Saving Time, Money, or the Environment? Consumers’ Motives of Access-based Service Use

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Services that give customers access to goods, such as car sharing, bike sharing, or rental platforms for fashion items or tools, are gaining increasing relevance as an alternative to sole ownership. While the general idea of such business models is not new, as various forms of rental and leasing services have existed for a long time, internet technologies simplify such services for both, lessor and lessee, and enable a greater reach. According to US Census Bureau data, revenues of rental and leasing services have increased from $90 bn in 1998 by more than 22 % to over $111 bn in 2010. Societal trends such as a habituation of online sharing behavior via social media are thus considered to have spawned a “sharing revolution”. While previous research has conceptualized access-based consumption, and has investigated determinants of consumers’ intention to rent goods or their participation in commercial sharing systems, little has been known about consumers’ different motives of using such access-based services. This study therefore addresses two research gaps: First, it explores distinct motives that underlie consumers’ use of access-based services; second, the influence of these motives on consumers’ actual usage behavior of access-based services are quantitatively investigated. In a first step, the results of a series of qualitative interviews to explore usage motives are presented. Using the laddering technique and means-end chain analytical procedures, four motivational patterns are identified: value-seeking (i.e., the desire to save money by using access-based services); convenience (i.e., the desire of saving time and effort by using access-based services); lifestyle (i.e., the desire for self-expression and community participation through using access-based services); environmental (i.e., achieve a more sustainable lifestyle by using access-based services). The second step consists of a quantitative investigation of the influence of these four motivational patterns on actual access-based service use. Drawing from existing literature and based on insights from the qualitative interviews, a total of eleven hypotheses are derived. Hypothesis testing is based on a unique data set that combines survey responses and actual usage data of more than one thousand users of a U.S. carsharing service. Data analysis with structural equation modeling validates the identified motives and reveals that those motives related to personal utilitarian benefits (i.e., value-seeking, convenience) have the strongest positive influence on access-based service use, whereas a pronounced environmental motive exerts a negative influence. Moreover, the utilitarian motive related to monetary benefits (i.e., value-seeking) has a stronger positive influence on customers’ access-based service use than the utilitarian motive related to non-monetary benefits (i.e., convenience). The lifestyle motive, on the other hand, was not found to significantly influence service use. Several insights for marketing research and implications for access-based service providers can be derived from the study results. For instance, the results suggest that managers should highlight that customers can save money as well as time and effort by using access-based services compared to ownership. Activities to create a customer community, however, are not likely to increase service use. Additionally, managers are faced with the dilemma that on the one hand, access-based services are perceived as a more environmentally friendly alternative to ownership; on the other hand, however, customers with a pronounced environmental motive will decrease their overall use of the accessed object.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdeas in Marketing: Finding the New and Polishing the Old : Proceedings of the 2013 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference
EditorsKrzystof Kubacki
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)9783319109503
ISBN (Electronic)9783319109510
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event2013 AMS Annual Conference - Portola Plaza Hotel at Monterey Bay, Monterey, CA, United States
Duration: 15 May 201318 May 2013
Conference number: 41


Conference2013 AMS Annual Conference
LocationPortola Plaza Hotel at Monterey Bay
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMonterey, CA
Internet address
SeriesDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science

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