Ethical Consumer Behavior: Does Second-Hand Consumption Influence Satisfaction with Life?

Adrienne Steffen


What do we really need to live a happy life? Second-hand consumption has been proposed to be a lifestyle choice which is done voluntarily (Steffen, 2017, p. 204) and could increase peoples’ life satisfaction. Besides economic motives, many people consume second-hand for ethical reasons, e.g., to distance themselves from the consumption system, for ecological reasons, social reasons or have hedonic motivations (Guiot & Roux, 2010). Some consumers simply want to shop clever (Gregson & Crewe, 2003, p. 11), started to reduce their consumption or re-use to reduce their ecological footprint (Waight, 2013).

This study assesses the relationship between second-hand consumption motivation and satisfaction with life in a structural equation model. 203 Germans participated in the online study and evaluated their motivation for second-hand consumption based on the scale of Guiot and Roux (2010). Satisfaction with life was measured with Diener, Emmons and Griffin’s (1985) Satisfaction of life scale which has been translated into German by Janke and Glöckner-Rist (2014). The findings indicate that consumers primarily buy second-hand to hunt for treasures, to find original products, to engage socially and for ethical reasons. Economic motives were also dominant. The study shows that second-hand consumption motivation does not influence satisfaction with life.

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