The meanings of collective experiences in alternative marketplaces: Case Cleaning Day
School of Business | Master's thesis
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AbstractOBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY Consumer preferences are slowly undergoing a transformation that can be seen in what and how people consume. Goods are more and more shared, bartered and exchanged in the marketplaces that are "peer-to-peer", organized by consumers for consumers (Botsman & Rogers 2010, p. xv). The goal of this thesis is to understand the collective nature of alternative mode of acquisition in the context of peer-to-peer marketplaces wherein consumers exchange secondhand goods in return for monetary compensation. Cleaning Day recycling event serves as an example of these kinds of peer-to-peer marketplaces where people don't only exchange products but also many personal and social meanings that they attach to their items and participation. Previous research has focused on descriptive and behavioral aspects of alternative consumption and the purpose is to move beyond this to study experiential elements and the meaning creation process. METHODOLOGY This thesis is qualitative and interpretative in nature. Five participants of Cleaning Day event were inter-viewed and the interviews formed the primary empirical data of this study. Online research was used as a secondary source of information. Moreover, the approach is existential-phenomenological and instead of only explaining the experiences of participants, the purpose of the study is to understand as they emerge or as "they're lived" (Thompson et al. 1989). FINDINGS The key finding of the research is that consumption in alternative marketplaces has multiple meanings and these meanings are both personal and social. This study recognizes six dimensions of consumers' collective experiences in alternative marketplaces that are 1) construct of "good deals", 2) escape from everyday life, 3) control, 4) authenticity, 5) trust and 6) social connections. According to findings, utility seems to be as desirable as hedonistic benefits of the experience. Still, valuing utility and longevity could also mean that consumers are willing to re-evaluate the role of possessions in their life and shift to buy only what they actually need and borrow or rent the goods they only need occasionally. The findings also indicate that social connections are gaining foot in consumption experiences.
alternative marketplaces, collaborative consumption, flea markets, consumer tribes, consumption experiences, meaning creation, phenomenology