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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

From consumer adoption of clothes-service systems to positive and negative rebound effects

Published: May 25, 2021


Pauline Munten, UCLouvain/LouRim; Joelle Vanhamme, EDHEC Business School; Valérie Swaen, UCLouvain


Research on product-service systems (PSS) from a consumer perspective has mostly focused on consumers’ drivers and barriers to access, but the effects of PSS on consumers’ values and behaviors remains incomplete. While access can reduce consumers’ need to own products and can encourage more sustainable behaviors, it can also lead to misbehaviors and increased consumption. Based on two case studies, we discuss the emergence of positive and negative rebound effects from consumers’ adoption of clothes-service systems. We highlight that consumers develop coping strategies to maintain the accessed products in good condition; reduce impulsive purchases of new clothes, the number of rented clothes bought is not impacted however; and spend their savings to buy more of other goods or to buy items of better quality. This paper contributes to literature on rebound effects in circular economy and to literature on optimal stimulation level theory by linking it to rebound effects and impulse buying.