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When your shop says #lessismore. Online communication interventions for clothing sufficiency

To keep human resource consumption within planetary boundaries, individual consumption levels need to drop. We therefore investigated whether online communications interventions, especially on social media, can foster sufficiency in the clothing domain. In two experiments, consumption reduction and prolonging the lifetime of clothes were promoted. In the first study, we conducted an online field intervention. All participants, both in the experimental and the control groups, reduced their clothing consumption. Hence, the intervention itself did not change clothing consumption levels. The second study was a laboratory experiment with sufficiency-promoting social media communication. Sufficiency-promoting communication led to more sufficiency behaviour compared to neutral and consumption-promoting communication. This effect was mediated by a lower desire to acquire new clothes (aspiration level). Peer endorsement of the communication by other social media users did not strengthen the communication’s effect. However, the attitude towards the sender and the communication was more positive in the sufficiency-promoting communication than under the other two conditions. Although the field intervention was not effective, social media posts could increase sufficiency behaviour in the short-term. To test long-term effects, further experimental studies are needed.

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