International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss


Encouraging Sustainable Consumption through Product Lifetime Extension: The Case of Mobile Phones
Wendy Bryce Wilhelm

Mobile phones are more frequently replaced than any other electronic good, withover 140 million unitsdiscarded annually in the U.S; only 10% of them are recycled. The objective of this research was to identify marketing strategies such as designing for durability and customization that might encourage individuals to extend the lifetime of their mobile phones and thereby decrease replacement frequency and negative environmental impacts. A conjoint experiment was designed to examine the relative importance of durability/functional life, cost, performance, style, customization and upgrade procedure on preference for mobile phones among U.S. college students. Durability and phone customization were found to have a significant impact on phone preference, and mobile phones designed to last five years or more and that included many options for personalization were most preferred. The paper concludes with a discussion of how lifetime extension strategies for mobile phones and other products might be successfully integrated into new product development processes and encouraged by public policy initiatives.

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