2017) 48 – 57 
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