Digitalised product-service systems: Effects on consumers' attitudes and experiences

V. S. C. Tunn*, E. A. van den Hende, N. M. P. Bocken, J. P. L. Schoormans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Access-based product-service systems (AB-PSS) allow consumers to use products for a fee and might support the transition towards a circular economy. This type of business model could decrease negative impacts of consumption by reducing the number of products needed; either by extending products' lifetimes or by intensifying the use of products. Many AB-PSS in consumer markets are highly digitalised; they utilise digital platforms, have sensors embedded in the products, and rely on users' smartphones. To better understand how digitalisation impacts consumers' attitudes and use experiences in mobility AB-PSS, we applied a mixed-methods approach consisting of a survey (n = 47) and interviews (n =10). Our findings suggest that many short-term AB-PSS, such as bicycle sharing, owe their recent success to digitalisation. Further, consumers' digital confidence influences their attitude towards short-term AB-PSS. During the use of AB-PSS, users value the convenience and flexibility enabled by the digital aspects. Digitalisation also made short-term mobility AB-PSS susceptible to disruptions because the AB-PSS rely on the functioning of many digital aspects. Users seem to dislike phoning customer service and increasingly depend on their smartphones. We also provide a brief outlook of what 5G mobile networks might imply for mobility AB-PSS. With this paper, we contribute a consumer perspective on the digitalisation of services. Our findings help service designers, user experience designers, and app developers to design digitalised AB-PSS for consumer markets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105045
Number of pages8
JournalResources Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Circular business model
  • Circular economy
  • Consumer behavior
  • Digitalization
  • Shared mobility
  • Product-service system (PSS)

Cite this