Lifestyles and Innovation Adoption: The Case of Energy Service

Zero Emissions Car by IMechE (380 x 200)Theme: Diffusion of Innovation

Dates: 2006-2013

Research Team: Ritsuko Ozaki, Isabel Shaw

We examined consumer values and lifestyle to understand innovation adoption

The project extended the existing understanding of consumer innovation adoption by looking at the effect of consumer values and lifestyles, thus providing broader explanations for adoption behaviour. The objectives of the project were:

  • To analyse how consumers come to adopt environmentally-friendly technologies and services
  • To understand the characteristics and patterns of energy technology/service consumption
  • To explore how adoption might change consumers’ lifestyles and consumption behaviours
  • To identify policy/marketing implications.

Using three case studies, this research project offered a detailed analysis of consumer innovation adoption behaviours – both adoption decision-making behaviour and the interaction with the adopted innovations. The team also used the traditional adoption-diffusion models, but also the consumption and lifestyle literature. This unique approach explores how consumers perceive the relative advantages and benefits (including status and image) and compatibility with their values, norms and identities and helps to understand how consumers persuade themselves to adopt a certain innovation. Similarly, this approach allowed us to investigate how consumers actually use the adopted innovations in their everyday life and how they develop new daily practices around the innovations. We conducted both quantitative and in-depth qualitative analyses to unpack consumers’ perceptions and understandings of sustainable innovations.

Project Outputs

We developed a conceptual framework using British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) data to explore general trends in energy consumption in relation to lifestyles, and identified social structure in consumer behaviour in energy use. This project had three case studies:

  • Green electricity tariffs including focus groups, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Work from this project has been published in Business, Strategy and the Environment and European Business Review.
  • Hybrid cars with Toyota GB including questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with dealers and owners to understand purchase motivation and use. Papers from this project have been published in Science, Technology and Human Values and Energy Policy.
  • Energy-sustainable technologies in housing with Southern Housing Group including interviews with residents and professionals to understand expectations and use. A paper from this project has been submitted to a leading journal.

Academic Dissemination: We also organised symposia on energy innovation, at the Academy of Management, and two Symposia on Innovation in Energy Systems with the University of Tokyo. We also featured in an interview with The Times (Less is More When it Comes to Saving – 15.09.09)

ISC Banner