The discontinuance of low carbon digital products and services

Emilie Vrain, Charlie Wilson, Barnaby Andrews

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Abstract

Digital consumer innovations offer low-carbon alternatives to mainstream consumption practices. We address a lack of research on the factors influencing post-adoption decisions of discontinuance for this important class of innovations. We conducted a repeat survey with UK consumers (n = 995) in 2019 and 2020 to investigate 16 digital products and services across mobility, food, homes, and energy domains. Our survey captured temporal changes in adoption, personal and contextual characteristics, social influences, innovation experiences and perceived attributes. We also provide a unique contribution by assessing the impacts of Covid-19 on post-adoption processes.

Our results indicate that discontinuance is associated with: 1) services more than products; 2) perceived functional attributes not met by experienced attributes; 3) a lack of positive social influence, including word-of-mouth; 4) a lack of social network connections to other adopters; and 5) a decline in an individual's financial situation. Covid-19 was not found to be a significant factor influencing innovation discontinuance. Findings highlight generalisable insights regarding issues that need addressing to overcome discontinuance. For example, while digital services offer low-carbon promise, continued adoption is sensitive to their strong performance attributes. There is a need for continued innovation to sustain market position relative to more familiar incumbents.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122051
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume185
Early online date22 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Sep 2022

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