Swapping and Renting Is it Tempting? A Study on Consumer Perceptions of Collaborative Fashion Consumptions Models

Elsa Karolina Börjesson & Johanna Maria Kristina Hjälm

Student thesis: Master thesis


Background and Purpose: Based on today’s unsustainable consumption situation, where a linear system views natural resources as unlimited, an alternative circular system is getting increasingly attention. Several alternative consumption models that seek to optimise resource yields are born out of this, such as collaborative consumption models, which builds on the idea of people sharing and collaborating. These models are highly applicable in the fashion industry where consumers’ overconsumption is extensive. By the collaborative consumption models renting and swapping, consumers could share and exchange products, thus decreasing their consumption. However, not only must companies offer these models, consumers must also accept and adopt them. Thus, to find pathways towards a more sustainable consumption it is vital to interpret and understand consumer perceptions. Nonetheless, knowledge is scarce about consumers’ perceptions of consumption concepts that support a circular system. Consequently, this study aims to explore how consumers perceive the collaborative consumption models renting and swapping, and the underlying motivations and barriers. Methodology: This study’s empirical part was conducted through an abductive and qualitative research method. The primary data was collected via eleven semi-structured interviews with consumers in order to understand their perceptions about collaborative consumption models. Findings and Conclusion: Our study portrays consumers’ perceptions of fashion consumption and the collaborative consumption models swapping and renting. Since consumers often attach meaning to their clothes, we found that their attitudes and behaviours in fashion consumption influenced their perceptions of swapping and renting. Via the analysis, we identified motivations and barriers to participating in collaborative consumption. For swapping, social, experiential and value creation aspects were found to be the main motivations, whereas the biggest barriers were style and concerns about getting a fair exchange. The main motivations identified for renting were style and trend, financial opportunities, and flexibility and freedom whereas ownership was found to be a barrier. Lastly, uncertainty and hygiene were found to be barriers for both concepts, and a sustainability aspect was identified as value adding in both concepts. Based on our findings, several recommendations for businesses were compiled.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages101
SupervisorsJesper Clement