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Title: Effects of brand attachment on consumer intention to use commercial sharing systems : implications for fashion industry
Authors: Wei, Xiaoyong
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: Collaborative consumption (CC) has emerged as an innovative business model in the recent decades, providing consumers with temporary access to a product and reshaping the way of consumption. Commercial sharing systems (CSSs), such as car-sharing (e.g., Zipcar), accommodation-sharing (e.g., Airbnb) and fashion-sharing (e.g., Renttherunway) systems, are typical models of CC. As the commercial sharing business starts to thrive, many CSSs choose to cooperate with famous brands to attract consumers, such as the cooperation between the car-sharing service provider Car2go and the brand Mercedes-Benz. However, this strategy may not be effective. As prior research on the extended self suggests, if consumers have strong attachment to the brand (i.e., have incorporated the brand as a part of the extended self), they would prefer ownership of the brand's product rather than sharing it with strangers. However, no study so far has empirically examined the effect of brand attachment on consumers' intention to use the sharing service. In addition, previous studies did not advise any strategy to mitigate the negative effect of brand attachment. To shed light on these issues, this study integrated theories on extended self, face consciousness, and psychological ownership to explain how brand attachment affects the CSS usage and how the effect of brand attachment on the CSS usage can be altered, which is essential for the success of CSSs. Based on the intensive review of the relevant literature, four hypotheses were proposed. The study posited that brand attachment could negatively influence consumers' intention to use the sharing system to rent products of their attached brands (i.e., sharing likelihood); besides, three moderators could alter this relationship, namely face consciousness, brand prestige, and psychological ownership. Specifically, the effect of brand attachment on sharing likelihood could be mitigated by consumers' desire to gain face and psychological ownership, and the high brand prestige level could strengthen the moderating effect of face consciousness.
The thesis conducted three empirical studies to test the hypotheses. In Study 1, the main effect of brand attachment on sharing likelihood were examined via online surveys. A preliminary interview was conducted for the selection of product categories and the design of research scenarios. Based on the interview results, the fashion product-sharing and the car-sharing contexts were chosen in which interviewees considered product brand to be important when using the CSS. In Study 1a (fashion clothes-sharing) and Study 1b (car-sharing), 279 and 277 responses of Chinese consumers were analyzed, respectively. The results supported that brand attachment had a significant negative effect on consumer sharing likelihood. In Study 2, the moderating roles of face consciousness and brand prestige were tested. Study 2a used the fashion bag-sharing context. An online experiment was conducted with participants from the two biggest cities (i.e., Beijing and Shanghai) of mainland China, and 541 eligible responses were analyzed. Results showed that face consciousness mitigated the negative effect of brand attachment on sharing likelihood, but high brand prestige did not strengthen this moderating effect. To enhance robustness of the results, Study 2b tested these findings in the car-sharing context with 551 eligible responses. The results of Study 2b replicated those of Study 2a. In Study 3, the moderating role of psychological ownership was examined in the fashion bag-sharing context. Study 3 employed a 2 (brand prestige: high/low) × 2 (psychological ownership: high/low) between-subjects experimental design. The participants were recruited from Beijing and Shanghai and 482 usable responses were analyzed. The results confirmed that high psychological ownership level attenuated the negative effect of brand attachment on sharing likelihood. The contribution of this study is threefold. First, the study successfully applied the concept of extended self to the brand level to explain consumers' CSS usage. Second, by testing the moderating effect of face consciousness, the study adds to the literature that the social factor also plays an important role in determining CSS usage. Third, the study reveals how psychological ownership could mitigate the negative effect of brand attachment on sharing likelihood in the CSS context. With these findings, CSS companies can better choose the appropriate products and brands to provide, target the potential customer segments, and design the promotion strategies. Moreover, it may further help facilitate the worldwide transformation to the CC model, and hopefully lead the world to a collaborative, efficient and sustainable future.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Fashion merchandising
Brand loyalty
Consumer behavior -- Psychological aspects
Sharing -- Economic aspects
Pages: 146 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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