Exploring Liquid Lives and Product Lifetimes
Product lifetimes are an important consideration in the context of sustainability. One way to better manage product lifetimes is to promote product service systems (PSS) that complement and/ or substitute traditional forms of product based consumption. PSS satisfy consumer demand by providing time limited access to products via leasing or renting. Here providers typically own the product component of such offerings and thus producer responsibility is extended over the lifecycle. However, while PSS can be found on business to business markets there is a paucity of such offerings on consumer markets. Opportunities that PSS may provide to improve environmental performance are being lost. PSS literature argues that one of the main obstacles to PSS implementation in such markets is the presence of strong consumer object attachments and that PSS simply do not create sufficient value to displace these. However, consumer culture theory (CCT) research suggests that the bonds between certain consumers (nomadic ones) and their possessions are now far from solid: they are liquid. In such instances, consumers highly prize situational value, instrumental use value and immateriality. In other words, demands that form the rational for and may be met through PSS provision. In this contribution we presented selected data from a case study in which pilot baby care PSS were offered to nomadic consumers. The research suggests that such consumers are amenable to PSS provision and that further research is necessary to explore this proposition.