Consumer Adoption and Post-Adoption Behaviour

Light bulbResearchers: Dr Ritsuko Ozaki, Dr Isabel Shaw

This stream of research is a part of cross-college BP Urban Systems programme and focuses on consumers in relation to the adoption of energy sustainable innovations. It includes two studies looking on pre- and post-adoption behaviour. The study of pre-adoption behaviour focuses on adoption decision making processes and factors driving the adoption of a certain innovation; and the study of post-adoption explores the interaction between users and adopted innovation and the integration of these innovations in consumers’ everyday life.

The study of green electricity investigated drivers and barriers in consumer adoption of green tariffs and identified lessons for the industry and policy-makers. We found that consuemrs who are generaly sympathetic to environmetnal issues are not necessarily adopting green tariffs, due to lack of strong social norms and personal relevance, inconvenience of switching over, uncertainty about the quality of green electricity and lack of accurate information.

The Prius study, in collaboration with Toyota GB, has analysed (1) consumers’ purchase motivations and (2) their experience of driving a hybrid vehicle. The study consists of two stages: (1) a quantitative mail-based questionnaire survey with the Prius purchasers and (2) semi-structured interviews with the Prius owners. The first phase answers the question why consumers chose to adopt a more expensive hybrid car rather than a cheaper and more familiar conventional car, and describes the structure/dimension of consumer motivations. The second phase focuses on the practice of driving a Prius, and explores intended and unintended effects of driving a hybrid car.

The study of energy sustainable technologies in the home will be conducted in collaboration with Southern Housing Group, one of the largest housing associations in England. This study focuses on the post-implementation phase of research, looking at the social housing sector residents and their use of energy sustainable technologies in their homes, such as solar photovoltaic and biomass CHP. The study has three components: (1) the first part will explore how residents interact with these technologies, incorporate them into their everyday life and develop new routines/practices around the technologies, and derives lessons for housing providers. (2) The second part will investigate how the housing association designs, develops and manages those technologies. (3) The third part will look into the meaning of social interventions (i.e. instralling sustainable technologies in people’s homes) and behavioural changes of residents.

Future development

Energy-related behaviour is one of the most important aspects of the worldwide campaign for reduction of GHG emissions. Therefore the adoption of energy sustainable innovation together with the post-adoption use behaviour is a challenging, but beneficial stream of research. The group will further develop the understanding of this phenomenon.