Track 3.3. Attachment to durable products


Track 3.3. Attachment to durable products

Session owner:
Prof. Ruth Mugge, Delft University of Technology / Amsterdam Business School, the Netherlands.

People often replace durable products even though these are still functioning well or only require a minor repair. Such premature replacement should be prevented in order to lower the negative impact of our consumption pattern on the environment. Premature replacement is often the consequence of the attraction of new products in the market. People are persuaded to purchase new products because these offer new features, have a more attractive appearance or simply because they feel that it is time for a new product.

In contrast, many examples also exist of products that are kept for a long time because they for example have a special meaning to the owner. Such emotionally durable products seem to slow down the mental depreciation process and are believed to have strong emotional value to the owner. As a result of this experienced attachment to durable products, new products have less attraction to the owner and replacement can be postponed.

Despite the possible value of attachment, purposefully designing for attachment and long-lasting emotional value remains challenging as most emotional bonds currently develop beyond the control of the designer or company. In this track, we explore new ways to stimulate long-lasting emotional value experienced with durable products in order to contribute to this scientific field. Furthermore, we aim to explore the dark side of attachment as it may prevent people from purchasing more energy-efficient products.

This session seeks contributions that investigate how attachments are formed, how designers/companies can actively design for long-lasting emotional value and what may be possible rebound effects of experiencing attachments.