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Consumer Role New Consumption Practices and Changes in the Consumer Role

In recent years, collaborative economy practices have been boosted substantially by the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of digital networks. As collaboration between strangers has been greatly facilitated by the emergence of intermediary platforms, new proactive consumer practices such as sharing, making or crowdfunding have been able to penetrate into the mainstream. Yet, the consumer policy implications of this societal transformation have not been an explicit subject of research so far. For example, the new role of consumers in collaborative economics and the implications of changing roles for consumer policies and strategies have not been adequately addressed either conceptually or empirically.

In order to close this gap, the research project "Consumer Roles" develops a basic theoretical foundation of the role of the consumer and explores the new consumption practices of making, sharing and crowdfunding. At the core of our interest are the expectation patterns and behavioral motives that guide these practices. What role does self-experience play in the new consumption practices? How is the relationship between consumers and products changing? How important is the community within which collaborations unfold? Building on the conceptual and empirical research on these new consumption practices, the project proposes strategic implications for consumer policy. Thus, it provides a fundamentally solid, exploratory-supported orientation guide for the consumer policy debate in relation to the challenges posed by the proliferation of these highly proactive consumption practices.

IÖW Project Team