| 16.09.2022

Doctoral defence: Consumers want more than just products

These days, consumers have access to practically all music imaginable, thanks to smartphones and services such as Spotify, and the shelves of corner shops are filled with food and drink from all over the world.

At the same time, there are signs that the easy access characterizing today’s consumer culture does not always correspond to the needs and wishes of consumers. Rather, some consumption trends seem to provoke counterreactions from consumers.

In his doctoral thesis, Sebastian Schauman has investigated two such reactions, namely the comeback of vinyl records and the growing popularity of craft beer.

“By investigating consumers’ counterreactions to, for example, mass production, standardization, and an increasingly technology dependent consumer culture, we can improve our understanding of how consumers relate to products,” Schauman explains.

In his thesis, Schauman explains why consumers in many cases seek alternatives that at first may appear to be cumbersome and irrational.

“An increasing number of consumers choose more resource-intensive and time-consuming consumption alternatives, and in many cases they become enthusiastic advocates for these alternatives. A good example of this is the comeback of the vinyl record. Compared to streamed music, vinyl consumption offers a more engaged and active consumer experience. This provides consumers with a sense of purpose and meaningfulness.”

In a consumer culture where everything continually becomes more easily accessible, demand grows for more engaging and meaningful alternatives. This implies that, in many cases, it is worthwhile to consider how to activate consumers and give them the option to delve into the cultural origin of goods. This enables enterprises to improve their customer relationships and the cultural impact of their brand.

“Even if there always exists a need for simple and smooth solutions, it is important to remember that consumers are also curious and have a need to feel involved. Consumption alternatives that give the consumer an opportunity to develop and increase their knowledge generate commitment that benefits companies,” Schauman continues.

You can read the whole thesis here.

Sebastian Schauman will defend his doctoral thesis on Tuesday, 20 September at 12:00 EEST at Hanken School of Economics as well as remotely.
You can attend the defence online by clicking on this Teams-link.

Opponent: Associate Professor Elina Närvänen, Tammerfors universitet
Custos: Professor Kristina Heinonen, Hanken School of Economics