Consumers' expectations for product lifetimes of consumer durables

© 2016 Fraunhofer. Product lifetimes are a relevant topic of discussion towards establishing a circular economy, particularly in terms of the reduction of environmental impacts by improving product longevity. Various researchers have developed models to estimate actual lifetimes and have reported case studies for some product categories (e.g. electrical and electronic equipment, and vehicles). However, actual lifetimes may not necessarily meet consumers' expectations. Therefore, an integration of the two perspectives-actual and expected product lifetimes-should prove helpful in optimizing product lifetimes. We proposed different definitions of expected product lifetimes from the consumer perspective and then investigated consumer expectations of the product lifetimes of consumer durables according to these definitions. Several types of EEE were examined as case studies, and questionnaire surveys were conducted. We found that expected lifetimes varied according to the definition used. Expected product lifetimes should be measured by using clearly defined terms to analyse the gaps between actual product lifetimes and consumer expectations.