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Towards a circular economy: A qualitative study on how to communicate refurbished smartphones in the Swedish market
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

As there are more than 1.4 billion smartphones sold every year in the world and around four million smartphones in Sweden. In recent years there has been a growing concern to move from a linear economic system to a circular economic system. Smartphones and other electronic equipment stand for the largest growing waste streams in the European Union. The rising prices of raw materials used in smartphone manufacturing over the last decades, along with the fact that these minerals are being mined in conflict stricken areas and the growing environmental awareness among people makes the refurbished smartphone’s market very current. Thus, it is of great interest to investigate consumer behaviour linked to refurbished smartphones as it is still in its early stages. As such, many of the barriers identified in this thesis can be linked to the communication of refurbished smartphones. The purpose of this thesis is to get a deeper understanding of how companies can communicate to break the barriers that exists for the consumer acceptance of refurbished smartphones in the Swedish market. Earlier studies have also focused on refurbishment as a concept rather than the consumer’s responses towards it. The study will be conducted in Sweden which has not been done previously. Therefore, our study will contribute to a deeper understanding of the consumer behaviour in the refurbished smartphone market in Sweden and thus aid companies in their communication of refurbished smartphones. To fulfil the purpose, a qualitative study has been conducted through semi-structured interviews. The sample groups were environmental enthusiasts, technology experts, refurbished product buyers, second hand buyers and companies. From the interviews five themes were derived: initial response, benefits, risks, barriers and communication. The findings and conclusions of the thesis are derived from the themes and subthemes that were created. There are many barriers and risks that make people avoid purchasing refurbished smartphones. The findings suggest that the consumers’ initial response are generally very positive and many consumers would consider a refurbished smartphone as their next smartphone purchase. Another finding is that a lack of knowledge about refurbishment lead to doubts about refurbished smartphones. The barriers found were lack of awareness, lack of thrill of newness, naming of refurbished products and lack of knowledge. The largest barrier, was lack of awareness. A solution to resolve this barrier could be to communicate the refurbishment process. A major finding was that that the environmental aspects were a vital purchase criteria for the consumers, however, not the most vital aspect. Moreover, societal benefits were raised regarding refurbished products in terms of benefitting the entire society. The biggest risk detected in the study was the performance, risk as the consumer may believe that the smartphone will be in a poor condition even though it has been refurbished. A big risk was the financial risk in terms of the substantial price for a refurbished smartphone. To reduce this the companies could adapt to the market standard and sell their refurbished smartphones in package deals. Our findings suggest that price should be communicated in combination with warranty and also environmental aspects, however, the environmental aspect is often abstract. The companies should consider using branding more to communicate these messages. Word of mouth was seen to be important and companies should utilise customer reviews more. In terms of emotional and rational appeals both should be used, however, what appeal that the companies should focus on emphasise on is not obvious.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 84 p.
Keyword [en]
Circular Economy, It consumption, Sustainability, Refurbish, Refurbishment, Remanufacturing, Smartphones, Smartphone consumption, Consumer behaviour, Circular consumption, communication, second-hand products, sustainable IT consumption, advertisment
Keyword [sv]
Hållbarhet, Cirkulär ekonomi, rekonditionering
National Category
Social Sciences Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-137552OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-137552DiVA: diva2:1119794
Educational program
International Business Program
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-07-05 Created: 2017-07-04 Last updated: 2017-07-05Bibliographically approved

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Towards a circular economy: A qualitative study on how to communicate refurbished smartphones in the Swedish market(1298 kB)25 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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More languages
Output format
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