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EU product policy and consumer purchase decisions – empirical evidence from eight EU member states

Panel: 7. Appliances, products, lighting and ICT

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Authors:
Benjamin Fries, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI
Sibylle Braungardt, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Germany
Martin Kreuzer, Beuth University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Katharina Wohlfahrt, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Germany

Abstract

EU product policy has contributed to driving purchase decisions towards more efficient products by influencing consumer purchase behaviour. However, sales data show that the uptake of energy efficient solutions differs considerably between the various EU member states, despite the fact that the regulation is the same. In order to make product policy more effective in influencing consumer behaviour, it is important to obtain an improved knowledge of how consumers make purchase decisions. We analyse data from a large-scale household survey that was conducted in eight EU member states (DE, FR, IT, ES, PL, RO, SE, UK) in June 2016. In each country, a representative sample of 1500-2000 participants was asked about their purchases of washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers and light bulbs. The survey contained questions on a variety of external and internal factors influencing consumer purchase decisions including attributes that directly influence decision-making (purchase price, energy cost, energy label, social influence, influence of retailers, environmental friendliness, financial support, performance and design) as well as indirect factors such as gender, income level, attitudes, values and beliefs. We use descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse the role of these factors in purchase decisions and compare the results across the various countries. We find that the role of the different factors varies between the countries but only slightly between different population groups according to age, income or education. For household appliances and lighting, purchase criteria are rated similarly overall but energy consumption is most important for lighting while the purchase price is most important for appliances.

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