Consumer Hesitations to Engage in Fashion Subscription Economy: Identifying and Examining Barriers and Threats




Johnson, Catherine

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The world of fashion is a creative and diverse industry with ever changing trends and innovations. Over the past years, eco-conscious fashion retailers have grasped the concept of sustainability and have implemented environmentally friendly or ethically sourced products within their companies. Some have even introduced the concept of fashion sharing economy such as fashion rental services, where consumers may choose products to rent for a monthly fee. As being a sustainable alternative to conventional consumer consumption, fashion rental services potentially offer many benefits to both consumers and the environment. However, data show that the majority of consumers do not engage in these services. There has been limited research conducted on why consumers are hesitant to engage with this kind of service. The goal of this study was to fill the gap in the existing literature by examining potential barriers and threats consumers have that discourage them from engaging in such service. To examine if consumer values as the barriers along with perceived threats as the service level mold hesitations to use fashion rental services, a research model was developed. To test the model, data were collected through an online survey with a random sample of consumers through an online database, Amazon Mechanical Turk (N = 410). Two stimuli were created to make whether explicit environmental benefits were provided or not acted as a moderator in the model and assisted in dividing the participants into two groups. Ambivalence was used as a mediator between the barriers or threats and hesitations to use fashion rental services. Multiple regression analysis and mediation analysis testing were used to evaluate the relationships and effects of all variables. The results indicated that hesitations to adopt fashion rental services were indeed triggered by some of consumer values as barriers and perceived threats as the service level. However, the results varied between the two groups. Understanding barriers and threats for consumers to engage in fashion rental services will help retailers better market their services and close the gap of uncertainty that their consumers have about the services. The results will further contribute to the sustainable consumption and therefore cleaner production in the industry.



Consumer behavior, Fashion subscription economy, Fashion rental service, Consumer hesitation, Environmental sustainability


Johnson, C. (2021). <i>Consumer hesitations to engage in fashion subscription economy: Identifying and examining barriers and threats</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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