Kasper is a 26-year old master's level student at Aalto University School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, where he studies Information and Service Management. Kasper is currently working on his master's thesis involving environmental sustainability and sustainable development in consumers' purchasing behavior with a case study on mobile phones. In his spare time, Kasper enjoys cycling and supporting his local soccer team. In addition to Finland, Kasper has lived in Spain and France for several years.
The research tries to identify which characteristics of sustainable development could affect (now and in the future) the purchase decision of a mobile phone in a western country, with Finland as our case country. We study how consumers view the sustainable development characteristics in mobile phones. The preliminary characteristics were determined through focus group interviews and a pilot quantitative study using MaxDiff scaling in SSI Web. The final web questionnaire contains choice-based conjoint tasks and some background questions. The questionnaire was prepared in its entirety in SSI Web and contains fairly complex HTML and CSS. The expected sample size is around 700 respondents. The research is purely academic.
Purpose. Consumer values increasingly favor sustainable development in products and services, thereby fostering the need to develop new operational and managerial practices that support sustainability in supply chain management. The purpose of this study is to identify relevant product features related to sustainable development in this context, and use the choice of mobile phone as an example in measuring their importance.
Design/methodology/approach. The study used two different methods (qualitative and quantitative) in two phases. First it organized focus‐group discussions in order to identify the features of sustainability that affect the choice of a mobile phone. The most significant features served as a starting point for the choice of attributes to be included in the final step, choice‐based conjoint analysis (CBC), which assesses respondents' value functions by means of latent class clustering. Between the two major phases it carried out two additional pre‐tests in order to reduce the number of attributes.
Findings. The results provide fundamental information concerning the relative importance of sustainability features in the selection of a mobile phone. The study identified four different clusters of purchasers: updaters, budgeters, environmentalists, and long‐life users. According to the findings, some consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainability features. The authors discuss the potential implications of the results in the context of supply chain design.
Originality/value. The literature on supply chain management tends to see the consumers as a “black box”. This paper reports the first results of opening this box by linking the supply chain perspective to consumer choice behavior.