How long do we care? The role of consumer practices for sustainable electronics
Electronic devices are often used shorter than their technical lifetime would allow. In a face-to-face survey we explored how product use times are influenced or ""made"" by users and their practices. Main questions were: What meanings do users attribute to longevity and how are they related to length of usage? What factors do better predict the usetime of products: individual factors, like meanings and personal norms, or situational factors, like the availability of repair services? These questions were investigated in a survey study, which covered several electronic devices but mainly focused on washing machines in comparison to smartphones. Multiple regressions were applied to explore different predictors of the length of usage and the decision to repair. Multiple regressions show that the desire for the new was the strongest predictive factor for the usetime of smartphones. Care practices did significantly increase the use time of washing machines. The decision to prolong lifetimes through repair was among influenced by the users' competence: Users who assess their knowledge about their devices functions rather high, are more likely to repair it. The results can serve as a background for strategies to enhance consumer competences to care for longevity.