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Open AccessArticle

Consumer Perception of Online Attributes in Circular Economy Activities

Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany
WHU—Otto Beisheim School of Management, 56179 Vallendar, Germany
Wealth of Flows Consulting Ltd, Hong Kong SAR
The Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 6997801, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1914;
Received: 31 December 2019 / Revised: 18 February 2020 / Accepted: 21 February 2020 / Published: 3 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Markets and the Consumer)
Businesses like Airbnb have shown that a successful circular economy (CE) business can operate exclusively online. Although online communication and web appearance attributes have been subject to academic research given accelerated digitization, there is still a lack of knowledge about online attributes and their role in facilitating CE. We close the portrayed knowledge gap by conducting a discrete-choice experiment with best to worst scaling and focusing on the effect of CE experience on the perception of a CE website by ranking nine online attributes, grouped in three subsets. We therefore contribute by identifying online attributes that are perceived as favorable for CE businesses and detect how participation in CE activities affects the perception of these attributes. We find that third-party associated online attributes (e.g., user reviews or third-party guarantees) rank significantly higher throughout CE consumption patterns of the sample, being always amongst the top three attributes. This novel finding on online preferences opens a new direction for further research, as well as allows practitioners to optimize online operations accordingly. Furthermore, we find that users without prior touchpoints with CE have a higher need for information about the business model as compared to CE active users who are more interested in community related attributes. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular economy; perception; online preferences; consumer engagement circular economy; perception; online preferences; consumer engagement
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Stein, N.; Spinler, S.; Vanthournout, H.; Blass, V. Consumer Perception of Online Attributes in Circular Economy Activities. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1914.

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