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Second-Hand Consumption as a Lifestyle Choice

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The aim of the study is to understand motives for second-hand consumption and argues that this modest consumption form is a lifestyle choice. Second-hand consumption is a non-excessive, modest consumption type (Williams and Paddock 2003) which is gaining popularity. A consumer sub-culture of second-hand shoppers emerged since buying used is stylish and clever (Franklin, 2011; Gregson and Crewe 2003, 11). This might include clever buying and selling of used-goods which is a behaviour modest consumers engage in. An online questionnaire was constructed based on motivation variables for second-hand consumption developed by Guiot and Roux (2010). The questionnaire further investigated product groups, sales channels, purchase frequency and the role of the internet in making these second-hand purchases. 231 participants filled out the online questionnaire which was distributed in February 2015. The results of an exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis show that German second-hand consumption is influeced by social and nostalgic motives more than by economic and ecological motivations. The study suggests that second-hand consumption is a lifestyle choice for many consumers rather than an economic necessity.
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Second-hand consumption as a
lifestyle choice
Prof. Dr Adrienne Steffen (Germany) | Hochschule für Internationales
Management – International University Heidelberg
DOI 10.15501/978-3-8 6336-918 -7_16
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190 Adrienne Steffen
1 Introduction to second-hand
consumption
In the past 40 years there has been an increase in second-hand consumption
among consumers (Guiot and Roux 2010), since the ‘shame and stigma asso-
ciated with second-hand consumption’ disappeared and second-hand goods
became ‘cool’ and ‘stylish’ (Franklin 2011, 156). In Germany, for example, the
turnover of goods sold in second-hand retail outlets is expected to increase
from €1.902 mio in 2012 to €2.198 mio in 2020 (Statista n.d.). Second-hand
consumption is a niche form of consumption and therefore does not corre-
spond to the norm (Crewe and Gregson 2003; Williams and Paddock 2003).
Second-hand goods can be distinguished from new goods because they are
pre-used and pre-owned (Luchs et al. 2011). They are usually less expensive
than new products and have some traces of wear-and-tear (Estelami and Ray-
mundo 2012). Several forms of second-hand consumption exist. These range
from ‘car boot sales, charity shops, auctions, online auctions, seller websites,
vintage and other second-hand shops, nearly new sales to bric-a-brac stalls
run by charities or non-profit community organisations such as churches
and schools’ (Waight 2013a, 299). Although these places for second-hand
exchange are shaped by both buyers and sellers (Gregson and Crewe 2003,
3), the professionalisation of second-hand charity shops has taken place re-
cently. In particular, professional online platforms such as Ubup have revolu-
tionised the second-hand market. Ubup is a second-hand retailer that buys
second-hand clothes, and then checks, photographs and labels the clothes
online for a professional customer experience, just as in a regular online shop
for new clothes (Ubup, n.d). Second-hand shops of all forms are increasingly
attempting to copy traditional retail practices (Gregson and Crewe 2003, 75).
A study of German second-hand behaviour shows that consumers sold many
types of products within the last 12 months of the study. The identified product
groups were: books (46%), clothes (44%), CDs (28%), DVDs (28%), textbooks
(25%), video games (22%), toys (17%), furniture (17%), jewellery (14%) and
mobile phones (12%) (Sempora Consulting 2012). These findings are consist-
ent with Waight (2013a, 1), who identified, in particular, children’s clothes as
191
Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
being popular second-hand buys ‘because kids grow out of things quickly,
while the objects themselves still hold a use value’.
These reasons also apply to collectibles, where the object might even gain
value over time. Sometimes items are collected and purchased second-hand
because they are currently not sold anymore. Turunen and Leipämaa-Leskin-
en (2015) pointed out that the acquisition of second-hand goods had initially
been related to collecting in the literature (e.g. by Belk 2001; and Zonneveld
and Biggemann 2014). Emotional attachment and nostalgia could be the main
customer motivations here (Zonneveld and Biggemann 2014).
2 Modest consumption and lifestyle
In particular, the production methods and consumption patterns of the twen-
ty-first century are responsible for environmental pollution and the depreci-
ation of resources. Consumers have realised the role they play and are be-
coming more responsible about their excessive lifestyles (Balderjahn 2013,
202). Lifestyle is ‘a pattern of consumption that reflects a person’s choices
about how they spend time and money, but in many cases it also refers to the
attitudes and values attached to these behavioural patterns’ (Solomon et al.
2016, 197). Second-hand consumption is a non-excessive, modest consump-
tion type, which exists in many forms (Gregson and Crewe 2003; Williams and
Paddock 2003). The term modest is defined as ‘not large in size or amount, or
not expensive’ (Oxford Dictionary, n.d.). Modest consumption could therefore
also mean that consumers decide not to buy at all.
It has been suggested that many second-hand shoppers are not necessarily
poor but want to shop clever (Gregson and Crewe 2003, 11) by not putting a
strain on their wallet and the ecosystem. Consequently, they practise a form of
minimalism or anti-consumption, whereby they place more emphasis on per-
sonal growth than on social status (Lee and Ahn 2016). Non-consumption is of-
ten a form of voluntary simplicity where the consumption of material goods is
minimised. Consumers who practise voluntary simplicity in its mild forms tend
192 Adrienne Steffen
to ‘reduce clutter in their life, reduce burdensome time committments, and
create a peaceful personal space to enjoy life’ (Zavestoski, 2002). Anti-con-
sumption is further described as a lifestyle-driven desire to live a simpler life
(Lee and Ahn 2016) by consuming less or downshifting (Cherrier and Murray
2007). Intentional non-consumption plays a key role in sustainability (Cherrier,
Black and Lee 2011).
3 Motivation for second-hand
consumption
Customers today like to get more value from their possessions and sell their
goods through different online and offline ‘buy-back’ channels (Trendwatch-
ing 2011). Because second-hand trade is gaining popularity, it is necessary
for retailers to understand these alternative forms of consumption. Yet, the
phenomenon of second-hand consumption has not been investigated much
by other researchers in the past (Waight 2013a). To the best of the author’s
knowledge, only one book has been published on re-sale culture on the In-
ternet in Germany (Behrendt et al. 2011), but it focuses solely on chances for
sustainable consumption through eBay. Other book and paper searches are
not particularly extensive, with the exception of, for example, Behrendt et al.
(2011), Gregson and Crewe (2003) or Franklin (2011).
Williams and Windebank (2002) suggest that consumers turn to second-hand
consumption because they cannot afford new goods and have been excluded
from traditional retail channels as ‘excluded consumers’. The researchers call
for more alternative retail spaces, for example, formal and non-formal sec-
ond-hand markets where these excluded consumers can acquire goods. Wil-
liams and Windebank (2002) acknowledge that there is little quality control,
especially for the electrical household appliances that are traded in. Further-
more, they suggest that these alternative retail forms do not pose a threat
to mainstream retailers. Yet, in the meantime the professionalisation of sec-
ond-hand retailers such as Ubup has taken place, and, since they copy retail
193
Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
practice, they pose a threat to traditional retailers. Thus, there is a need to
investigate this topic further.
After conducting 120 interviews with consumers, Williams (2003) pointed out
that there are financial but also rational explanations for participating in infor-
mal (e.g. friends and neighbours) and formal second-hand channels (personal
advertising, second-hand shops or market stalls). Williams (2003, 105) shows
that economic and rational reasons co-exist, for example, when a couple ex-
plains that they got a coat from a car boot sale because it was cheaper and be-
cause they like to browse around. Further research supports this motivational
co-existence. Besides financial motivations, Gregson and Crewe (1997) have
shown that there is also a hedonic explanation whereby consumers search
for fun and engage with the spaces. They are looking for distinction by buying
products that are currently not available on the market. Gregson and Crewe
(2003, 103) add that fighting against the consumption system, in addition to
income and identity politics, could motivate consumers to buy second-hand.
Guiot and Roux (2010, 356) characterise second-hand buying as ‘various and
unpredictable offerings’ in a majority of channels, which may be unavailable
in the new goods market; ‘visual stimulation’; ‘the urge to hunt for bargaining
with seller[s]’; as well as feelings of ‘affiliation and social interaction’ (Guiot
and Roux 2010, 356).
Guiot and Roux (2010, 357–360) investigated second-hand shoppers’ motiva-
tions among French shoppers and found four. First, critical motivations have
an ethical and ecological dimension whereby consumers avoid conventional
channels by reusing goods and rejecting the standardised appearance usually
found on the market. Second, experimental motivation linked to the nature of
the offering has an originality component. Consumers try to express unique-
ness, nostalgic pleasure, self-expression and congruence. Third, experiential
motivations linked to channel characteristics mainly include the discovery of
new environments by wandering around and getting into social contact, and
involve stimulation and treasure hunting. Finally, the economic motivation is
a desire to pay less and includes the search for a fair price. These motivations
further consist of bargain hunting and the gratificative role of price. Consum-
ers who primarily have an economic motivation try to satisfy ‘needs without
depriving them of less essential acquisitions’ (Guiot and Roux, 2010, 360).
Waight (2013b) adds that the motivation for second-hand consumption is com-
194 Adrienne Steffen
plex, especially when it is done by households that are not considered to be
‘excluded consumers’.
In contrast to Guiot and Roux (2010), Waight (2013a, 1) reviews the litera-
ture and develops a simpler categorisation. She divides customers into two
groups: people ‘who enjoy the process or simply want things’; and those
‘who are forced to use alternative consumption channels due to financial
hardship’. The interviews of 30 English mothers showed that they purchased
second-hand baby goods primarily for financial, but also for ethical, reasons
(Waight, 2013a). Her research found that mothers were primarily motivated
by financial reasons. The two explanations provided were the consequences
of the financial crisis and the fact that mothers work less and therefore earn
less once they have a child (Waight, 2013a). Gregson and Crewe (2003, 92)
also point out that some mothers constantly think about budgeting and fear
making a mistake with their finances.
Further evidence for the co-existence of several motivations can be found in
a study of Swiss consumers. The results show that these consumers are pri-
marily buying second-hand furniture because of the low price (27%); they find
new products boring (20.9%); for environmental reasons (16.8%); since these
items cannot be bought new (15.4%); because they find the purchase exciting
(5.7%); and for various other reasons (Anibis 2015).
Another potential reason that had previously not been considered by other
researchers is the purchase of something that one cannot afford new. Turunen
and Leipämaa-Leskinen (2015) show that consumers engage in second-hand
luxury consumption because it is a sustainable choice, they want to find a real
deal or a unique find, they are hunting for pre-loved treasures, or they are
making a risky investment.
Although Guiot and Roux (2010) have developed a motivational scale, this
study replicates parts of their work by adapting their scale and studying an-
other cultural context. The aim of this study is to investigate consumer mo-
tivations for second-hand shopping in Germany, because the German sec-
ond-hand market is growing steadily (Statista n.d.) and the retail landscape is
influenced by these developments. German consumption behaviour is diverse.
Small local corner stores that offer high quality, a nostalgic experience and
195
Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
social interaction co-exist with discount stores, which are mainly price-driven
(Logemann 2013). Furthermore, Germans are thought to have a strong eco-
logical motivation because they consciously separate waste and demand
waste-avoidance from manufacturers (Halpert 2001). It is therefore expected
that German customers are strongly motivated by ecological and economic
motives.
4 Methodology
An online questionnaire was constructed based on a selection of motivation
variables for second-hand consumption by Guiot and Roux (2010). An item
concerning discount shopping and the often critiqued production processes
was added to the study because many Germans who do not like shopping at
discounters for this reason turn to alternative second-hand channels. Some
items were excluded when the translated item was too similar to another item
or meant exactly the same when it was translated into German. Five items from
the original scale (PUIS13, CIRC31, CIRC34, CIRC13, OFF24) were thus delet-
ed. In sum, the questionnaire asked about the frequency of consumption in
different second-hand channels; product groups that are bought online; the
consumer motivation for buying used products; about sales channels and the
potential risks; as well as socio-demographics. The data was collected over a
period of four weeks in February 2015 and the questionnaire was distributed
via social media. A 5-point likert scale was used to measure consumer motiva-
tion (1 = strongly disagree, to 5 = strongly agree).
196 Adrienne Steffen
5 Analysis
In total, 231 participants completed the online questionnaire. Of those, 73.3
per cent were female and 26.7 per cent male. The respondents’ age varied
from 16 to 82 years, with a mean age of 32 years (female: 31.3 years; and male:
33.2). Because the link was distributed on social media platforms via a snow-
ball system, perhaps more younger females self-selected to participate in the
study than males because young females often have a personal interest in con-
sumption. In addition, females often shop second-hand for the family (Waight
2013a). The sample contained mixed net household income levels where 11.4
per cent of the sample earned below €500, 8.2 per cent earned €500–€999,
22.3 per cent earned €1,000–1,999, 14.7 per cent earned €2,000–2,999, 16.3
per cent earned €3,000–3,999 and 27.2 per cent earned more than €4,000.
Altogether, 47 of the 231 participants chose not to reveal their income and
were counted as missing. The level of education in the sample was slightly
above the average German level, with 39 per cent having a university degree
and 2.7 per cent a doctoral degree. In total, 7.3 per cent had either completed
secondary modern school or secondary school and 33.6 per cent had earned
a university entrance diploma. Altogether, 16.8 per cent had completed voca-
tional training.
The most frequently used purchase channels were measured on a 5-point Likert
scale (higher scores mean more frequent usage), as follows: family (M = 3.13,
SD = 1.38), private sales (M = 2.82, SD = 1.28), eBay (M = 2.6, SD = 1.40),
fairs (M = 2.52, SD = 1.29), other Internet platforms (M = 2.3, SD = 1.48), sec-
ond-hand shops (M = 2.29, SD = 1.43), Amazon (M = 2.23, SD = 1.37), contacts
through online forums (M = 1.90, SD = 1.33) and, finally, classified ads in the
newspaper (M = 1.38, SD = .77).
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Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
6 Exploratory analysis
SPSS 23 was used to conduct a principal component factor analysis with va-
rimax rotation to analyse the motivators. The results are provided in Table 1.
Based on Field’s recommendation, all factor loadings of lower than .5 were
suppressed. Loadings of .512 are good enough for samples of between 100
and 200 if there are a few factors with small numbers of variables (Field 2013,
681). Therefore, these recommendations were followed for a sample size of
just above 200. The data was found to be suitable for factor analysis (KMO of
.856 and Bartlet = .00).
Social motivation
(α = .849, M = 2.74)
M SD Factor
Loadings
CIRC32 I like wandering around second-
hand outlets because I always
hope I’ll come across a real find.
3.35 1.44 .66
CIRC35 In certain second-hand outlets
I feel rather like a treasure hunter.
2.94 1.50 .66
CIRC12 I enjoy the social interaction
you find in certain second-hand
outlets.
2.73 1.44 .86
CIRC12 I like going to second-hand outlets
where I can have contact with
people and talk to them.
2.66 1.44 .88
CIRC11 In certain second-hand outlets,
I like entering into discussion with
people even if I don’t buy anything.
2.02 1.33 .53
198 Adrienne Steffen
Ecological motivation
(α = .735, M = 2.70)
M SD Factor
Loadings
ETH11 By buying second-hand I feel
I’m helping to fight against
waste.
3.16 1.36 .76
DISCNT I don’t like buying at discount
stores because of their
questionable production
processes.
2.95 1.27 .56
ANT11 Buying second-hand enables
me to distance myself from the
consumer society.
2.68 1.33 .78
PUIS11 Buying second-hand is for me
a revenge on the consumption
system.
1.99 1.24 .74
Individual motivation
(α = .624, M = 2.88)
M SD Factor
Loadings
OFF12 I can find products that cannot
be bought in mainstream stores.
3.15 1.34 .55
ECO21 By buying second-hand I feel
I’m paying a fair price for things.
3.15 1.38 .65
ECO22 I don’t want to pay more for a
product, just because it is new.
2.79 1.13 .76
OFF23 I like buying second-hand objects
because I find them authentic.
2.41 1.20 .53
Nostalgic motivation
(α = .762, M = 2.65)
M SD Factor
Loadings
OFF22 I am attracted more to old things
than new ones.
2.67 1.10 .75
OFF25 I buy second-hand products
because they are old and have a
history.
2.53 1.26 .70
Table 1: Factor analysis of shopping motivation
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Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
The cronbach alpha values for the factors were: social (.849), ecological (.735),
individual (.624) and nostalgic (.762). Individual motivation with an alpha of
.624 is the only scale that does not show high internal reliability, based on the
rule of thumb that alpha values above .7 are efficient (Bryman and Bell 2011,
159). Leaving out any one of the items would have further reduced the scale’s
reliability. The scale mixes the two factors of price and originality by Guiot and
Roux (2010), but both factors, especially the pricing items, were perceived to
be too important in terms of content—based on the previously reviewed liter-
ature—to delete completely. Overall, the motivation model structure of Guiot
and Roux (2010) was not replicated identically. Originality as a hedonic or rec-
reational motivation was of little importance in this model. Only item OFF12
from Guiot and Roux’s (2010) originality scale loaded on the factor ‘individual
motivation’ (exploratory analysis).
Figure 1: SEM of second-hand shopping motivation. Source: Own illustration.
200 Adrienne Steffen
The global fit indices of the unbiased structural equation model (see Figure
1 for standard estimates) indicate a good fit with the data. The requirements
specified based on Byrne’s (2001) recommendations were considered (X2/df
< 5, CFI > 0.9 and RMSEA < 0.08). The following fit indicators were produced by
the model: X2/df = 2.149, CFI = 0.918, RMSEA = 0.071, p = .000). Although
items ECO22 and ECO23 scored rather low, they were not deleted, because
economic motivations were found to be so important in previous studies (Guiot
and Roux 2010; Williams and Paddock 2003; and Waight 2013a).
7 Confirmatory analysis of Guiot and
Roux (2010)
A confirmatory analysis of the factor structure and the provided model only
partly confirmed the work of Guiot and Roux (2010). Internal reliability was not
acceptable for all factors with the following cronbach alpha scores: fair price
(.47), gratificative role of price (.83), distance from the system (.721), ethics and
ecology (.57), treasure hunting (.69), originality (.53), social contact (.87) and
nostalgic pleasure (.71). Overall, the model fit indicators were X2/df = 1.997, CFI
= 0.917, RMSEA = 0.066, p =.000. To test the comparative strength of the three
factors, the original CFA model was restructured into a second-order model
(see Figure 2). The factor strengths in the model were economic motivation
(.72), critical motivation (.80) and hedonic motivation (.79).
201
Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
Figure 2: SEM of second-hand shopping motivation (confirmatory). Source: Own
illustration.
8 Discussion
The results suggest that second-hand shopping is mostly done for non-eco-
nomic reasons in the German context. Because social and nostalgic motives
prevail in the study, it can be concluded that German consumers buy sec-
ond-hand because they want to live a certain lifestyle.
The motivation for second-hand consumption appears to be different for Ger-
man consumers than for UK consumers (Williams and Paddock 2003; Waight
2013a) or French consumers (Guiot and Roux 2010). Whereas many consumers
in the UK have to buy second-hand in order not to be excluded from society
202 Adrienne Steffen
(Williams and Windebank 2002), or to survive because of financial hardship
(Williams and Paddock 2003; Waight 2013), the results of this paper indicate
that German consumers are not primarily influenced by economic motivations.
Germans are not primarily driven by cheap prices when buying second-hand.
Payment-related explanations (ECO21 and ECO23) were the weakest motiva-
tional estimates in the structural equation model. In addition, German con-
sumers don’t want to take revenge on the consumption system. Furthermore, it
doesn’t appear that they feel the need to distance themselves from a consum-
er society. A much better explanation is provided by social factors (especially
browsing behaviour (CIRC32 and CIRC35) and nostalgia (OFF22 and OFF25)).
The dominance of social and nostalgic motives suggest that German sec-
ond-hand purchases are made for lifestyle purposes, for example, when older
cult products are purchased to demonstrate a certain lifestyle. These findings
partly confirm those of William and Paddock (2003). Whereas the researchers
suggest that economic necessity is the principal motive for lower income con-
sumers, other consumers choose alternative forms for fun, for social reasons
or because of their desire for uniqueness.
The timing and economic situation of the countries at the time of the study
could also explain the motivational differences, as the data for Waight’s
study (2013) and Guiot and Roux’s (2010) study were collected in the UK and
in France during or shortly after the financial crisis. When there is economic
pressure, consumers are perhaps more motivated to buy second-hand than if
the economy is doing well.
A further explanation for these different findings could be cultural differences.
Turunen and Leipämaa-Leskinen (2015) also put limitations on their own work
by stating that the need for uniqueness might differ in more individualistic
Western cultures compared to more collective Eastern cultures. Individual,
social and nostalgic motivations could therefore be explained by cultural dif-
ferences. This is in line with Zonneveld and Biggemann (2014, 932), who con-
cluded in regard to collectables that ‘local culture remains a central influence
on consumer behaviour and individual identity’. Witkowski and Reddy (2010)
found evidence for the influence of culture on ethical consumption behaviour
by studying young German and US consumers.
203
Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
A final explanation, and a limitation of this study, could be the sample charac-
teristics. Guiot and Roux (2010) had a much larger sample and Waight (2013a)
collected qualitative data. Based on the findings of Witkowski and Reddy
(2010), the large proportion of females in this sample is not likely to have influ-
enced the results. In their study there were no gender differences concerning
ethical consumption. Yet, a replication of this study with a larger, more repre-
sentative sample should be conducted to validate the findings.
9 Managerial implications and future
research
Primarily, these findings have implications for formal and informal sec-
ond-hand-channel providers. An understanding of the motivational drivers
helps fair organisers, second-hand shop managers and individuals who sell
in informal channels. Understanding the hedonic motivation could lead sec-
ond-hand retailers to further focus on nostalgic and social factors, for exam-
ple, by setting up small areas with benches where interaction between con-
sumers can take place or by explaining to stall owners the importance of social
interaction.
The findings show that ‘treasure hunting’ and ‘coming across a real find’ mo-
tivate consumers to make second-hand purchases. These drivers could also
be relevant for retailers in traditional retail settings. Hollister has, for exam-
ple, used this unique experimental treasure-hunting approach by minimising
the light (Ashley at al. 2010) and placing spotlights on products. Providing
a unique customer experience, which includes social interaction, for exam-
ple, an informative discussion with sales people or other customers, could
motivate consumers to keep buying in conventional retail channels instead
of turning to alternative forms of consumption. An assortment or store layout
that contains nostalgic elements could motivate customers to keep visiting
traditional retail channels. Based on the measured items in the questionnaire,
204 Adrienne Steffen
retailers could satisfy ecological motivations by offering products with certi-
fied eco-labels.
The results stimulate several further research questions. Are customers with
low incomes buying second-hand products for economic reasons, and well-off
customers because they are searching for unique products and experiences?
A further research direction would be the investigation of minimalism and
non-consumption and second-hand purchases. Are people who live a mini-
malistic lifestyle more inclined to purchase second-hand? As outlined above,
the cultural, individual and economic situation of the participant should be
given attention in future research. Future research could therefore investi-
gate participants’ lifestyles, anti-consumption tendencies, personal financial
well-being and material value tendencies to better explain the motivation for
second-hand shopping. A cross-cultural study, which takes into account the
economic climate of the country in which the reseach is conducted, could also
explain motivational differences.
10 Conclusion
There has been an increase in second-hand consumption in various formal
and informal distribution channels. In contrast to previously published stud-
ies, there is evidence that German consumers are not predominantly driven by
economic motives and do not seem to be driven by ecological motives either.
The findings suggest that German consumers are more motivated to engage in
second-hand consumption for social and nostalgic reasons, which implies that
lifestyle plays a significant role in the decision to purchase second-hand. The
results have implications for second-hand retailers and fair organisers, as well
as traditional retailers, who can use this information to create an atmosphere
in which these two motivators are supported.
205
Second-hand consumption as a lifestyle choice
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Mit Blick auf einen nachhaltigen Konsum eröffnen elektronische Auktionsmärkte und Handelsplattformen neue Spielräume. Chancen zur Erschließung bisher nicht genutzter Umweltentlastungspotenziale bestehen bei der Weiterentwicklung internetgestützter Gebrauchtwarenmärkte. Dieses Potenzial beruht im Wesentlichen auf der Chance, durch Vermarktung gebrauchter Güter die Lebens- und Nutzungsphase von Produkten zu verlängern und so zusätzliche Umweltbelastungen durch Neuanschaffungen zu vermeiden. Vor diesem Hintergrund untersuchte das Institut für Zukunftsstudien und Technologiebewertung, das Borderstep Institut für Innovation und Nachhaltigkeit und die Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main in einem Forschungsprojekt Konsumprozesse am Beispiel von eBay, der weltgrößten Handelsplattform für Gebrauchtgüter. In einer breit angelegten Online-Befragung wurden das Kauf- und Verkaufsverhalten auf elektronischen Plattformen, die Motivationen sowie die mit dem Online-Handel verbundenen Umweltauswirkungen erhoben und erforscht. Die empirische, die in diesem Band vorgestellt werden, zeigen erstmals in sehr umfassender Weise die ökologischen Auswirkungen und Chancen des Online-Handels mit Gebrauchtgütern.
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Purpose – This paper calls for a reconsideration of standard narratives regarding the role of small, independent retailers for twentieth‐century urban communities. The paper aims to discuss the issues. Design/methodology/approach – Taking the German city of Bremen as an example, the paper problematizes the nostalgic treatment of independent “Aunt Emma” (or “mom‐and‐pop”) stores in Germany during the last quarter of the century, by recounting the often conflict‐laden history of small retailers within the urban community. It draws on primary documents from retail associations, the chamber of commerce, municipal administrations, as well as media coverage. Findings – The romanticization of the corner grocer overlooked the often divisive role of small store‐keepers in the interwar years as well as the social considerations behind some forms of retail modernization. Originality/value – Beyond the particular examples of Bremen or even Germany, the paper urges historians of modern retailing to critically analyze the everyday role shops and shopkeepers have played within their communities without at the same time embracing a market‐liberal narrative of retail modernization as a function of consumer demand.