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The Infinite Wardrobe: Female Consumers’ Value Perceptions Regarding Collaborative Consumption of Apparel

The Infinite Wardrobe: Female Consumers’ Value Perceptions Regarding Collaborative Consumption of... Understanding the potential factors and underlying mechanisms to engage in collaborative consumption practices has become a significant concern for academics and practitioners. However, collaborative con- sumption research is still considered in its early stage; thus, further research is needed. Based on this need, this study extends existing research by providing empirical support for the importance of value perceptions and empathy on female consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative consump- tion in the apparel industry. This study also shows a significant moderating effect for materialism and the need for uniqueness in the collaborative consumption of apparel. These findings are believed to be particu- larly valuable in contributing to the broader literature on collaborative consumption and guiding, especially practitioners, to develop strategic tactics for motivating consumers to engage in collaborative consumption practices. Keywords: Collaborative consumption, value, empathy, materialism, need for uniqueness, apparel JEL classification: M00, M31 1. Introduction Since the early days of marketing thought, the notion of exchange has been considered as one of its Kübra Sirkeci, PhD Student cornerstones (Bagozzi 1975). However, especially in Department of Business Administration the last decade, a new form of exchange has gained Kadir Has University momentum, and collaborative consumption has been E-mail: kubrassirkeci@stu.khas.edu.tr ORCID number: 0000-0002-9867-7030 introduced as an alternative to traditional ownership- based consumption (Akbar 2019). Powered by the advances in the information technology that en- Esra Arıkan, PhD (corresponding author) able consumers to connect with other consumers Assistant Professor through various online platforms (Hamari, Sjöklint, Faculty of Business Istanbul Bilgi University and Ukkonen 2016; Kim and Jin 2020), this new form of collaborative exchange has offered consumers the E-mail: esra.arikan@bilgi.edu.tr chance to have access to a wide range of goods and Address: Istanbul Bilgi University Eski Silahtaraga services without the need for purchase or ownership Elektrik Santrali Kazım Karabekir Cad. No: 2/13 (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). Even if some of the well- 34060 Eyupsultan Istanbul, Turkey ORCID number: 0000-0001-9016-1382 known collaborative platforms were started earlier (e.g., Airbnb in 2008), such platforms have become a Copyright © 2021 by the School of Economics and Business Sarajevo 150 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL global trend, especially after May 2010. It was when Third, since it is not possible to generalize the findings Rachel Botsman, in a TEDx talk, introduced the notion on consumers’ value perceptions, given that the influ- of collaborative consumption as an emerging eco- ence of value perceptions may change depending nomic and cultural force that would reinvent the idea on the industry/context (Park and Armstrong 2017), of consumption (Herbert and Collin-Lachaud 2017; this study focuses on the collaborative consumption Parguel, Lunardo, and Benoit-Moreau 2017). practices in the apparel industry. These practices Collaborative consumption has turned out to be have recently gained popularity, especially among a vital element of the global economy. Thus, under- female consumers. Even if the research on collabora- standing the potential factors and underlying mecha- tive consumption of apparel is still limited, it appears nisms to engage in collaborative consumption prac- as a promising research area. Through these practices, tices rather than prefer traditional ownership models consumers may have access to an infinite wardrobe has become a significant concern for both academics full of various new and unique fashion products that and practitioners (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; would otherwise be inaccessible for them (Balck and Benoit et al. 2017; Milanova and Maas 2017; Park and Cracau 2015; Lang and Armstrong 2018). Female con- Armstrong 2019a). Accordingly, there has been an ex- sumers are specifically chosen as suitable respondents ponential growth in the number of studies conducted for this study as female consumers are commonly be- in this stream of research (Hossain 2020). However, lieved to be more involved in fashion products (Lang these studies have mostly been conceptual or quali- and Armstrong 2018) and sometimes even considered tative, and the studies that empirically investigate the the over-consumers of fashion (McNeill and Venter factors influential on consumers’ attitudes toward and 2019). Finally, this study introduces two personality participation in such collaborative practices have been traits- materialism and the need for uniqueness- as somewhat limited in number (Lee et al. 2018; Zhang boundary conditions and examines whether and how et al. 2019). Realizing this gap in the extant literature, these traits moderate female consumers’ responses to some researchers have recently diverted their interest collaborative consumption of apparel. Even if there to empirically testing different types of value percep - exist some studies that generally investigate the im- tions as potential drivers for engaging in collaborative pact of materialism and the need for uniqueness in consumption (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, the context of collaborative consumption (Akbar, Kožo, and Berberović 2019). However, collaborative Mai, and Hoffmann 2016; Lang and Armstrong 2018; consumption research is still considered in its early Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018), these stud- stage (Lee et al. 2018; Iran, Geiger, and Schrader 2019); ies seem to be still limited in number. Moreover, in thus, further research is needed. It is also important to these studies, mainly the direct effects of these per - note that the recent Covid-19 pandemic has radically sonality traits on consumers’ attitudes toward col- affected the collaborative consumption dynamics and laborative consumption and behavioral intentions to had an economically devastating effect on many col- engage in such practices are tested, and conflicting laborative consumption firms and platforms (Dolnicar findings have been reported. Thus, the findings on and Zare 2020; Batool et al. 2021; Degli Esposti, Mortara, the effect of these personality traits are believed to and Roberti 2021). Still, it is argued that the Covid -19 be particularly valuable in contributing to the broader pandemic might indeed be an opportunity for the col- literature on collaborative consumption and guiding, laborative consumption industry to recalibrate (Hossain especially practitioners, to develop strategic tactics 2021) and return to its original nature that focuses on for motivating consumers to engage in collaborative experiences and values (Zhang et al. 2021). consumption. Based on this need for further research, this study aims to extend existing research in various ways. First of all, by testing the effects of three types of value 2. Theoretical background perceptions- utilitarian, hedonic and symbolic- on and hypotheses consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consump- tion and their behavioral intentions to engage in 2.1. Collaborative consumption such practices, this study provides further empirical support for the importance of value perceptions in The notion of collaborative consumption has received the context of collaborative consumption. Second, as increasing emphasis in academia through the years. Hwang and Griffiths (2017) emphasized, this study in- However, despite its popularity as a fertile area of re- corporates empathy as an important emotional factor search, the literature is still limited and highly frag- to fully understand consumers’ attitudes and behav- mented due to a lack of clarity about the definition ioral intentions toward collaborative consumption. and scope of collaborative consumption (Barbosa and SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 151 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL Fonseca 2019). In their landmark book on collabora- the increasing consumer trust in e-commerce and on- tive consumption, Botsman and Rogers (2010) define line payments (Altinay and Taheri 2019). The various collaborative consumption in a way to include a broad online platforms that act as digital intermediaries not range of traditional market activities such as “tradi- only enable consumers to easily connect and share tional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, their underutilized assets such as goods and services gifting and swapping” (p. xv). However, in his highly but also significantly decrease the transaction costs of cited study on collaborative consumption, Belk (2014) matching suppliers with those consumers (Edbring, criticizes the definition provided by Botsman and Lehner, and Mont 2016; Armstrong and Park 2017; Rogers (2010) for being “too broad and mixes market- Benoit et al. 2017; Lee 2020). place exchange, gift-giving and sharing” and define These developments have contributed to collabor- collaborative consumption as “people coordinating ative consumption’s growth in scale and scope, espe- the acquisition and distribution of a resource for a fee cially over the last decade (Böcker and Meelen 2017). or other compensation” (p. 1597). In response, other During this time, various collaborative consumption studies propose their definition of the concept (Barnes platforms such as Airbnb, Uber and Blablacar have and Mattsson 2016; Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen set themselves as successful examples for this new 2016). This diversity of definitions also makes it harder form of consumption and gained popularity among to establish clear boundaries between the concepts; consumers (Martin 2016; Hallem, Ben Arfi, and Teulon thus, various related concepts such as “collaborative 2020). Today it is no longer possible to regard col- consumption” (Botsman and Rogers 2010; Möhlmann laborative consumption as a niche trend, given that 2015), “sharing” (Belk 2014), “access-based consump- millions of collaborative consumers exist, with some tion” (Bardhi and Eckhardt 2012; Lawson et al. 2016), even not being aware that they are a part of this col- “commercial sharing systems” (Lamberton and Rose laborative community, and famous examples of this 2012) or “sharing economy” (Hamari, Sjöklint, and fast-growing trend are prevalent, with Airbnb getting Ukkonen 2016) are used interchangeably in the litera- bookings almost every two seconds on a single day ture while referring to closely related and sometimes (Zalega 2018). The current situation proves that Time even the same practices. Still, collaborative consump- magazine was right when they claimed in 2011 that tion is the one that is widely used among all these collaborative consumption would be one of the ten (Ianole-Călin, Francioni, Masili, Druică, and Goschin ideas to change the world (Kim and Jin 2020). Since 2020). then, investors have considered collaborative con- Many believe that the recent economic crisis and sumption as the new “mega trend” and invested lots the financial problems that follow have significantly of money in these collaborative start-ups (Vella 2012; contributed to collaborative consumption as a viable Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; Johnson, Mun, alternative that challenges the traditional economy and Chae 2016). It is estimated that the collaborative (Abbes, Hallem, and Taga 2020). One of the most im- consumption market will have a volume of more than portant benefits of collaborative consumption is re - $335 billion by 2025 (PwC 2015). lated to cost savings (Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović Unfortunately, collaborative consumption practic- 2019), and it is not surprising that many consumers es have generally been hit hard by the Covid-19 pan- who cannot afford to buy and own products opt to demic as consumers have become highly reluctant collaborate with others (Barbosa and Fonseca 2019). to share anything like goods, services, or spaces with Also, the potential social benefits associated with col- others due to the fear and anxiety they feel because laborative consumption are quite influential in terms of the virus (Hossain 2021; Zhu and Liu 2021). Thus, of increasing its popularity. Nowadays, consumers are many collaborative consumption platforms have more sensitive toward the environmental and societal started experiencing severe economic problems with problems such as hyper-consumption, resource deple- the outbreak of the pandemic. The accommodation tion, pollution and social alienation, and they consider and transportation industries are the two industries collaborative consumption as a new socioeconomic particularly affected by Covid-19 (Hossain 2021). For model that may alleviate these problems to some ex- example, Airbnb and Uber have faced a significant tent (Botsman and Rogers 2010; Prothero et al. 2011; decline in their bookings, and both their revenues Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; Roos and Hahn and share prices have fallen drastically (Farmaki et 2019). Still, these are not the only factors that moti- al. 2020; Batool et al. 2021; Zhu and Liu 2021). Thus, vate consumers toward collaborative consumption. these companies have been forced to take measures Collaborative consumption is undeniably facilitated such as new cleaning protocols requiring a specific by the rapid advances in information and communica- waiting time between the bookings and special anti- tion technologies, especially mobile technologies, and virus cleaning products (Farmaki et al. 2020). On the 152 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL contrary, it is interesting that the Covid-19 pandemic otherwise be impossible for them to afford and thus, has affected some industries favorably, such that save money (Lang and Armstrong 2018; Park and bike-sharing has become a virus-free and thus safer Armstrong 2019a). The accelerated pace of apparel alternative to car sharing (Degli Esposti, Mortara and consumption also creates a growing concern for sus- Roberti 2021; Zhu and Liu 2021). Also, there has been tainability as both the throwaway culture and the an increase in demand for collaborative consumption over-consumption have a detrimental effect on the platforms associated with food delivery and entertain- natural environment through increased textile waste ment services (Batool et al. 2021; Hossain 2021). (Lang and Armstrong 2018; McNeill and Venter 2019; Pena-Vinces, Solakis, and Guillen 2020). With the piles of discarded clothes ending up in landfills, the apparel industry is the second industry that pollutes the envi- 2.2. Collaborative consumption in the ronment the most (Henninger, Bürklin, and Niinimaki apparel industry 2019). Thus, collaborative apparel consumption is Until now, collaborative consumption has been stud- highly valued as a sustainability-oriented business ied across different contexts such as transportation model among retailers and consumers (Pena-Vinces, (Bardhi and Eckhardt 2012), accommodation (Cheng Solakis, and Guillen 2020). and Foley 2018) and toys (Ozanne and Ballantine Collaborative apparel consumption is not a new- 2010). However, academic research on collaborative born trend as people have been sharing their ap- consumption in the apparel context has been relative- parel among their friends and family members for ly limited, parallel to its rather slow adoption in prac- many years (Johnson, Mun, and Chae 2016). Yet, the tice (Pedersen and Netter 2015; Park and Armstrong advances in internet technology accompanied by the 2017; Pantano and Stylos 2020). Consumers’ reluc- creation of online platforms that enable consumers to tance to adopt collaborative consumption practices in connect with others easily have given the consumers the apparel context is partly due to the hedonic nature the chance to share their apparel with other people of apparel and might be explained based on the en- or even companies (Iran and Schrader 2017; Pena- dowment effect (Henninger et al. 2021). The endow - Vinces, Solakis, and Guillen 2020). Today collaborative ment effect argues that, especially in hedonic goods, consumption of apparel takes two distinct forms, and the sense of possessing a good enhances its attrac- apparel might be sold or exchanged via rental service tiveness, and as once possessed, it becomes associat- platforms (e.g., Rent the Runway) or peer-to-peer ed with this person’s self (Dommer and Swaminathan platforms (e.g., Poshmark) (Jin and Shin 2020; Kim 2013; Park and Armstrong 2019b). Apparels are often and Jin 2020). These collaborative consumption forms used for self-enhancement, and for consumers, it is are quite popular, especially among female consum- crucial to have such a solid and self-enhancing bond ers. Female consumers’ interest in apparel sharing is between the apparel they possess and their self-iden- not surprising given that female consumers are very tity (Park and Armstrong 2019b). Yet, as there is no much involved with fashion, and sometimes they are ownership in collaborative consumption practices, even considered over-consumers (McNeill and Venter this self-enhancing bond between the person and the 2019). Nevertheless, it is also possible to explain this possession is not realized. In this respect, the endow- interest of female consumers based on their increas- ment effect might act as a potential barrier for col- ing concerns regarding the environment and the ben- laborative consumption, explaining consumers’ reluc- efits collaborative consumption offers in this respect. tance to adopt collaborative consumption practices in In the extant literature on collaborative consumption, the apparel industry (Park and Armstrong 2019b). there exist studies highlighting the need to focus on Recently, there has been a significant upsurge of possible gender differences (del Mar Alonso-Almeida interest in the collaborative consumption of apparel 2019). These studies argue that women generally among researchers and consumers (Becker-Leifhold show a higher environmental motivation for engag- 2018; Iran, Geiger, and Schrader 2019; Park and ing in collaborative consumption than men (Böcker Armstrong 2019a). The underlying factors contribut- and Meelen 2017). ing to this interest are mainly related to the fast-paced It is true that with the outbreak of the Covid-19 apparel consumption that necessitates a continu- pandemic, especially the demand for fashion rental ous investment of money in apparel purchases and services, as a form of collaborative consumption, has the difficulties faced by the recent economic crises decreased significantly due to the rising hygiene and (Pantano and Stylos 2020). One key benefit of col- contamination concerns among consumers (Kim and laborative consumption is that consumers have ac- Jin 2021). Even the idea of using apparel that was pre- cess to an infinite wardrobe of apparel that would viously touched by others is very annoying for many SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 153 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL people since it carries a high risk of contamination behavior (Vinson, Scott, and Lamont 1977). As Homer despite careful product cleaning (Baek and Oh 2021). and Hahle (1988) proposed in their value-attitude-be- Thus, nowadays, consumers might be more reluctant havior hierarchy, values affect attitudes, which in turn to engage in collaborative apparel consumption. affect behavior. This hierarchy has been especially However, some fashion companies have already start- referenced in some studies on collaborative consump- ed offering attractive solutions to overcome the prob - tion to support the expected effect of consumers’ val- lems associated with the pandemic and increase the ue perceptions on their attitudes toward collaborative demand for collaborative apparel consumption in the consumption (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, next forecast period (Future Marketing Insights 2021). Kožo, and Berberović 2019). In the literature, many Besides, when the economic effects of the Covid-19 studies investigate the impact of different value per - pandemic on consumers’ lives are considered, it is ceptions on the attitudes toward collaborative con- argued that more consumers will engage in such col- sumption (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; Hamari, laborative consumption practices (Zhu and Liu 2021). Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; McNeill and Venter 2019). According to a recent market research report, the Even if each type of value perceptions’ significance may market valuation for the global online clothing rental change depending on the collaborative consumption market in 2021 is around 1.9 billion US dollars, and the context and the sample used in that study, utilitarian, market is expected to grow further during the fore- hedonic, and symbolic values usually influence con- casted period of 2021-2031 with a compound annual sumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consumption. growth rate of 11 % (Future Marketing Insights 2021). In most studies, especially the utilitarian value of collaborative consumption in the form of monetary/ economic benefits has been highlighted as the most critical determinant of consumers’ attitudes (Barnes 2.3. Values and collaborative consumption and Mattsson 2017; Benoit et al. 2017). Through col- Developing a better understanding of the drivers for laborative consumption, it is possible to have access adopting collaborative consumption is crucial for the to goods and services that would otherwise be hard success of these practices. Thus, this has been an is- to purchase at a lower price, and such immediate sue of significant interest for researchers (Lindblom, cost-savings motivate consumers toward this type of Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018). Within this context, consumption by positively affecting their attitudes consumers’ value perceptions have been explic- (Roos and Hahn 2019). Although monetary/economic itly studied as they play a crucial role in terms af- benefits are claimed to be necessary but not sufficient fecting consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative for motivating sharing behavior (Bucher, Fieseler, consumption and motivating them to engage in and Lutz 2016), it is generally agreed that consumers’ this type of consumption (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz utilitarian value perceptions positively affect their atti- 2016; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2019). Value tudes toward collaborative consumption (Hwang and perceptions are generally classified into three main Griffiths 2017). Even if not many studies are conducted types: utilitarian, hedonic, and symbolic (Hwang and in the apparel context, in their recent study, Baek and Griffiths 2017), and these types correspond closely to Oh (2021) investigate how the different values associ- the motivations identified by the self-determination ated with fashion rental services affect attitudes. Their theory (Deci and Ryan 1985; Deci, Koestner, and Ryan findings reveal that economic value is vital in enhanc - 1999). As an extrinsic motivation, utilitarian value is ing consumers’ attitudes toward fashion rental services. concerned with the utilitarian benefits of collabora- The effect of utilitarian value on behavioral in- tive consumption, which are not limited to but mainly tentions to engage in collaborative consumption cover monetary/economic gains (Hamari, Sjöklint, practices has also been of interest to researchers. For and Ukkonen 2016; Ianole-Călin, Francioni, Masili, example, Hallem, Ben Arfi, and Teulon (2020) have Druică, and Goschin 2020). On the other hand, both conducted interviews with consumers to gain a deep- hedonic and symbolic values provide intrinsic motiva- er insight into collaborative consumption and found tion for engaging in collaborative consumption as he- that it is mainly the economic benefits that motivate donic value is related to the fun, excitement, and joy consumers to engage in such practices. Other stud- experienced during collaborative consumption, while ies also support that the idea of saving money and symbolic value is related to altruistic or social benefits being able to afford something that would otherwise based on environmentally friendly and sustainable be unaffordable constitutes a key reason for engaging consumption (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). in collaborative consumption (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Values are essential for marketing literature as Ukkonen 2016; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2019; values are known to affect consumers’ attitudes and Arteaga-Sánchez et al. 2020). The limited research on 154 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL collaborative apparel consumption also reveals that this field reveal that hedonic value generally has one saving money is the most frequently cited motivation of the strongest influences on consumers’ attitudes for engaging in online apparel renting and resale (Park and behavioral intentions (Lang, Seo, and Liu 2019; and Armstrong 2019a). Based on these studies, it is Baek and Oh 2021). Thus, it is hypothesized that: hypothesized that: H2a: Hedonic value positively influences female H1a: Utilitarian value positively influences female consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative con- consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative con- sumption of apparel. sumption of apparel. H2b: Hedonic value positively influences female H1b: Utilitarian value positively influences female consumers’ behavioral intentions to engage in col- consumers’ behavioral intentions to engage in col- laborative consumption of apparel. laborative consumption of apparel. In the context of collaborative consumption, Having access to various choices that would symbolic value is also believed to be very important. generally be harder or sometimes even impossible As previously stated, symbolic value is associated to afford also provides consumers with the hedonic with altruistic or social benefits based on consumers’ value associated with feelings of fun, enjoyment and greater concern for the environment and awareness entertainment (Hossain 2020). According to market of sustainability issues (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). research conducted by PwC (2015), 63% of consum- Every day more people realize that collaborative ers think that collaborative consumption is more fun consumption might be quite environmentally ben- compared to traditional consumption. Apart from eficial in terms of promoting the reuse of products, any expectations regarding the performance conse- optimizing lifecycles, and reducing environmental quences, even the idea of engaging in collaborative waste by decreasing the need for new products consumption is considered enjoyable as it allows (Piscicelli, Cooper, and Fisher 2015; Parguel, Lunardo, consumers to form new social connections (Bucher, and Benoit-Moreau 2017; Lang and Armstrong 2018; Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Lee Barbosa and Fonseca 2019). As a result, the need to in- et al. 2018). Thus, some consumers engage in collab- vestigate the effect on symbolic value consumers’ atti- orative consumption just because of the fun and the tudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative social interaction opportunities associated with this consumption has become a priority. Since acting in type of consumption (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen an environmentally friendly manner and caring about 2016). Collaborative consumption also helps consum- sustainability issues are believed to show one’s proso- ers satisfy their desire for status by allowing them to ciality and willingness to bear the costs for others, “pretend to be someone you are not for a day and symbolic value is “positioned as a part of the proso- do something that you may not otherwise get to do” cial movement” (Hwang and Griffiths 2017, p. 135). (Lawson et al. 2016, p. 2616). A careful review of the Nowadays, consumers prefer collaborative consump- extant literature reveals that these feelings of fun tion platforms to create a sustainable marketplace for and enjoyment, associated with hedonic value, play a current and future generations (Hamari, Sjöklint, and significant role in positively influencing attitudes and Ukkonen 2016). Along these lines, the effects of envi- behavioral intentions toward collaborative consump- ronmental benefits and sustainability associated with tion (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; Hwang and collaborative consumption on consumers’ attitudes Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2019; and behavioral intentions are investigated in the ex- Zhang et al. 2019; Minami, Ramos, and Bortoluzzo tant literature, and the results generally support the 2021). positive effect of environmental benefits and sustain- Given the hedonic nature of the apparel indus- ability as a strong intrinsic motivation for collaborative try, it is not surprising that hedonistic aspects drive consumption (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; collaborative apparel consumption (Becker-Leifhold Albinsson et al. 2019; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2018). Collaborative apparel consumption offers con- 2019). On the other hand, some studies claim that sumers the chance to enjoy both the outcome and the environmental benefits and sustainability are either process of building an infinite wardrobe full of choices not a strong driver for collaborative consumption or (Becker-Leifhold and Iran 2018) and even experience a do not significantly affect consumers’ attitudes and “Cinderella moment” (Pantano and Stylos 2020). Taken behavioral intentions (Möhlmann 2015; Habibi, Kim, together, this enjoyment, which is associated with he- and Laroche 2016). These conflicting findings might donic value, positively influences consumers’ attitudes be explained based on contextual differences, as the toward and behavioral intentions to engage in col- weight of environmental benefits and sustainability laborative consumption of apparel. Previous studies in will not be the same for all industries (Minami, Ramos, SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 155 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL and Bortoluzzo 2021). Nevertheless, a review of stud- value and symbolic value have a significant effect on ies conducted on collaborative consumption within empathy toward collaborative consumption practices. the apparel industry also reveals similarly conflicting Thus, it is hypothesized that: findings. While some studies show that environmen- H4a: Utilitarian value positively influences female tal benefits and sustainability are considered impor - consumers’ empathy toward collaborative con- tant drivers for collaborative apparel consumption sumption of apparel. (Armstrong et al. 2015; Pantano and Stylos 2020), oth- H4b: Hedonic value positively influences female ers show that their effect on consumers’ attitudes and consumers’ empathy toward collaborative con- behavioral intentions is either limited (Vincent and sumption of apparel. Gaur 2021) or not significant (Baek and Oh 2021). In H4c: Symbolic value positively influences female the light of these findings in prior research, this study consumers’ empathy toward collaborative con- hypothesizes that: sumption of apparel. H3a: Symbolic value positively influences female consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative con- sumption of apparel. 2.5. Empathy, attitudes and behavioral H3b: Symbolic value positively influences female intentions consumers’ behavioral intentions to engage in col- laborative consumption of apparel. In their study, Hwang and Griffiths (2017) also inves- tigate the effect of empathy on consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative con- sumption. Since the concept of empathy has not 2.4. Values and empathy been fully acknowledged within the literature on col- Another concept that may be very important in col- laborative consumption, the researchers cite other laborative consumption but has not been fully ac- studies conducted in related fields to support their knowledged is empathy. Briefly defined as “a person’s arguments. For example, Escalas and Stern (2003) ar- absorption in the feelings of another” (Escalas and gue that consumers’ attitudes toward a commercial Stern 2003, p. 567), empathy is considered a significant are very much affected by their empathy toward that factor for explaining prosocial behavior (White, Habib, commercial. Based on this study, Hwang and Griffiths and Dahl 2020). Empathy makes people adopt others’ (2017) hypothesize that consumers who feel empathy perspectives, thus motivating them to take altruistic toward collaborative consumption are more likely to actions to help those in need (Hwang and Griffiths have a more favorable attitude toward these practic- 2017). The importance of empathy and its relationship es. In a similar vein, the researchers cite some studies with prosocial behavior has been studied for a long from the fields of personality and social psychology time in developmental, social and clinical psychol- (e.g., Mehrabian and Epstein 1972; Davis et al. 1999; ogy (Eisenberg and Fabes 1990). However, the critical Graziano et al. 2007) to support their argument that role it may play in better understanding consumers’ empathy may serve as an altruistic motivation for be- attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collabora- havioral intentions toward collaborative consumption tive consumption has received only limited attention practices. The findings of Hwang and Griffiths (2017) within the literature on collaborative consumption. To support prior research as the effect of empathy on our knowledge, the earliest of these limited attempts consumers’ behavioral intentions toward collaborative is the study by Hwang and Griffiths (2017). In this consumption is found to be significant and positive. study, the researchers state that it is possible to con- Thus, it is hypothesized that: sider collaborative consumption practices as a form of H5a: Empathy toward collaborative consumption prosocial behavior since collaborative consumption of apparel positively influences female consum- is, at the same time, concerned with others’ welfare. ers’ attitudes toward collaborative consumption of Citing the study by Batson et al. (2007) within the field apparel. of social psychology, Hwang and Griffiths (2017) argue H5b: Empathy toward collaborative consumption that utilitarian, hedonic and symbolic values associ- of apparel positively influences female consumers’ ated with this form of prosocial behavior will increase behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative consumers’ empathy toward collaborative consump- consumption of apparel. tion as caring for the welfare of others generates em- pathic concern. Even if their findings do not provide As in many contexts related to consumer behavior, support for the expected relationship between utili- the relationship between consumers’ attitudes and be- tarian value and empathy, they reveal that hedonic havioral intentions toward collaborative consumption 156 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL practices has also been studied extensively in this attempts highlight some personality traits as bound- specific research stream (Barnes and Mattsson 2017; ary conditions and investigate their effect as potential Hwang and Griffiths 2017). In these studies, two inter - moderators. For example, in their study, Akbar, Mai, twined theories- the theory of reasoned action (TRA) and Hoffmann (2016) argue that the desire for unique and the theory of planned behavior (TPB)- are usually consumer products may act as a moderator. Their drawn upon to theoretically support how attitudes findings reveal that consumers with a strong desire may act as a significant predictor of behavioral inten- for unique consumer products are more likely to turn tions. According to the TRA (Ajzen and Fishbein 1980), their sharing intention into engaging in collaborative individuals’ intention to act is determined by two fac- consumption practices. tors, which are attitudes toward behavior and subjec- As this study focuses on the collaborative con- tive norms. The TPB (Ajzen 1991) is an extension of sumption of apparel, it is important to investigate the the TRA in the sense that it introduces perceived be- moderating effect of materialism and the need for havioral control as an additional third factor that may uniqueness. A review of the studies on the apparel affect behavioral intentions and subsequently lead to industry reveals that these two traits are frequently behavior. These two theories have been commonly highlighted as important for better understand- adopted by prior studies on collaborative consump- ing consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions tion to support the relationship between attitudes (Johnson, Mun, and Chae 2016; Lang and Armstrong and behavioral intentions (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; 2018). Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018; Činjarević, there exist no studies explicitly investigating the po- Kožo, and Berberović 2019; Roos and Hahn 2019). tential moderating effect of materialism and the need In some studies, the relationship between attitudes for uniqueness in the context of collaborative apparel and behavioral intentions is found to be weaker consumption. Still, the discussion on the characteris- than expected (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016). tics of these traits provides indications that both ma- Nevertheless, most of the studies conducted in the terialism and need for uniqueness may have a nega- context of collaborative apparel consumption support tive effect in the context of collaborative consumption that attitudes strongly shape behavioral intentions (Akbar, Mai, and Hoffmann 2016; Lang and Armstrong (Johnson, Mun, and Chae 2016; Becker-Leifhold 2018; 2018; Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018). Baek and Oh 2021). Thus, it is hypothesized that: For materialistic consumers, the apparel they wear H6: Female consumers’ attitudes toward collabora- is essential for impression management since it may tive consumption of apparel positively influence reflect their social status and success (Becker-Leifhold their behavioral intentions to engage in collabora- 2018). It is also important for these consumers to own tive consumption of apparel. this apparel as ownership of products is at the center of their lives (Lang and Armstrong 2018). However, due to the absence of permanent ownership in col- laborative consumption, materialistic consumers 2.6. Moderating effect of materialism and might show resistance to collaborative consumption need for uniqueness of apparel as they do not favor giving up the own- Consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consump- ership of their perfectly good apparel (Akbar, Mai, tion and behavioral intentions to engage in such and Hoffmann 2016; Lang and Armstrong 2018). collaborative practices may differ according to con- Consumers with a high need for uniqueness might sumers’ different personality traits. In the extant lit - also show some resistance to collaborative consump- erature, a group of studies highlights the critical role tion of apparel. Even if collaborative consumption that personality traits such as materialism and the platforms provide these consumers with an infinite need for uniqueness may play in collaborative con- wardrobe, giving them the chance to keep up with sumption (Akbar, Mai, and Hoffmann 2016; Davidson, the latest fashion trends at an affordable cost, there is Habibi, and Laroche 2018; Lang and Armstrong 2018; the risk of wearing similar apparel as others and not Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018). These stud- standing out from the crowd (Lang and Armstrong ies generally examine these traits as potential drivers 2018). that directly affect collaborative consumption atti- In light of these findings in prior research, the ef- tudes and behavioral intentions; however, there is no fect of the different types of value perceptions on con- consensus in their findings. Thus, as fertile research sumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward ground, further studies are highly needed to under- collaborative consumption is expected to be weaker stand better the role of these personality traits in col- for consumers scoring high on materialism and the laborative consumption. Based on this need, very few need for uniqueness. Otherwise stated, we expect that SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 157 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL materialism and the need for uniqueness will have a hedonic value, and three items for symbolic value) negative moderating effect on the impact of value and the four items measuring empathy were all taken perceptions on consumers’ attitudes and behavioral from Hwang and Griffiths (2017). Consumers’ attitude intentions toward collaborative consumption. toward collaborative consumption was also measured H7: Materialism negatively moderates (weakens) by the four items adopted from Hwang and Griffiths the effect that value perceptions (utilitarian, he - (2017), while consumers’ behavioral intention to en- donic and symbolic) have on female consumers’ gage in collaborative consumption was measured (a) attitudes toward collaborative consumption of by the two items adapted from Lamberton and Rose apparel and (b) behavioral intentions to engage in (2012). Of the two personality traits used as modera- collaborative consumption of apparel. tors, materialism was measured through a four-item H8: The need for uniqueness negatively moder- scale from Lang and Armstrong (2018). The need for ates (weakens) the effect that value perceptions uniqueness was measured through a three-item scale (utilitarian, hedonic and symbolic) have on fe- from Mazodier and Merunka (2014). These two scales male consumers’ (a) attitudes toward collaborative were the shortened versions of the original scales consumption of apparel and (b) behavioral inten- developed by Richins (2004) and Tian and McKenzie tions to engage in collaborative consumption of (2001), respectively. Since the original measurement apparel. items were all in English, a back-translation process was applied to translate the measurement items into The conceptual model shown in Figure 1 is pro- Turkish. In the last part of the questionnaire, demo- posed based on the existing literature. graphic information regarding the respondents, such as age, marital status, education, personal monthly income and working status, was collected. All items except demographic information were measured us- 3. Research methodology ing five-point Likert or semantic differential scales. 3.1. Measures For ensuring the clarity of measurement items, a pilot All the measurement items were derived from ex- test was conducted using a convenience sample of 12 tant literature and adapted to the research context. graduate students, and the necessary revisions were The items measuring the different value percep - made based on their feedback. tions (three items for utilitarian value, three items for Figure 1. Conceptual model Value Perceptions H4a, H4b, H4c Empathy Utilitarian Value Behavioral Intention to H5b H5a Engage Hedonic Value H1a, H2a, H3a Symbolic Value Attitude H6 H7a, H8a H1b, H2b, H3b Moderators: Materialism Need for Uniqueness H7b, H8b 158 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL 3.2. Data collection and sample that the minimum sample size should be ten times The data was collected via an online self-administered the maximum number of paths directed at any con- scenario-based survey. In recent years, collaborative struct in the outer and inner models (Barclay, Higgins, consumption of apparel has started gaining attention and Thompson 1995; Hair, Sarstedt, Pieper, and Ringle among academics (Becker-Leifhold 2018; Iran, Geiger, 2012). The majority of the respondents were between and Schrader 2019; Park and Armstrong 2019a). It has the age groups of 25-34 years (66 %), followed by 18- also become popular, especially among female con- 24 years (27.5%) and 35-44 years (5.3%). This profile sumers worldwide, including in Turkey. Thus, a col- is consistent with the samples of previous studies laborative apparel consumption service is chosen as on collaborative consumption, given that millenni- the focus for the scenario. The scenario to be used is als constitute the leading consumer group for such adopted from the study by Hwang and Griffiths (2017) collaborative practices (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; and translated into Turkish. As suggested, a hypotheti- Mittendorf 2018; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović cal company is used to avoid biasing the respondents 2019). The demographic profile of the sample is pre - by the company name. Initially, the respondents were sented in Table 1. told that their participation in the study would be vol- Due to the self-reported and cross-sectional na- untary and that their responses would be kept confi- ture of the data, there is the possibility of common dential. The respondents who agreed to participate method variance (CMV) that runs the risk of inflat - were first provided with brief information regarding ing the strength of observed structural relationships the collaborative consumption practices, and then among the constructs (Ali et al. 2020). For alleviating they were asked to read the presented scenario. After concerns about CMV, Harman’s one-factor test was that, the respondents were asked to indicate their re- used. A total of six factors with Eigenvalues greater sponses to the statements in the survey. than one were reported. The first factor accounted for The survey was carried out through email and only 36.4 % of the total variance explained, suggest- social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, ing that CMV is unlikely to be a severe concern for this LinkedIn and WhatsApp), where a link to the survey study (Podsakoff et al. 2003). was posted. Through convenience and snowball sampling techniques, 247 usable responses were col- lected from female consumers in Turkey within four 4. Analysis and results weeks. This sample size may be considered adequate for this kind of research, given that the “ten times This study employs the PLS-SEM technique for rule” is widely used for sample size estimations in par- data analysis. PLS-SEM has become popular in aca- tial least squares and structural equation modeling demia due to the various advantages it offers, such (PLS-SEM) that is also to be used in this study (Hair, as fewer restrictions on sample size and normality Sarstedt, Ringle, and Mena 2012). This rule suggests of data, easiness of application to complex models Table 1. Sample demographics Variable Category Frequency % Variable Category Frequency % 18-24 68 27.5 Private Sector 150 60.7 25-34 163 66.0 Public Sector 20 8.1 Age 35-44 13 5.3 Self-Employed 5 2.0 Working 45-54 2 0.8 Unemployed 18 7.3 Status 55-64 1 0.4 Housewife 15 6.1 Married 53 21.5 Student 37 15.0 Marital Status Single 194 78.5 Other 2 0.8 ElementarySchool 1 0.4 Less than 3000 ₺ 121 49.0 Middle School - - 3000-5999 ₺ 106 42.9 Personal High School 33 13.4 12 4.9 6000-8999 ₺ Education Monthly University 162 65.6 9000-11999 ₺ 1 0.4 Income Master 50 20.2 12000-14999 ₺ 3 1.2 Ph.D. 1 0.4 15000 ₺ and more 4 1.6 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 159 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL and flexibility in constructing theory (Rigdon 2016; outlined by Hair and his colleagues (2020), first, the Sarstedt, Ringle, and Hair 2017; Xiao and Mou 2019; Ali loadings and their significance are examined. As a rule et al. 2020; Cao et al. 2021). In this study, SmartPLS 3 of thumb, the standardized factor loadings should software (Ringle, Wende, and Becker 2015) is used to ideally be higher than 0.70, but values higher than assess the measurement and structural models. 0.50 are still acceptable (Hair et al. 2014). After remov- ing the two low-loading items (less than 0.50) from the materialism construct, the results reveal that all factor loadings are very close or exceed the suggested 4.1. Measurement model assessment threshold of 0.70, as shown in Table 2. The measurement model is assessed using the con- In the next step, the reliability of the constructs is firmatory composite analysis recently proposed by measured by Cronbach’s alpha (α) and composite reli- Hair, Howard, and Nitzl (2020) as an alternative to con- ability (CR). It is suggested that both of these reliability firmatory factor analysis for confirming measurement criteria should be above 0.70 (Hair, Howard, and Nitzl models when using PLS-SEM. Following the steps 2020). As shown in Table 2, all the CR and Cronbach’s Table 2. Measurement model results Factor b,c Construct Code t-value α CR AVE loadings Utilitarian Value UV1 0.834 35.225 UV2 0.882 48.749 0.814 0.890 0.729 UV3 0.845 32.943 Hedonic Value HV1 0.913 60.803 HV2 0.929 78.474 0.889 0.931 0.818 HV3 0.871 42.428 Symbolic Value SV1 0.873 50.803 SV2 0.916 57.174 0.873 0.920 0.792 SV3 0.881 39.942 Empathy EMP1 0.747 15.468 EMP2 0.901 56.100 0.861 0.906 0.707 EMP3 0.892 53.570 EMP4 0.814 22.870 Attitude ATT1 0.930 77.865 ATT2 0.863 31.283 0.926 0.948 0.820 ATT3 0.907 38.258 ATT4 0.920 60.349 Behavioral Intention BIE1 0.958 124.825 0.909 0.957 0.917 BIE2 0.957 121.185 Materialism MAT1 0.900 5.032 MAT2a - - 0.702 0.890 0.769 MAT3a - - MAT4 0.854 4.092 Need for Uniqueness NFU1 0.683 2.570 NFU2 0.795 3.488 0.849 0.865 0.686 NFU3 0.979 3.343 The item was problematic, so it was removed from the final analysis. t-values were obtained by executing 5000 Bootstrap runs. Absolute t-values>1.96 were two-tailed significant at 5%. 160 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL alpha values are higher than the threshold of 0.70, and Sarstedt 2015; Hair et al. 2017). Next, the structur- indicating a good level of reliability. The convergent al relationships in the proposed model are tested by validity was assessed by examining the average vari- using a PLS algorithm and a bootstrapping procedure ance extracted (AVE). As suggested by Fornell and (based on 5000 bootstrap samples). The path coeffi- Larcker (1981), AVE values should be greater than cients, standard errors (SE), t-values and accompany- 0.50. Table 2 shows that the AVE of all constructs ex- ing bootstrap confidence intervals at 95% are shown ceeds this threshold value of 0.50, indicating good in Table 4. An examination of path coefficients and convergent validity. For assessing the discriminant significance levels suggests eight of the direct effects validity, both Fornell-Larcker’s criterion and the and three of the moderating effects were significant. heterotrait-monotrait ratio of correlations (HTMT), as The results indicate that utilitarian value (β=0.338, proposed by Henseler, Ringle, and Sarstedt (2015), p < 0.001) and symbolic value (β=0.268, p < 0.001) were used. As shown in Table 3, the AVE square root both have a significant and positive effect on con- of each construct is higher than the absolute value of sumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consumption its correlation with other constructs in the model, as of apparel, supporting H1a and H3a. However, he- suggested by Fornell and Larcker (1981). Table 3 also donic value is found to have no significant effect on shows the ratio of correlations for HTMT, and it is ob- consumers’ attitudes (β=0.020, p > 0.05), failing to served that all the HTMT ratios are less than the widely support H2a. Regarding consumers’ behavioral inten- accepted threshold of 0.85 (Voorhees et al. 2015). All tions, it is found that both hedonic value (β=0.161, these results indicate that discriminant validity is also p < 0.05) and symbolic value (β=0.187, p < 0.01) have a acceptable. positive and significant effect on behavioral intention to engage in collaborative consumption of apparel. In contrast, the effect of utilitarian value on consumers’ behavioral intentions (β=- 0.012, p > 0.05) is found 4.2. Structural model assessment to be not significant. Even if these results fail to sup - Following the recommendations by Hair, Howard, and port H1b, they support H2b and H3b. Hedonic value Nitzl (2020), this study first tests the multicollinear - (β=0.350, p < 0.001) and symbolic value (β=0.224, ity of the structural model constructs before testing p < 0.01) are also found to have a significant and posi- the hypotheses. For that, the variance inflation factor tive effect on empathy, supporting H4b and H4c. Since (VIF) values are examined. All VIF values are less than the effect of utilitarian value on empathy (β=0.065, 5, suggesting that multicollinearity is unlikely to be a p > 0.05) is not significant, H4a is not supported. Next, problem in this study (Hair et al. 2014). The model fit empathy is found to have a positive effect on con- is also assessed by examining the standardized root- sumers’ attitudes (β=0.229, p < 0.001), while its effect mean-square residual (SRMR). A value that is less than on behavioral intentions (β=0.012, p > 0.05) is not 0.080 is usually considered a relatively good fit (Hu significant, supporting only H5a but not H5b. Finally, and Bentler 1999). In this study, the SRMR is calculated as expected, consumers’ attitudes positively and sig- as 0.078, suggesting a relatively good fit between the nificantly affect their behavioral intentions to engage hypothesized model and the data (Henseler, Ringle, in collaborative consumption of apparel (β=0.534, Table 3. Correlations and discriminant validity results 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1. Utilitarian Value 0.854 0.427 0.593 0.369 0.640 0.517 0.096 0.086 2. Hedonic Value 0.360 0.905 0.660 0.563 0.458 0.555 0.080 0.165 3. Symbolic Value 0.530 0.603 0.890 0.519 0.594 0.627 0.074 0.096 4. Empathy 0.309 0.509 0.470 0.841 0.522 0.480 0.094 0.141 5. Attitude 0.557 0.419 0.565 0.469 0.905 0.766 0.148 0.131 6. Behavioral Intention 0.446 0.500 0.586 0.428 0.706 0.958 0.135 0.110 7. Materialism 0.076 -0.049 -0.044 -0.017 0.117 0.109 0.877 0.665 8. Need for Uniqueness 0.026 0.030 0.080 0.125 0.161 0.137 0.489 0.828 Diagonal and italicized elements are the square roots of the AVE. Below the diagonal elements are the correlations between the constructs. Above the diagonal elements are the HTMT values. SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 161 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL 2 2 p < 0.001), supporting H6. The results of the hypoth- is R . Even if R is claimed to vary depending on the eses tests are summarized in Table 4. research field, the R values of 0.75, 0.50 and 0.25 are It is also important to examine the predictive abil- generally considered substantial, moderate and weak, ity of the structural model. Two different metrics - the respectively (Sarstedt, Ringle and Hair 2017). The R 2 2 2 coefficient of determination (R ) and Stone-Geisser’s (empathy)=0.303, R (attitude)=0.455 and R (be- 2 2 Q value (Geisser, 1974; Stone, 1974) - may be used for havioral intention) =0.567 suggest that all R values 2 2 assessing prediction (Hair, Howard, and Nitzl 2020). are acceptable. In addition to R , the Q may also be Of these two metrics, the more commonly used one used to assess the model’s predictive ability. Even if, Table 4. Structural model results Path %95 confidence Support Structural path Boot SE t-value coefficient interval Yes/No Direct effects Utilitarian Value→Attitude 0.338*** 0.061 5.563 (0.219, 0.455) Supported n.s Utilitarian Value→Behavioral Intention -0.012 0.069 0.177 (-0.146, 0.126) Not Supported n.s 0.020 0.064 0.309 (-0.115, 0.137) Not Supported Hedonic Value→Attitude Hedonic Value→Behavioral Intention 0.161* 0.070 2.299 (0.023, 0.301) Supported Symbolic Value→Attitude 0.268*** 0.067 4.007 (0.133, 0.397) Supported Symbolic Value→Behavioral Intention 0.187** 0.072 2.597 (0.047, 0.326) Supported n.s Utilitarian Value→Empathy 0.065 0.079 0.822 (-0.084, 0.221) Not Supported Hedonic Value→Empathy 0.350*** 0.082 4.272 (0.184, 0.498) Supported Symbolic Value→Empathy 0.224** 0.083 2.709 (0.064, 0.387) Supported Empathy→Attitude 0.229*** 0.060 3.817 (0.116, 0.348) Supported n.s Empathy→Behavioral Intention 0.012 0.059 0.205 (-0.098, 0.133) Not Supported 0.534*** 0.060 8.938 (0.416, 0.653) Supported Attitude→Behavioral Intention Moderating effects Utilitarian Value*Materialism →Attitude -0.126** 0.045 2.792 (-0.231,-0.064) Supported n.s 0.008 0.074 0.105 (-0.131, 0.156) Not Supported Hedonic Value*Materialism →Attitude n.s Symbolic Value*Materialism →Attitude -0.097 0.129 0.749 (-0.191, 0.228) Not Supported n.s Utilitarian Value*Materialism →Behavioral -0.001 0.055 0.010 (-0.117, 0.120) Not Supported Intention Hedonic Value*Materialism →Behavioral -0.130** 0.040 3.283 (-0.210,-0.058) Supported Intention n.s -0.073 0.083 0.882 (-0.145, 0.164) Not Supported Symbolic Value*Materialism →Behavioral Intention n.s Utilitarian Value*Need for Uniqueness→ -0.115 0.063 1.817 (-0.211, 0.088) Not Supported Attitude n.s Hedonic Value* Need for Uniqueness -0.034 0.068 0.496 (-0.174, 0.128) Not Supported →Attitude n.s Symbolic Value* Need for Uniqueness 0.036 0.045 0.790 (-0.077, 0.103) Not Supported →Attitude n.s Utilitarian Value*Need for Uniqueness→ -0.135 0.131 1.031 (-0.258, 0.210) Not Supported Behavioral Intention n.s Hedonic Value* Need for Uniqueness → -0.095 0.078 1.221 (-0.227, 0.169) Not Supported Behavioral Intention Symbolic Value*Need for Uniqueness -0.145** 0.045 3.240 (-0.236,-0.076) Supported →Behavioral Intention Note: *p <0.05, ** p <0.01, *** p <0.001, n.s = Not significant 162 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL as a rule of thumb, any Q value higher than zero is attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collabora- considered acceptable, the Q values of 0.02, 0.15 and tive consumption of apparel. Yet, it is essential to note 0.35 are mentioned as thresholds for a small, medium, that the effect of each value perception is different or large predictive relevance, respectively (Sarstedt, and thus, needs to be discussed separately. As ex- Ringle, and Hair 2017). Using the blindfolding ap- pected, the utilitarian value associated with collabora- proach, the Q that is calculated for empathy, attitude tive consumption positively affects female consumers’ and behavioral intention is 0.202, 0.365 and 0.503, attitudes toward such practices. This finding is in line suggesting that the model is predictive. with the findings of earlier studies (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Baek and Oh 2021). However, contrary to expectations, the results do not support the relationship between utilitarian 4.3. Moderating effects value and behavioral intentions. This unexpected find- For testing the moderating effects of materialism ing suggests that other value perceptions might affect and the need for uniqueness, the PLS-product indica- behavioral intentions more strongly than utilitarian tor approach was used (Chin, Marcolin, and Newsted value perceptions. Even if limited in number, there are 2003). The moderation analyses were run in such that other studies that report similar findings (Möhlmann only one moderator was considered at a time. The 2015; Ianole-Calin, Druica, Hubona, and Wu 2021). results of the moderation analyses are also provided In particular, the results of this study show that in Table 4. These results reveal that materialism weak- hedonic and symbolic values are more meaningful ens utilitarian value’s effect on consumers’ attitudes drivers for behavioral intention to engage in collabo- (β=-0.126, p < 0.01) and hedonic value’s effect on rative consumption practices, at least in the context consumers’ behavioral intentions (β=-0.130, p < 0.01), of female consumers’ behavioral intention to engage but it does not have a significant moderating effect on in such practices in the apparel industry. Given the other hypothesized relationships. Thus, H7a and H7b apparel industry’s hedonic nature, it is not surpris- are partially supported. Concerning the moderating ing that hedonic value positively affects behavioral effect of the need for uniqueness, the results indicate intention to engage in collaborative consumption that the need for uniqueness negatively affects the practices. The enjoyment and fun female consumers relationship between symbolic value and consumers’ experience with the infinite wardrobe that collabora- behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative con- tive consumption offers them is a significant driver to sumption (β=-0.145, p < 0.01). However, it shows no engage in such practices. With collaborative consump- significant moderating effect on other relationships. tion, female consumers have the opportunity to have Thus, while H8a is not supported, H8b is partially access to apparel that would otherwise be impossible supported. for them to afford and, thus, enjoy this “Cinderella moment” (Pantano and Stylos 2020). This study also highlights the critical role symbolic value plays in the apparel context. Although there is a lack of consensus 5. Discussion and implications on the role of symbolic value in previous studies (Baek Collaborative consumption has emerged as the and Oh 2021; Vincent and Gaur 2021), the results of new trend of this century, and powered by the ad- this study clearly reveal that symbolic value positively vances in information technology, this alternative affects both the attitudes and behavioral intentions of to traditional ownership-based consumption has female consumers toward collaborative consumption grown among consumers and investors (Paro et al. of apparel. This finding is not surprising, given that, in 2021). Thus, it is nowadays possible to see examples prior research, environmental motivations are claimed of various collaborative consumption platforms across to be significantly more important for women than various industries, including the apparel industry. men (Böcker and Meelen 2017). Regarding the effect Especially women are very much interested in this of value perceptions on empathy, only hedonic value new form of ownership. Building on this interest, this and symbolic value are found to have a significant study focuses on the apparel industry and investi- and positive effect, which is again in line with prior gates how the different value perceptions- utilitarian, research (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). All these findings hedonic and symbolic- affect female consumers’ at - reveal that it is essential to recognize and acknowl- titudes toward collaborative consumption of apparel edge the different types of value perceptions, as each and their behavioral intentions to engage in such may have a different effect. practices. The results of the study reveal that value The results of this study also support the hypoth- perceptions significantly affect female consumers’ esized relationship between empathy and attitude, SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 163 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL suggesting that consumers who feel empathy toward and Meelen 2017). Thus, this study argues that indus- collaborative consumption of apparel are more likely try-specific studies are highly needed to resolve some to have positive attitudes toward such practices. Even of the inconsistencies in research findings, as each fac - if empathy may act as a significant antecedent for at - tor’s significance might change depending on the in- titudes, contrary to the hypothesized relationship in dustry in which that study is conducted. Second, this the proposed model, empathy does not directly trans- study confirms that value perceptions play a critical late into behavioral intentions. In other words, feeling role in the context of collaborative consumption of empathy toward collaborative apparel consumption apparel. At the same time, it also highlights the impor- is not a strong enough driver for engaging in such tance of studying the effects of the different types of practices. Instead, it is through the attitudes that em- value perceptions separately since each may have a pathy may have an impact on behavioral intentions. significantly different effect on female consumers’ at - As anticipated, the results reveal that attitudes have a titudes toward collaborative consumption and their powerful effect on behavioral intentions. This finding behavioral intentions to engage in such practices. is consistent with Ajzen and Fishbein’s (1980) theory Third, the findings of this study reveal that empathy of reasoned action. has a significant effect on female consumers’ attitudes This study also investigates the potential moderat- toward collaborative consumption of apparel. It is the ing effect of materialism and the need for uniqueness hedonic and symbolic values that have an impact on in the context of collaborative apparel consumption, these empathic emotions. Thus, this study points out and partial support for the hypothesized moderating empathy as an important emotional factor that may effects is provided. In particular, the results show that enrich collaborative consumption literature. Finally, materialism plays a critical role as a potential mod- this study contributes to the literature on collabora- erator because it weakens both the positive effect of tive consumption by providing concrete evidence utilitarian value on attitudes and the positive effect of for the critical role that materialism and the need for hedonic value on behavioral intentions. The need for uniqueness may play as moderators. uniqueness also has a similar effect as the positive ef- From a managerial perspective, some significant fect that symbolic value has on behavioral intentions implications may also be derived from the findings of is weakened for those consumers who have a higher this study that will be important in helping managers need for uniqueness. These findings are important of this industry approach female consumers more ef- in showing that these personality traits should be fectively. For many years, the utilitarian value associ- integrated into research on collaborative apparel ated with collaborative consumption has received the consumption to better understand the relationships utmost attention among researchers as the most criti- between value perceptions and consumers’ responses cal determinant of consumers’ attitudes (Barnes and to collaborative consumption of apparel. Mattsson 2017; Benoit et al. 2017). However, this study reveals that hedonic and symbolic values associated with collaborative consumption are also important and suggest alternative ways for managers to en- 5.1. Theoretical and managerial implications hance consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions Collaborative consumption has received consider- toward collaborative consumption of apparel. One able attention from academics and practitioners, es- way is obviously by communicating the utilitarian val- pecially within the last decade. Nevertheless, as pre- ue of collaborative consumption and enhancing con- viously stated, collaborative consumption research sumers’ attitudes, which in turn enhances consumers’ is still considered to be in its early stage, and further intention to engage in such practices. For this reason, studies are needed. Building on this need, this study the utilitarian benefits, especially the cost savings that contributes to this research field by filling some gaps become possible through collaborative practices, are in the extant literature and extending current knowl- mostly promoted in the advertisements by companies edge on collaborative consumption. First, this study that provide collaborative consumption goods or ser- focuses on collaborative apparel consumption, which vices (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). has recently become quite popular, especially among However, it is also vital for managers of these female consumers and investigates the factors that af- companies to emphasize the hedonic and symbolic fect female consumers’ attitudes and behavioral inten- values associated with collaborative consumption in tions toward collaborative consumption of apparel. their advertisements since these values play a critical Even if some of the findings are inconsistent with pre - role in enhancing consumers’ attitudes and behavioral vious studies, these inconsistencies may be explained intentions. Hedonic value has a direct, positive effect based on the industry-specific characteristics (Böcker on behavioral intentions. Thus, these feelings of fun 164 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL and enjoyment associated with the collaborative con- consumer group for collaborative consumption prac- sumption experience, in other words, the “Cinderella tices (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, Kožo, and moment”, may be used by managers to encourage Berberović 2019), the hypothesized relationships in more consumers to engage in collaborative consump- this study may be tested with Millennials only. Some tion practices. Within this context, symbolic value comparative studies may also be conducted across plays an even more critical role because it has a direct, different generational cohorts. Also, as the data col- positive effect on both attitudes and behavioral inten- lection was completed before the outbreak of the tions. Thus, managers need to acknowledge the signif- Covid-19 pandemic, it is impossible to generalize this icance of symbolic value associated with collaborative study’s findings to the pandemic situation. Yet, it will consumption practices and consider including the be interesting to replicate this study after the pan- altruistic or social benefits in their value propositions. demic and comparatively discuss the findings. Fourth, In addition to these direct ways, from hedonic this study examines the moderating effect of the need and symbolic values to consumers’ attitudes and/or for uniqueness and materialism on consumers’ atti- behavioral intentions, an indirect but highly critical tudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative way may also be employed. As the results of this study practices. However, researchers need to integrate oth- reveal, hedonic and symbolic values help consumers er personality traits such as innovativeness or experi- feel empathy toward collaborative practices, which ence seeking in their future studies. In addition, in this positively affects consumers’ attitudes and, in turn, be - study, materialism is considered a one-dimensional havioral intentions toward collaborative consumption. concept. However, materialism also has its sub-dimen- Therefore, managers should consider different ways of sions, which are possessiveness and non-generosity including the hedonic (i.e., feelings of fun, enjoyment (Belk 1984). It may be important to consider the ef- and entertainment) and symbolic values (i.e., concern fects of these sub-dimensions in the context of col- for the environmental and sustainability issues) in laborative consumption, as each may have a different their commercials to approach their consumers more effect (Akbar, Mai, and Hoffmann 2016). Future stud- effectively. Managers should also consider how effec - ies may also explore new factors not covered in this tive these strategies will be when paired with consum- study. For example, previous studies reveal that trust ers’ personality traits. This study reveals that the effect in the service providers and intermediaries influences of some value perceptions on consumers’ attitudes the consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions and behavioral intentions is weakened in consumers toward the collaborative consumption practices on who are more materialistic and have a higher need for online platforms (Mittendorf 2018). Finally, the find- uniqueness. Thus, managers need to consider the dif- ings of this study are limited to female consumers in ferent personality traits of their consumers and design Turkey. Since gender and cultural dimensions may sig- their strategies accordingly. nificantly affect consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative consumption, future researchers need to include men and consumers from other cultures. 5.2. Limitations and future research While this study contributes to the literature on col- laborative consumption, its findings should be as- sessed in light of some limitations that provide further research directions. First, the cross-sectional nature of Authors’ Note the data and the limited sample size limit confidence This study is based on the first author’s master’s in causal inferences. Thus, further research is neces- thesis submitted to Istanbul Bilgi University, under sary to validate the findings of the study. Second, this the supervision of the second author. study investigates the effect of value perceptions on consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative consumption in the apparel industry. 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The Infinite Wardrobe: Female Consumers’ Value Perceptions Regarding Collaborative Consumption of Apparel

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de Gruyter
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© 2021 Kübra Sirkeci et al., published by Sciendo
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2233-1999
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2233-1999
DOI
10.2478/jeb-2021-0020
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Abstract

Understanding the potential factors and underlying mechanisms to engage in collaborative consumption practices has become a significant concern for academics and practitioners. However, collaborative con- sumption research is still considered in its early stage; thus, further research is needed. Based on this need, this study extends existing research by providing empirical support for the importance of value perceptions and empathy on female consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative consump- tion in the apparel industry. This study also shows a significant moderating effect for materialism and the need for uniqueness in the collaborative consumption of apparel. These findings are believed to be particu- larly valuable in contributing to the broader literature on collaborative consumption and guiding, especially practitioners, to develop strategic tactics for motivating consumers to engage in collaborative consumption practices. Keywords: Collaborative consumption, value, empathy, materialism, need for uniqueness, apparel JEL classification: M00, M31 1. Introduction Since the early days of marketing thought, the notion of exchange has been considered as one of its Kübra Sirkeci, PhD Student cornerstones (Bagozzi 1975). However, especially in Department of Business Administration the last decade, a new form of exchange has gained Kadir Has University momentum, and collaborative consumption has been E-mail: kubrassirkeci@stu.khas.edu.tr ORCID number: 0000-0002-9867-7030 introduced as an alternative to traditional ownership- based consumption (Akbar 2019). Powered by the advances in the information technology that en- Esra Arıkan, PhD (corresponding author) able consumers to connect with other consumers Assistant Professor through various online platforms (Hamari, Sjöklint, Faculty of Business Istanbul Bilgi University and Ukkonen 2016; Kim and Jin 2020), this new form of collaborative exchange has offered consumers the E-mail: esra.arikan@bilgi.edu.tr chance to have access to a wide range of goods and Address: Istanbul Bilgi University Eski Silahtaraga services without the need for purchase or ownership Elektrik Santrali Kazım Karabekir Cad. No: 2/13 (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). Even if some of the well- 34060 Eyupsultan Istanbul, Turkey ORCID number: 0000-0001-9016-1382 known collaborative platforms were started earlier (e.g., Airbnb in 2008), such platforms have become a Copyright © 2021 by the School of Economics and Business Sarajevo 150 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL global trend, especially after May 2010. It was when Third, since it is not possible to generalize the findings Rachel Botsman, in a TEDx talk, introduced the notion on consumers’ value perceptions, given that the influ- of collaborative consumption as an emerging eco- ence of value perceptions may change depending nomic and cultural force that would reinvent the idea on the industry/context (Park and Armstrong 2017), of consumption (Herbert and Collin-Lachaud 2017; this study focuses on the collaborative consumption Parguel, Lunardo, and Benoit-Moreau 2017). practices in the apparel industry. These practices Collaborative consumption has turned out to be have recently gained popularity, especially among a vital element of the global economy. Thus, under- female consumers. Even if the research on collabora- standing the potential factors and underlying mecha- tive consumption of apparel is still limited, it appears nisms to engage in collaborative consumption prac- as a promising research area. Through these practices, tices rather than prefer traditional ownership models consumers may have access to an infinite wardrobe has become a significant concern for both academics full of various new and unique fashion products that and practitioners (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; would otherwise be inaccessible for them (Balck and Benoit et al. 2017; Milanova and Maas 2017; Park and Cracau 2015; Lang and Armstrong 2018). Female con- Armstrong 2019a). Accordingly, there has been an ex- sumers are specifically chosen as suitable respondents ponential growth in the number of studies conducted for this study as female consumers are commonly be- in this stream of research (Hossain 2020). However, lieved to be more involved in fashion products (Lang these studies have mostly been conceptual or quali- and Armstrong 2018) and sometimes even considered tative, and the studies that empirically investigate the the over-consumers of fashion (McNeill and Venter factors influential on consumers’ attitudes toward and 2019). Finally, this study introduces two personality participation in such collaborative practices have been traits- materialism and the need for uniqueness- as somewhat limited in number (Lee et al. 2018; Zhang boundary conditions and examines whether and how et al. 2019). Realizing this gap in the extant literature, these traits moderate female consumers’ responses to some researchers have recently diverted their interest collaborative consumption of apparel. Even if there to empirically testing different types of value percep - exist some studies that generally investigate the im- tions as potential drivers for engaging in collaborative pact of materialism and the need for uniqueness in consumption (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, the context of collaborative consumption (Akbar, Kožo, and Berberović 2019). However, collaborative Mai, and Hoffmann 2016; Lang and Armstrong 2018; consumption research is still considered in its early Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018), these stud- stage (Lee et al. 2018; Iran, Geiger, and Schrader 2019); ies seem to be still limited in number. Moreover, in thus, further research is needed. It is also important to these studies, mainly the direct effects of these per - note that the recent Covid-19 pandemic has radically sonality traits on consumers’ attitudes toward col- affected the collaborative consumption dynamics and laborative consumption and behavioral intentions to had an economically devastating effect on many col- engage in such practices are tested, and conflicting laborative consumption firms and platforms (Dolnicar findings have been reported. Thus, the findings on and Zare 2020; Batool et al. 2021; Degli Esposti, Mortara, the effect of these personality traits are believed to and Roberti 2021). Still, it is argued that the Covid -19 be particularly valuable in contributing to the broader pandemic might indeed be an opportunity for the col- literature on collaborative consumption and guiding, laborative consumption industry to recalibrate (Hossain especially practitioners, to develop strategic tactics 2021) and return to its original nature that focuses on for motivating consumers to engage in collaborative experiences and values (Zhang et al. 2021). consumption. Based on this need for further research, this study aims to extend existing research in various ways. First of all, by testing the effects of three types of value 2. Theoretical background perceptions- utilitarian, hedonic and symbolic- on and hypotheses consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consump- tion and their behavioral intentions to engage in 2.1. Collaborative consumption such practices, this study provides further empirical support for the importance of value perceptions in The notion of collaborative consumption has received the context of collaborative consumption. Second, as increasing emphasis in academia through the years. Hwang and Griffiths (2017) emphasized, this study in- However, despite its popularity as a fertile area of re- corporates empathy as an important emotional factor search, the literature is still limited and highly frag- to fully understand consumers’ attitudes and behav- mented due to a lack of clarity about the definition ioral intentions toward collaborative consumption. and scope of collaborative consumption (Barbosa and SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 151 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL Fonseca 2019). In their landmark book on collabora- the increasing consumer trust in e-commerce and on- tive consumption, Botsman and Rogers (2010) define line payments (Altinay and Taheri 2019). The various collaborative consumption in a way to include a broad online platforms that act as digital intermediaries not range of traditional market activities such as “tradi- only enable consumers to easily connect and share tional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, their underutilized assets such as goods and services gifting and swapping” (p. xv). However, in his highly but also significantly decrease the transaction costs of cited study on collaborative consumption, Belk (2014) matching suppliers with those consumers (Edbring, criticizes the definition provided by Botsman and Lehner, and Mont 2016; Armstrong and Park 2017; Rogers (2010) for being “too broad and mixes market- Benoit et al. 2017; Lee 2020). place exchange, gift-giving and sharing” and define These developments have contributed to collabor- collaborative consumption as “people coordinating ative consumption’s growth in scale and scope, espe- the acquisition and distribution of a resource for a fee cially over the last decade (Böcker and Meelen 2017). or other compensation” (p. 1597). In response, other During this time, various collaborative consumption studies propose their definition of the concept (Barnes platforms such as Airbnb, Uber and Blablacar have and Mattsson 2016; Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen set themselves as successful examples for this new 2016). This diversity of definitions also makes it harder form of consumption and gained popularity among to establish clear boundaries between the concepts; consumers (Martin 2016; Hallem, Ben Arfi, and Teulon thus, various related concepts such as “collaborative 2020). Today it is no longer possible to regard col- consumption” (Botsman and Rogers 2010; Möhlmann laborative consumption as a niche trend, given that 2015), “sharing” (Belk 2014), “access-based consump- millions of collaborative consumers exist, with some tion” (Bardhi and Eckhardt 2012; Lawson et al. 2016), even not being aware that they are a part of this col- “commercial sharing systems” (Lamberton and Rose laborative community, and famous examples of this 2012) or “sharing economy” (Hamari, Sjöklint, and fast-growing trend are prevalent, with Airbnb getting Ukkonen 2016) are used interchangeably in the litera- bookings almost every two seconds on a single day ture while referring to closely related and sometimes (Zalega 2018). The current situation proves that Time even the same practices. Still, collaborative consump- magazine was right when they claimed in 2011 that tion is the one that is widely used among all these collaborative consumption would be one of the ten (Ianole-Călin, Francioni, Masili, Druică, and Goschin ideas to change the world (Kim and Jin 2020). Since 2020). then, investors have considered collaborative con- Many believe that the recent economic crisis and sumption as the new “mega trend” and invested lots the financial problems that follow have significantly of money in these collaborative start-ups (Vella 2012; contributed to collaborative consumption as a viable Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; Johnson, Mun, alternative that challenges the traditional economy and Chae 2016). It is estimated that the collaborative (Abbes, Hallem, and Taga 2020). One of the most im- consumption market will have a volume of more than portant benefits of collaborative consumption is re - $335 billion by 2025 (PwC 2015). lated to cost savings (Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović Unfortunately, collaborative consumption practic- 2019), and it is not surprising that many consumers es have generally been hit hard by the Covid-19 pan- who cannot afford to buy and own products opt to demic as consumers have become highly reluctant collaborate with others (Barbosa and Fonseca 2019). to share anything like goods, services, or spaces with Also, the potential social benefits associated with col- others due to the fear and anxiety they feel because laborative consumption are quite influential in terms of the virus (Hossain 2021; Zhu and Liu 2021). Thus, of increasing its popularity. Nowadays, consumers are many collaborative consumption platforms have more sensitive toward the environmental and societal started experiencing severe economic problems with problems such as hyper-consumption, resource deple- the outbreak of the pandemic. The accommodation tion, pollution and social alienation, and they consider and transportation industries are the two industries collaborative consumption as a new socioeconomic particularly affected by Covid-19 (Hossain 2021). For model that may alleviate these problems to some ex- example, Airbnb and Uber have faced a significant tent (Botsman and Rogers 2010; Prothero et al. 2011; decline in their bookings, and both their revenues Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; Roos and Hahn and share prices have fallen drastically (Farmaki et 2019). Still, these are not the only factors that moti- al. 2020; Batool et al. 2021; Zhu and Liu 2021). Thus, vate consumers toward collaborative consumption. these companies have been forced to take measures Collaborative consumption is undeniably facilitated such as new cleaning protocols requiring a specific by the rapid advances in information and communica- waiting time between the bookings and special anti- tion technologies, especially mobile technologies, and virus cleaning products (Farmaki et al. 2020). On the 152 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL contrary, it is interesting that the Covid-19 pandemic otherwise be impossible for them to afford and thus, has affected some industries favorably, such that save money (Lang and Armstrong 2018; Park and bike-sharing has become a virus-free and thus safer Armstrong 2019a). The accelerated pace of apparel alternative to car sharing (Degli Esposti, Mortara and consumption also creates a growing concern for sus- Roberti 2021; Zhu and Liu 2021). Also, there has been tainability as both the throwaway culture and the an increase in demand for collaborative consumption over-consumption have a detrimental effect on the platforms associated with food delivery and entertain- natural environment through increased textile waste ment services (Batool et al. 2021; Hossain 2021). (Lang and Armstrong 2018; McNeill and Venter 2019; Pena-Vinces, Solakis, and Guillen 2020). With the piles of discarded clothes ending up in landfills, the apparel industry is the second industry that pollutes the envi- 2.2. Collaborative consumption in the ronment the most (Henninger, Bürklin, and Niinimaki apparel industry 2019). Thus, collaborative apparel consumption is Until now, collaborative consumption has been stud- highly valued as a sustainability-oriented business ied across different contexts such as transportation model among retailers and consumers (Pena-Vinces, (Bardhi and Eckhardt 2012), accommodation (Cheng Solakis, and Guillen 2020). and Foley 2018) and toys (Ozanne and Ballantine Collaborative apparel consumption is not a new- 2010). However, academic research on collaborative born trend as people have been sharing their ap- consumption in the apparel context has been relative- parel among their friends and family members for ly limited, parallel to its rather slow adoption in prac- many years (Johnson, Mun, and Chae 2016). Yet, the tice (Pedersen and Netter 2015; Park and Armstrong advances in internet technology accompanied by the 2017; Pantano and Stylos 2020). Consumers’ reluc- creation of online platforms that enable consumers to tance to adopt collaborative consumption practices in connect with others easily have given the consumers the apparel context is partly due to the hedonic nature the chance to share their apparel with other people of apparel and might be explained based on the en- or even companies (Iran and Schrader 2017; Pena- dowment effect (Henninger et al. 2021). The endow - Vinces, Solakis, and Guillen 2020). Today collaborative ment effect argues that, especially in hedonic goods, consumption of apparel takes two distinct forms, and the sense of possessing a good enhances its attrac- apparel might be sold or exchanged via rental service tiveness, and as once possessed, it becomes associat- platforms (e.g., Rent the Runway) or peer-to-peer ed with this person’s self (Dommer and Swaminathan platforms (e.g., Poshmark) (Jin and Shin 2020; Kim 2013; Park and Armstrong 2019b). Apparels are often and Jin 2020). These collaborative consumption forms used for self-enhancement, and for consumers, it is are quite popular, especially among female consum- crucial to have such a solid and self-enhancing bond ers. Female consumers’ interest in apparel sharing is between the apparel they possess and their self-iden- not surprising given that female consumers are very tity (Park and Armstrong 2019b). Yet, as there is no much involved with fashion, and sometimes they are ownership in collaborative consumption practices, even considered over-consumers (McNeill and Venter this self-enhancing bond between the person and the 2019). Nevertheless, it is also possible to explain this possession is not realized. In this respect, the endow- interest of female consumers based on their increas- ment effect might act as a potential barrier for col- ing concerns regarding the environment and the ben- laborative consumption, explaining consumers’ reluc- efits collaborative consumption offers in this respect. tance to adopt collaborative consumption practices in In the extant literature on collaborative consumption, the apparel industry (Park and Armstrong 2019b). there exist studies highlighting the need to focus on Recently, there has been a significant upsurge of possible gender differences (del Mar Alonso-Almeida interest in the collaborative consumption of apparel 2019). These studies argue that women generally among researchers and consumers (Becker-Leifhold show a higher environmental motivation for engag- 2018; Iran, Geiger, and Schrader 2019; Park and ing in collaborative consumption than men (Böcker Armstrong 2019a). The underlying factors contribut- and Meelen 2017). ing to this interest are mainly related to the fast-paced It is true that with the outbreak of the Covid-19 apparel consumption that necessitates a continu- pandemic, especially the demand for fashion rental ous investment of money in apparel purchases and services, as a form of collaborative consumption, has the difficulties faced by the recent economic crises decreased significantly due to the rising hygiene and (Pantano and Stylos 2020). One key benefit of col- contamination concerns among consumers (Kim and laborative consumption is that consumers have ac- Jin 2021). Even the idea of using apparel that was pre- cess to an infinite wardrobe of apparel that would viously touched by others is very annoying for many SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 153 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL people since it carries a high risk of contamination behavior (Vinson, Scott, and Lamont 1977). As Homer despite careful product cleaning (Baek and Oh 2021). and Hahle (1988) proposed in their value-attitude-be- Thus, nowadays, consumers might be more reluctant havior hierarchy, values affect attitudes, which in turn to engage in collaborative apparel consumption. affect behavior. This hierarchy has been especially However, some fashion companies have already start- referenced in some studies on collaborative consump- ed offering attractive solutions to overcome the prob - tion to support the expected effect of consumers’ val- lems associated with the pandemic and increase the ue perceptions on their attitudes toward collaborative demand for collaborative apparel consumption in the consumption (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, next forecast period (Future Marketing Insights 2021). Kožo, and Berberović 2019). In the literature, many Besides, when the economic effects of the Covid-19 studies investigate the impact of different value per - pandemic on consumers’ lives are considered, it is ceptions on the attitudes toward collaborative con- argued that more consumers will engage in such col- sumption (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; Hamari, laborative consumption practices (Zhu and Liu 2021). Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; McNeill and Venter 2019). According to a recent market research report, the Even if each type of value perceptions’ significance may market valuation for the global online clothing rental change depending on the collaborative consumption market in 2021 is around 1.9 billion US dollars, and the context and the sample used in that study, utilitarian, market is expected to grow further during the fore- hedonic, and symbolic values usually influence con- casted period of 2021-2031 with a compound annual sumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consumption. growth rate of 11 % (Future Marketing Insights 2021). In most studies, especially the utilitarian value of collaborative consumption in the form of monetary/ economic benefits has been highlighted as the most critical determinant of consumers’ attitudes (Barnes 2.3. Values and collaborative consumption and Mattsson 2017; Benoit et al. 2017). Through col- Developing a better understanding of the drivers for laborative consumption, it is possible to have access adopting collaborative consumption is crucial for the to goods and services that would otherwise be hard success of these practices. Thus, this has been an is- to purchase at a lower price, and such immediate sue of significant interest for researchers (Lindblom, cost-savings motivate consumers toward this type of Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018). Within this context, consumption by positively affecting their attitudes consumers’ value perceptions have been explic- (Roos and Hahn 2019). Although monetary/economic itly studied as they play a crucial role in terms af- benefits are claimed to be necessary but not sufficient fecting consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative for motivating sharing behavior (Bucher, Fieseler, consumption and motivating them to engage in and Lutz 2016), it is generally agreed that consumers’ this type of consumption (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz utilitarian value perceptions positively affect their atti- 2016; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2019). Value tudes toward collaborative consumption (Hwang and perceptions are generally classified into three main Griffiths 2017). Even if not many studies are conducted types: utilitarian, hedonic, and symbolic (Hwang and in the apparel context, in their recent study, Baek and Griffiths 2017), and these types correspond closely to Oh (2021) investigate how the different values associ- the motivations identified by the self-determination ated with fashion rental services affect attitudes. Their theory (Deci and Ryan 1985; Deci, Koestner, and Ryan findings reveal that economic value is vital in enhanc - 1999). As an extrinsic motivation, utilitarian value is ing consumers’ attitudes toward fashion rental services. concerned with the utilitarian benefits of collabora- The effect of utilitarian value on behavioral in- tive consumption, which are not limited to but mainly tentions to engage in collaborative consumption cover monetary/economic gains (Hamari, Sjöklint, practices has also been of interest to researchers. For and Ukkonen 2016; Ianole-Călin, Francioni, Masili, example, Hallem, Ben Arfi, and Teulon (2020) have Druică, and Goschin 2020). On the other hand, both conducted interviews with consumers to gain a deep- hedonic and symbolic values provide intrinsic motiva- er insight into collaborative consumption and found tion for engaging in collaborative consumption as he- that it is mainly the economic benefits that motivate donic value is related to the fun, excitement, and joy consumers to engage in such practices. Other stud- experienced during collaborative consumption, while ies also support that the idea of saving money and symbolic value is related to altruistic or social benefits being able to afford something that would otherwise based on environmentally friendly and sustainable be unaffordable constitutes a key reason for engaging consumption (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). in collaborative consumption (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Values are essential for marketing literature as Ukkonen 2016; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2019; values are known to affect consumers’ attitudes and Arteaga-Sánchez et al. 2020). The limited research on 154 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL collaborative apparel consumption also reveals that this field reveal that hedonic value generally has one saving money is the most frequently cited motivation of the strongest influences on consumers’ attitudes for engaging in online apparel renting and resale (Park and behavioral intentions (Lang, Seo, and Liu 2019; and Armstrong 2019a). Based on these studies, it is Baek and Oh 2021). Thus, it is hypothesized that: hypothesized that: H2a: Hedonic value positively influences female H1a: Utilitarian value positively influences female consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative con- consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative con- sumption of apparel. sumption of apparel. H2b: Hedonic value positively influences female H1b: Utilitarian value positively influences female consumers’ behavioral intentions to engage in col- consumers’ behavioral intentions to engage in col- laborative consumption of apparel. laborative consumption of apparel. In the context of collaborative consumption, Having access to various choices that would symbolic value is also believed to be very important. generally be harder or sometimes even impossible As previously stated, symbolic value is associated to afford also provides consumers with the hedonic with altruistic or social benefits based on consumers’ value associated with feelings of fun, enjoyment and greater concern for the environment and awareness entertainment (Hossain 2020). According to market of sustainability issues (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). research conducted by PwC (2015), 63% of consum- Every day more people realize that collaborative ers think that collaborative consumption is more fun consumption might be quite environmentally ben- compared to traditional consumption. Apart from eficial in terms of promoting the reuse of products, any expectations regarding the performance conse- optimizing lifecycles, and reducing environmental quences, even the idea of engaging in collaborative waste by decreasing the need for new products consumption is considered enjoyable as it allows (Piscicelli, Cooper, and Fisher 2015; Parguel, Lunardo, consumers to form new social connections (Bucher, and Benoit-Moreau 2017; Lang and Armstrong 2018; Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Lee Barbosa and Fonseca 2019). As a result, the need to in- et al. 2018). Thus, some consumers engage in collab- vestigate the effect on symbolic value consumers’ atti- orative consumption just because of the fun and the tudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative social interaction opportunities associated with this consumption has become a priority. Since acting in type of consumption (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen an environmentally friendly manner and caring about 2016). Collaborative consumption also helps consum- sustainability issues are believed to show one’s proso- ers satisfy their desire for status by allowing them to ciality and willingness to bear the costs for others, “pretend to be someone you are not for a day and symbolic value is “positioned as a part of the proso- do something that you may not otherwise get to do” cial movement” (Hwang and Griffiths 2017, p. 135). (Lawson et al. 2016, p. 2616). A careful review of the Nowadays, consumers prefer collaborative consump- extant literature reveals that these feelings of fun tion platforms to create a sustainable marketplace for and enjoyment, associated with hedonic value, play a current and future generations (Hamari, Sjöklint, and significant role in positively influencing attitudes and Ukkonen 2016). Along these lines, the effects of envi- behavioral intentions toward collaborative consump- ronmental benefits and sustainability associated with tion (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; Hwang and collaborative consumption on consumers’ attitudes Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2019; and behavioral intentions are investigated in the ex- Zhang et al. 2019; Minami, Ramos, and Bortoluzzo tant literature, and the results generally support the 2021). positive effect of environmental benefits and sustain- Given the hedonic nature of the apparel indus- ability as a strong intrinsic motivation for collaborative try, it is not surprising that hedonistic aspects drive consumption (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016; collaborative apparel consumption (Becker-Leifhold Albinsson et al. 2019; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović 2018). Collaborative apparel consumption offers con- 2019). On the other hand, some studies claim that sumers the chance to enjoy both the outcome and the environmental benefits and sustainability are either process of building an infinite wardrobe full of choices not a strong driver for collaborative consumption or (Becker-Leifhold and Iran 2018) and even experience a do not significantly affect consumers’ attitudes and “Cinderella moment” (Pantano and Stylos 2020). Taken behavioral intentions (Möhlmann 2015; Habibi, Kim, together, this enjoyment, which is associated with he- and Laroche 2016). These conflicting findings might donic value, positively influences consumers’ attitudes be explained based on contextual differences, as the toward and behavioral intentions to engage in col- weight of environmental benefits and sustainability laborative consumption of apparel. Previous studies in will not be the same for all industries (Minami, Ramos, SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 155 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL and Bortoluzzo 2021). Nevertheless, a review of stud- value and symbolic value have a significant effect on ies conducted on collaborative consumption within empathy toward collaborative consumption practices. the apparel industry also reveals similarly conflicting Thus, it is hypothesized that: findings. While some studies show that environmen- H4a: Utilitarian value positively influences female tal benefits and sustainability are considered impor - consumers’ empathy toward collaborative con- tant drivers for collaborative apparel consumption sumption of apparel. (Armstrong et al. 2015; Pantano and Stylos 2020), oth- H4b: Hedonic value positively influences female ers show that their effect on consumers’ attitudes and consumers’ empathy toward collaborative con- behavioral intentions is either limited (Vincent and sumption of apparel. Gaur 2021) or not significant (Baek and Oh 2021). In H4c: Symbolic value positively influences female the light of these findings in prior research, this study consumers’ empathy toward collaborative con- hypothesizes that: sumption of apparel. H3a: Symbolic value positively influences female consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative con- sumption of apparel. 2.5. Empathy, attitudes and behavioral H3b: Symbolic value positively influences female intentions consumers’ behavioral intentions to engage in col- laborative consumption of apparel. In their study, Hwang and Griffiths (2017) also inves- tigate the effect of empathy on consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative con- sumption. Since the concept of empathy has not 2.4. Values and empathy been fully acknowledged within the literature on col- Another concept that may be very important in col- laborative consumption, the researchers cite other laborative consumption but has not been fully ac- studies conducted in related fields to support their knowledged is empathy. Briefly defined as “a person’s arguments. For example, Escalas and Stern (2003) ar- absorption in the feelings of another” (Escalas and gue that consumers’ attitudes toward a commercial Stern 2003, p. 567), empathy is considered a significant are very much affected by their empathy toward that factor for explaining prosocial behavior (White, Habib, commercial. Based on this study, Hwang and Griffiths and Dahl 2020). Empathy makes people adopt others’ (2017) hypothesize that consumers who feel empathy perspectives, thus motivating them to take altruistic toward collaborative consumption are more likely to actions to help those in need (Hwang and Griffiths have a more favorable attitude toward these practic- 2017). The importance of empathy and its relationship es. In a similar vein, the researchers cite some studies with prosocial behavior has been studied for a long from the fields of personality and social psychology time in developmental, social and clinical psychol- (e.g., Mehrabian and Epstein 1972; Davis et al. 1999; ogy (Eisenberg and Fabes 1990). However, the critical Graziano et al. 2007) to support their argument that role it may play in better understanding consumers’ empathy may serve as an altruistic motivation for be- attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collabora- havioral intentions toward collaborative consumption tive consumption has received only limited attention practices. The findings of Hwang and Griffiths (2017) within the literature on collaborative consumption. To support prior research as the effect of empathy on our knowledge, the earliest of these limited attempts consumers’ behavioral intentions toward collaborative is the study by Hwang and Griffiths (2017). In this consumption is found to be significant and positive. study, the researchers state that it is possible to con- Thus, it is hypothesized that: sider collaborative consumption practices as a form of H5a: Empathy toward collaborative consumption prosocial behavior since collaborative consumption of apparel positively influences female consum- is, at the same time, concerned with others’ welfare. ers’ attitudes toward collaborative consumption of Citing the study by Batson et al. (2007) within the field apparel. of social psychology, Hwang and Griffiths (2017) argue H5b: Empathy toward collaborative consumption that utilitarian, hedonic and symbolic values associ- of apparel positively influences female consumers’ ated with this form of prosocial behavior will increase behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative consumers’ empathy toward collaborative consump- consumption of apparel. tion as caring for the welfare of others generates em- pathic concern. Even if their findings do not provide As in many contexts related to consumer behavior, support for the expected relationship between utili- the relationship between consumers’ attitudes and be- tarian value and empathy, they reveal that hedonic havioral intentions toward collaborative consumption 156 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL practices has also been studied extensively in this attempts highlight some personality traits as bound- specific research stream (Barnes and Mattsson 2017; ary conditions and investigate their effect as potential Hwang and Griffiths 2017). In these studies, two inter - moderators. For example, in their study, Akbar, Mai, twined theories- the theory of reasoned action (TRA) and Hoffmann (2016) argue that the desire for unique and the theory of planned behavior (TPB)- are usually consumer products may act as a moderator. Their drawn upon to theoretically support how attitudes findings reveal that consumers with a strong desire may act as a significant predictor of behavioral inten- for unique consumer products are more likely to turn tions. According to the TRA (Ajzen and Fishbein 1980), their sharing intention into engaging in collaborative individuals’ intention to act is determined by two fac- consumption practices. tors, which are attitudes toward behavior and subjec- As this study focuses on the collaborative con- tive norms. The TPB (Ajzen 1991) is an extension of sumption of apparel, it is important to investigate the the TRA in the sense that it introduces perceived be- moderating effect of materialism and the need for havioral control as an additional third factor that may uniqueness. A review of the studies on the apparel affect behavioral intentions and subsequently lead to industry reveals that these two traits are frequently behavior. These two theories have been commonly highlighted as important for better understand- adopted by prior studies on collaborative consump- ing consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions tion to support the relationship between attitudes (Johnson, Mun, and Chae 2016; Lang and Armstrong and behavioral intentions (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; 2018). Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018; Činjarević, there exist no studies explicitly investigating the po- Kožo, and Berberović 2019; Roos and Hahn 2019). tential moderating effect of materialism and the need In some studies, the relationship between attitudes for uniqueness in the context of collaborative apparel and behavioral intentions is found to be weaker consumption. Still, the discussion on the characteris- than expected (Hamari, Sjöklint, and Ukkonen 2016). tics of these traits provides indications that both ma- Nevertheless, most of the studies conducted in the terialism and need for uniqueness may have a nega- context of collaborative apparel consumption support tive effect in the context of collaborative consumption that attitudes strongly shape behavioral intentions (Akbar, Mai, and Hoffmann 2016; Lang and Armstrong (Johnson, Mun, and Chae 2016; Becker-Leifhold 2018; 2018; Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018). Baek and Oh 2021). Thus, it is hypothesized that: For materialistic consumers, the apparel they wear H6: Female consumers’ attitudes toward collabora- is essential for impression management since it may tive consumption of apparel positively influence reflect their social status and success (Becker-Leifhold their behavioral intentions to engage in collabora- 2018). It is also important for these consumers to own tive consumption of apparel. this apparel as ownership of products is at the center of their lives (Lang and Armstrong 2018). However, due to the absence of permanent ownership in col- laborative consumption, materialistic consumers 2.6. Moderating effect of materialism and might show resistance to collaborative consumption need for uniqueness of apparel as they do not favor giving up the own- Consumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consump- ership of their perfectly good apparel (Akbar, Mai, tion and behavioral intentions to engage in such and Hoffmann 2016; Lang and Armstrong 2018). collaborative practices may differ according to con- Consumers with a high need for uniqueness might sumers’ different personality traits. In the extant lit - also show some resistance to collaborative consump- erature, a group of studies highlights the critical role tion of apparel. Even if collaborative consumption that personality traits such as materialism and the platforms provide these consumers with an infinite need for uniqueness may play in collaborative con- wardrobe, giving them the chance to keep up with sumption (Akbar, Mai, and Hoffmann 2016; Davidson, the latest fashion trends at an affordable cost, there is Habibi, and Laroche 2018; Lang and Armstrong 2018; the risk of wearing similar apparel as others and not Lindblom, Lindblom, and Wechtler 2018). These stud- standing out from the crowd (Lang and Armstrong ies generally examine these traits as potential drivers 2018). that directly affect collaborative consumption atti- In light of these findings in prior research, the ef- tudes and behavioral intentions; however, there is no fect of the different types of value perceptions on con- consensus in their findings. Thus, as fertile research sumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward ground, further studies are highly needed to under- collaborative consumption is expected to be weaker stand better the role of these personality traits in col- for consumers scoring high on materialism and the laborative consumption. Based on this need, very few need for uniqueness. Otherwise stated, we expect that SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 157 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL materialism and the need for uniqueness will have a hedonic value, and three items for symbolic value) negative moderating effect on the impact of value and the four items measuring empathy were all taken perceptions on consumers’ attitudes and behavioral from Hwang and Griffiths (2017). Consumers’ attitude intentions toward collaborative consumption. toward collaborative consumption was also measured H7: Materialism negatively moderates (weakens) by the four items adopted from Hwang and Griffiths the effect that value perceptions (utilitarian, he - (2017), while consumers’ behavioral intention to en- donic and symbolic) have on female consumers’ gage in collaborative consumption was measured (a) attitudes toward collaborative consumption of by the two items adapted from Lamberton and Rose apparel and (b) behavioral intentions to engage in (2012). Of the two personality traits used as modera- collaborative consumption of apparel. tors, materialism was measured through a four-item H8: The need for uniqueness negatively moder- scale from Lang and Armstrong (2018). The need for ates (weakens) the effect that value perceptions uniqueness was measured through a three-item scale (utilitarian, hedonic and symbolic) have on fe- from Mazodier and Merunka (2014). These two scales male consumers’ (a) attitudes toward collaborative were the shortened versions of the original scales consumption of apparel and (b) behavioral inten- developed by Richins (2004) and Tian and McKenzie tions to engage in collaborative consumption of (2001), respectively. Since the original measurement apparel. items were all in English, a back-translation process was applied to translate the measurement items into The conceptual model shown in Figure 1 is pro- Turkish. In the last part of the questionnaire, demo- posed based on the existing literature. graphic information regarding the respondents, such as age, marital status, education, personal monthly income and working status, was collected. All items except demographic information were measured us- 3. Research methodology ing five-point Likert or semantic differential scales. 3.1. Measures For ensuring the clarity of measurement items, a pilot All the measurement items were derived from ex- test was conducted using a convenience sample of 12 tant literature and adapted to the research context. graduate students, and the necessary revisions were The items measuring the different value percep - made based on their feedback. tions (three items for utilitarian value, three items for Figure 1. Conceptual model Value Perceptions H4a, H4b, H4c Empathy Utilitarian Value Behavioral Intention to H5b H5a Engage Hedonic Value H1a, H2a, H3a Symbolic Value Attitude H6 H7a, H8a H1b, H2b, H3b Moderators: Materialism Need for Uniqueness H7b, H8b 158 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL 3.2. Data collection and sample that the minimum sample size should be ten times The data was collected via an online self-administered the maximum number of paths directed at any con- scenario-based survey. In recent years, collaborative struct in the outer and inner models (Barclay, Higgins, consumption of apparel has started gaining attention and Thompson 1995; Hair, Sarstedt, Pieper, and Ringle among academics (Becker-Leifhold 2018; Iran, Geiger, 2012). The majority of the respondents were between and Schrader 2019; Park and Armstrong 2019a). It has the age groups of 25-34 years (66 %), followed by 18- also become popular, especially among female con- 24 years (27.5%) and 35-44 years (5.3%). This profile sumers worldwide, including in Turkey. Thus, a col- is consistent with the samples of previous studies laborative apparel consumption service is chosen as on collaborative consumption, given that millenni- the focus for the scenario. The scenario to be used is als constitute the leading consumer group for such adopted from the study by Hwang and Griffiths (2017) collaborative practices (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; and translated into Turkish. As suggested, a hypotheti- Mittendorf 2018; Činjarević, Kožo, and Berberović cal company is used to avoid biasing the respondents 2019). The demographic profile of the sample is pre - by the company name. Initially, the respondents were sented in Table 1. told that their participation in the study would be vol- Due to the self-reported and cross-sectional na- untary and that their responses would be kept confi- ture of the data, there is the possibility of common dential. The respondents who agreed to participate method variance (CMV) that runs the risk of inflat - were first provided with brief information regarding ing the strength of observed structural relationships the collaborative consumption practices, and then among the constructs (Ali et al. 2020). For alleviating they were asked to read the presented scenario. After concerns about CMV, Harman’s one-factor test was that, the respondents were asked to indicate their re- used. A total of six factors with Eigenvalues greater sponses to the statements in the survey. than one were reported. The first factor accounted for The survey was carried out through email and only 36.4 % of the total variance explained, suggest- social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, ing that CMV is unlikely to be a severe concern for this LinkedIn and WhatsApp), where a link to the survey study (Podsakoff et al. 2003). was posted. Through convenience and snowball sampling techniques, 247 usable responses were col- lected from female consumers in Turkey within four 4. Analysis and results weeks. This sample size may be considered adequate for this kind of research, given that the “ten times This study employs the PLS-SEM technique for rule” is widely used for sample size estimations in par- data analysis. PLS-SEM has become popular in aca- tial least squares and structural equation modeling demia due to the various advantages it offers, such (PLS-SEM) that is also to be used in this study (Hair, as fewer restrictions on sample size and normality Sarstedt, Ringle, and Mena 2012). This rule suggests of data, easiness of application to complex models Table 1. Sample demographics Variable Category Frequency % Variable Category Frequency % 18-24 68 27.5 Private Sector 150 60.7 25-34 163 66.0 Public Sector 20 8.1 Age 35-44 13 5.3 Self-Employed 5 2.0 Working 45-54 2 0.8 Unemployed 18 7.3 Status 55-64 1 0.4 Housewife 15 6.1 Married 53 21.5 Student 37 15.0 Marital Status Single 194 78.5 Other 2 0.8 ElementarySchool 1 0.4 Less than 3000 ₺ 121 49.0 Middle School - - 3000-5999 ₺ 106 42.9 Personal High School 33 13.4 12 4.9 6000-8999 ₺ Education Monthly University 162 65.6 9000-11999 ₺ 1 0.4 Income Master 50 20.2 12000-14999 ₺ 3 1.2 Ph.D. 1 0.4 15000 ₺ and more 4 1.6 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 159 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL and flexibility in constructing theory (Rigdon 2016; outlined by Hair and his colleagues (2020), first, the Sarstedt, Ringle, and Hair 2017; Xiao and Mou 2019; Ali loadings and their significance are examined. As a rule et al. 2020; Cao et al. 2021). In this study, SmartPLS 3 of thumb, the standardized factor loadings should software (Ringle, Wende, and Becker 2015) is used to ideally be higher than 0.70, but values higher than assess the measurement and structural models. 0.50 are still acceptable (Hair et al. 2014). After remov- ing the two low-loading items (less than 0.50) from the materialism construct, the results reveal that all factor loadings are very close or exceed the suggested 4.1. Measurement model assessment threshold of 0.70, as shown in Table 2. The measurement model is assessed using the con- In the next step, the reliability of the constructs is firmatory composite analysis recently proposed by measured by Cronbach’s alpha (α) and composite reli- Hair, Howard, and Nitzl (2020) as an alternative to con- ability (CR). It is suggested that both of these reliability firmatory factor analysis for confirming measurement criteria should be above 0.70 (Hair, Howard, and Nitzl models when using PLS-SEM. Following the steps 2020). As shown in Table 2, all the CR and Cronbach’s Table 2. Measurement model results Factor b,c Construct Code t-value α CR AVE loadings Utilitarian Value UV1 0.834 35.225 UV2 0.882 48.749 0.814 0.890 0.729 UV3 0.845 32.943 Hedonic Value HV1 0.913 60.803 HV2 0.929 78.474 0.889 0.931 0.818 HV3 0.871 42.428 Symbolic Value SV1 0.873 50.803 SV2 0.916 57.174 0.873 0.920 0.792 SV3 0.881 39.942 Empathy EMP1 0.747 15.468 EMP2 0.901 56.100 0.861 0.906 0.707 EMP3 0.892 53.570 EMP4 0.814 22.870 Attitude ATT1 0.930 77.865 ATT2 0.863 31.283 0.926 0.948 0.820 ATT3 0.907 38.258 ATT4 0.920 60.349 Behavioral Intention BIE1 0.958 124.825 0.909 0.957 0.917 BIE2 0.957 121.185 Materialism MAT1 0.900 5.032 MAT2a - - 0.702 0.890 0.769 MAT3a - - MAT4 0.854 4.092 Need for Uniqueness NFU1 0.683 2.570 NFU2 0.795 3.488 0.849 0.865 0.686 NFU3 0.979 3.343 The item was problematic, so it was removed from the final analysis. t-values were obtained by executing 5000 Bootstrap runs. Absolute t-values>1.96 were two-tailed significant at 5%. 160 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL alpha values are higher than the threshold of 0.70, and Sarstedt 2015; Hair et al. 2017). Next, the structur- indicating a good level of reliability. The convergent al relationships in the proposed model are tested by validity was assessed by examining the average vari- using a PLS algorithm and a bootstrapping procedure ance extracted (AVE). As suggested by Fornell and (based on 5000 bootstrap samples). The path coeffi- Larcker (1981), AVE values should be greater than cients, standard errors (SE), t-values and accompany- 0.50. Table 2 shows that the AVE of all constructs ex- ing bootstrap confidence intervals at 95% are shown ceeds this threshold value of 0.50, indicating good in Table 4. An examination of path coefficients and convergent validity. For assessing the discriminant significance levels suggests eight of the direct effects validity, both Fornell-Larcker’s criterion and the and three of the moderating effects were significant. heterotrait-monotrait ratio of correlations (HTMT), as The results indicate that utilitarian value (β=0.338, proposed by Henseler, Ringle, and Sarstedt (2015), p < 0.001) and symbolic value (β=0.268, p < 0.001) were used. As shown in Table 3, the AVE square root both have a significant and positive effect on con- of each construct is higher than the absolute value of sumers’ attitudes toward collaborative consumption its correlation with other constructs in the model, as of apparel, supporting H1a and H3a. However, he- suggested by Fornell and Larcker (1981). Table 3 also donic value is found to have no significant effect on shows the ratio of correlations for HTMT, and it is ob- consumers’ attitudes (β=0.020, p > 0.05), failing to served that all the HTMT ratios are less than the widely support H2a. Regarding consumers’ behavioral inten- accepted threshold of 0.85 (Voorhees et al. 2015). All tions, it is found that both hedonic value (β=0.161, these results indicate that discriminant validity is also p < 0.05) and symbolic value (β=0.187, p < 0.01) have a acceptable. positive and significant effect on behavioral intention to engage in collaborative consumption of apparel. In contrast, the effect of utilitarian value on consumers’ behavioral intentions (β=- 0.012, p > 0.05) is found 4.2. Structural model assessment to be not significant. Even if these results fail to sup - Following the recommendations by Hair, Howard, and port H1b, they support H2b and H3b. Hedonic value Nitzl (2020), this study first tests the multicollinear - (β=0.350, p < 0.001) and symbolic value (β=0.224, ity of the structural model constructs before testing p < 0.01) are also found to have a significant and posi- the hypotheses. For that, the variance inflation factor tive effect on empathy, supporting H4b and H4c. Since (VIF) values are examined. All VIF values are less than the effect of utilitarian value on empathy (β=0.065, 5, suggesting that multicollinearity is unlikely to be a p > 0.05) is not significant, H4a is not supported. Next, problem in this study (Hair et al. 2014). The model fit empathy is found to have a positive effect on con- is also assessed by examining the standardized root- sumers’ attitudes (β=0.229, p < 0.001), while its effect mean-square residual (SRMR). A value that is less than on behavioral intentions (β=0.012, p > 0.05) is not 0.080 is usually considered a relatively good fit (Hu significant, supporting only H5a but not H5b. Finally, and Bentler 1999). In this study, the SRMR is calculated as expected, consumers’ attitudes positively and sig- as 0.078, suggesting a relatively good fit between the nificantly affect their behavioral intentions to engage hypothesized model and the data (Henseler, Ringle, in collaborative consumption of apparel (β=0.534, Table 3. Correlations and discriminant validity results 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1. Utilitarian Value 0.854 0.427 0.593 0.369 0.640 0.517 0.096 0.086 2. Hedonic Value 0.360 0.905 0.660 0.563 0.458 0.555 0.080 0.165 3. Symbolic Value 0.530 0.603 0.890 0.519 0.594 0.627 0.074 0.096 4. Empathy 0.309 0.509 0.470 0.841 0.522 0.480 0.094 0.141 5. Attitude 0.557 0.419 0.565 0.469 0.905 0.766 0.148 0.131 6. Behavioral Intention 0.446 0.500 0.586 0.428 0.706 0.958 0.135 0.110 7. Materialism 0.076 -0.049 -0.044 -0.017 0.117 0.109 0.877 0.665 8. Need for Uniqueness 0.026 0.030 0.080 0.125 0.161 0.137 0.489 0.828 Diagonal and italicized elements are the square roots of the AVE. Below the diagonal elements are the correlations between the constructs. Above the diagonal elements are the HTMT values. SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 161 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL 2 2 p < 0.001), supporting H6. The results of the hypoth- is R . Even if R is claimed to vary depending on the eses tests are summarized in Table 4. research field, the R values of 0.75, 0.50 and 0.25 are It is also important to examine the predictive abil- generally considered substantial, moderate and weak, ity of the structural model. Two different metrics - the respectively (Sarstedt, Ringle and Hair 2017). The R 2 2 2 coefficient of determination (R ) and Stone-Geisser’s (empathy)=0.303, R (attitude)=0.455 and R (be- 2 2 Q value (Geisser, 1974; Stone, 1974) - may be used for havioral intention) =0.567 suggest that all R values 2 2 assessing prediction (Hair, Howard, and Nitzl 2020). are acceptable. In addition to R , the Q may also be Of these two metrics, the more commonly used one used to assess the model’s predictive ability. Even if, Table 4. Structural model results Path %95 confidence Support Structural path Boot SE t-value coefficient interval Yes/No Direct effects Utilitarian Value→Attitude 0.338*** 0.061 5.563 (0.219, 0.455) Supported n.s Utilitarian Value→Behavioral Intention -0.012 0.069 0.177 (-0.146, 0.126) Not Supported n.s 0.020 0.064 0.309 (-0.115, 0.137) Not Supported Hedonic Value→Attitude Hedonic Value→Behavioral Intention 0.161* 0.070 2.299 (0.023, 0.301) Supported Symbolic Value→Attitude 0.268*** 0.067 4.007 (0.133, 0.397) Supported Symbolic Value→Behavioral Intention 0.187** 0.072 2.597 (0.047, 0.326) Supported n.s Utilitarian Value→Empathy 0.065 0.079 0.822 (-0.084, 0.221) Not Supported Hedonic Value→Empathy 0.350*** 0.082 4.272 (0.184, 0.498) Supported Symbolic Value→Empathy 0.224** 0.083 2.709 (0.064, 0.387) Supported Empathy→Attitude 0.229*** 0.060 3.817 (0.116, 0.348) Supported n.s Empathy→Behavioral Intention 0.012 0.059 0.205 (-0.098, 0.133) Not Supported 0.534*** 0.060 8.938 (0.416, 0.653) Supported Attitude→Behavioral Intention Moderating effects Utilitarian Value*Materialism →Attitude -0.126** 0.045 2.792 (-0.231,-0.064) Supported n.s 0.008 0.074 0.105 (-0.131, 0.156) Not Supported Hedonic Value*Materialism →Attitude n.s Symbolic Value*Materialism →Attitude -0.097 0.129 0.749 (-0.191, 0.228) Not Supported n.s Utilitarian Value*Materialism →Behavioral -0.001 0.055 0.010 (-0.117, 0.120) Not Supported Intention Hedonic Value*Materialism →Behavioral -0.130** 0.040 3.283 (-0.210,-0.058) Supported Intention n.s -0.073 0.083 0.882 (-0.145, 0.164) Not Supported Symbolic Value*Materialism →Behavioral Intention n.s Utilitarian Value*Need for Uniqueness→ -0.115 0.063 1.817 (-0.211, 0.088) Not Supported Attitude n.s Hedonic Value* Need for Uniqueness -0.034 0.068 0.496 (-0.174, 0.128) Not Supported →Attitude n.s Symbolic Value* Need for Uniqueness 0.036 0.045 0.790 (-0.077, 0.103) Not Supported →Attitude n.s Utilitarian Value*Need for Uniqueness→ -0.135 0.131 1.031 (-0.258, 0.210) Not Supported Behavioral Intention n.s Hedonic Value* Need for Uniqueness → -0.095 0.078 1.221 (-0.227, 0.169) Not Supported Behavioral Intention Symbolic Value*Need for Uniqueness -0.145** 0.045 3.240 (-0.236,-0.076) Supported →Behavioral Intention Note: *p <0.05, ** p <0.01, *** p <0.001, n.s = Not significant 162 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL as a rule of thumb, any Q value higher than zero is attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collabora- considered acceptable, the Q values of 0.02, 0.15 and tive consumption of apparel. Yet, it is essential to note 0.35 are mentioned as thresholds for a small, medium, that the effect of each value perception is different or large predictive relevance, respectively (Sarstedt, and thus, needs to be discussed separately. As ex- Ringle, and Hair 2017). Using the blindfolding ap- pected, the utilitarian value associated with collabora- proach, the Q that is calculated for empathy, attitude tive consumption positively affects female consumers’ and behavioral intention is 0.202, 0.365 and 0.503, attitudes toward such practices. This finding is in line suggesting that the model is predictive. with the findings of earlier studies (Bucher, Fieseler, and Lutz 2016; Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Baek and Oh 2021). However, contrary to expectations, the results do not support the relationship between utilitarian 4.3. Moderating effects value and behavioral intentions. This unexpected find- For testing the moderating effects of materialism ing suggests that other value perceptions might affect and the need for uniqueness, the PLS-product indica- behavioral intentions more strongly than utilitarian tor approach was used (Chin, Marcolin, and Newsted value perceptions. Even if limited in number, there are 2003). The moderation analyses were run in such that other studies that report similar findings (Möhlmann only one moderator was considered at a time. The 2015; Ianole-Calin, Druica, Hubona, and Wu 2021). results of the moderation analyses are also provided In particular, the results of this study show that in Table 4. These results reveal that materialism weak- hedonic and symbolic values are more meaningful ens utilitarian value’s effect on consumers’ attitudes drivers for behavioral intention to engage in collabo- (β=-0.126, p < 0.01) and hedonic value’s effect on rative consumption practices, at least in the context consumers’ behavioral intentions (β=-0.130, p < 0.01), of female consumers’ behavioral intention to engage but it does not have a significant moderating effect on in such practices in the apparel industry. Given the other hypothesized relationships. Thus, H7a and H7b apparel industry’s hedonic nature, it is not surpris- are partially supported. Concerning the moderating ing that hedonic value positively affects behavioral effect of the need for uniqueness, the results indicate intention to engage in collaborative consumption that the need for uniqueness negatively affects the practices. The enjoyment and fun female consumers relationship between symbolic value and consumers’ experience with the infinite wardrobe that collabora- behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative con- tive consumption offers them is a significant driver to sumption (β=-0.145, p < 0.01). However, it shows no engage in such practices. With collaborative consump- significant moderating effect on other relationships. tion, female consumers have the opportunity to have Thus, while H8a is not supported, H8b is partially access to apparel that would otherwise be impossible supported. for them to afford and, thus, enjoy this “Cinderella moment” (Pantano and Stylos 2020). This study also highlights the critical role symbolic value plays in the apparel context. Although there is a lack of consensus 5. Discussion and implications on the role of symbolic value in previous studies (Baek Collaborative consumption has emerged as the and Oh 2021; Vincent and Gaur 2021), the results of new trend of this century, and powered by the ad- this study clearly reveal that symbolic value positively vances in information technology, this alternative affects both the attitudes and behavioral intentions of to traditional ownership-based consumption has female consumers toward collaborative consumption grown among consumers and investors (Paro et al. of apparel. This finding is not surprising, given that, in 2021). Thus, it is nowadays possible to see examples prior research, environmental motivations are claimed of various collaborative consumption platforms across to be significantly more important for women than various industries, including the apparel industry. men (Böcker and Meelen 2017). Regarding the effect Especially women are very much interested in this of value perceptions on empathy, only hedonic value new form of ownership. Building on this interest, this and symbolic value are found to have a significant study focuses on the apparel industry and investi- and positive effect, which is again in line with prior gates how the different value perceptions- utilitarian, research (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). All these findings hedonic and symbolic- affect female consumers’ at - reveal that it is essential to recognize and acknowl- titudes toward collaborative consumption of apparel edge the different types of value perceptions, as each and their behavioral intentions to engage in such may have a different effect. practices. The results of the study reveal that value The results of this study also support the hypoth- perceptions significantly affect female consumers’ esized relationship between empathy and attitude, SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 163 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL suggesting that consumers who feel empathy toward and Meelen 2017). Thus, this study argues that indus- collaborative consumption of apparel are more likely try-specific studies are highly needed to resolve some to have positive attitudes toward such practices. Even of the inconsistencies in research findings, as each fac - if empathy may act as a significant antecedent for at - tor’s significance might change depending on the in- titudes, contrary to the hypothesized relationship in dustry in which that study is conducted. Second, this the proposed model, empathy does not directly trans- study confirms that value perceptions play a critical late into behavioral intentions. In other words, feeling role in the context of collaborative consumption of empathy toward collaborative apparel consumption apparel. At the same time, it also highlights the impor- is not a strong enough driver for engaging in such tance of studying the effects of the different types of practices. Instead, it is through the attitudes that em- value perceptions separately since each may have a pathy may have an impact on behavioral intentions. significantly different effect on female consumers’ at - As anticipated, the results reveal that attitudes have a titudes toward collaborative consumption and their powerful effect on behavioral intentions. This finding behavioral intentions to engage in such practices. is consistent with Ajzen and Fishbein’s (1980) theory Third, the findings of this study reveal that empathy of reasoned action. has a significant effect on female consumers’ attitudes This study also investigates the potential moderat- toward collaborative consumption of apparel. It is the ing effect of materialism and the need for uniqueness hedonic and symbolic values that have an impact on in the context of collaborative apparel consumption, these empathic emotions. Thus, this study points out and partial support for the hypothesized moderating empathy as an important emotional factor that may effects is provided. In particular, the results show that enrich collaborative consumption literature. Finally, materialism plays a critical role as a potential mod- this study contributes to the literature on collabora- erator because it weakens both the positive effect of tive consumption by providing concrete evidence utilitarian value on attitudes and the positive effect of for the critical role that materialism and the need for hedonic value on behavioral intentions. The need for uniqueness may play as moderators. uniqueness also has a similar effect as the positive ef- From a managerial perspective, some significant fect that symbolic value has on behavioral intentions implications may also be derived from the findings of is weakened for those consumers who have a higher this study that will be important in helping managers need for uniqueness. These findings are important of this industry approach female consumers more ef- in showing that these personality traits should be fectively. For many years, the utilitarian value associ- integrated into research on collaborative apparel ated with collaborative consumption has received the consumption to better understand the relationships utmost attention among researchers as the most criti- between value perceptions and consumers’ responses cal determinant of consumers’ attitudes (Barnes and to collaborative consumption of apparel. Mattsson 2017; Benoit et al. 2017). However, this study reveals that hedonic and symbolic values associated with collaborative consumption are also important and suggest alternative ways for managers to en- 5.1. Theoretical and managerial implications hance consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions Collaborative consumption has received consider- toward collaborative consumption of apparel. One able attention from academics and practitioners, es- way is obviously by communicating the utilitarian val- pecially within the last decade. Nevertheless, as pre- ue of collaborative consumption and enhancing con- viously stated, collaborative consumption research sumers’ attitudes, which in turn enhances consumers’ is still considered to be in its early stage, and further intention to engage in such practices. For this reason, studies are needed. Building on this need, this study the utilitarian benefits, especially the cost savings that contributes to this research field by filling some gaps become possible through collaborative practices, are in the extant literature and extending current knowl- mostly promoted in the advertisements by companies edge on collaborative consumption. First, this study that provide collaborative consumption goods or ser- focuses on collaborative apparel consumption, which vices (Hwang and Griffiths 2017). has recently become quite popular, especially among However, it is also vital for managers of these female consumers and investigates the factors that af- companies to emphasize the hedonic and symbolic fect female consumers’ attitudes and behavioral inten- values associated with collaborative consumption in tions toward collaborative consumption of apparel. their advertisements since these values play a critical Even if some of the findings are inconsistent with pre - role in enhancing consumers’ attitudes and behavioral vious studies, these inconsistencies may be explained intentions. Hedonic value has a direct, positive effect based on the industry-specific characteristics (Böcker on behavioral intentions. Thus, these feelings of fun 164 SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS, VOLUME 16 (2) 2021 THE INFINITE WARDROBE: FEMALE CONSUMERS’ VALUE PERCEPTIONS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION OF APPAREL and enjoyment associated with the collaborative con- consumer group for collaborative consumption prac- sumption experience, in other words, the “Cinderella tices (Hwang and Griffiths 2017; Činjarević, Kožo, and moment”, may be used by managers to encourage Berberović 2019), the hypothesized relationships in more consumers to engage in collaborative consump- this study may be tested with Millennials only. Some tion practices. Within this context, symbolic value comparative studies may also be conducted across plays an even more critical role because it has a direct, different generational cohorts. Also, as the data col- positive effect on both attitudes and behavioral inten- lection was completed before the outbreak of the tions. Thus, managers need to acknowledge the signif- Covid-19 pandemic, it is impossible to generalize this icance of symbolic value associated with collaborative study’s findings to the pandemic situation. Yet, it will consumption practices and consider including the be interesting to replicate this study after the pan- altruistic or social benefits in their value propositions. demic and comparatively discuss the findings. Fourth, In addition to these direct ways, from hedonic this study examines the moderating effect of the need and symbolic values to consumers’ attitudes and/or for uniqueness and materialism on consumers’ atti- behavioral intentions, an indirect but highly critical tudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative way may also be employed. As the results of this study practices. However, researchers need to integrate oth- reveal, hedonic and symbolic values help consumers er personality traits such as innovativeness or experi- feel empathy toward collaborative practices, which ence seeking in their future studies. In addition, in this positively affects consumers’ attitudes and, in turn, be - study, materialism is considered a one-dimensional havioral intentions toward collaborative consumption. concept. However, materialism also has its sub-dimen- Therefore, managers should consider different ways of sions, which are possessiveness and non-generosity including the hedonic (i.e., feelings of fun, enjoyment (Belk 1984). It may be important to consider the ef- and entertainment) and symbolic values (i.e., concern fects of these sub-dimensions in the context of col- for the environmental and sustainability issues) in laborative consumption, as each may have a different their commercials to approach their consumers more effect (Akbar, Mai, and Hoffmann 2016). Future stud- effectively. Managers should also consider how effec - ies may also explore new factors not covered in this tive these strategies will be when paired with consum- study. For example, previous studies reveal that trust ers’ personality traits. This study reveals that the effect in the service providers and intermediaries influences of some value perceptions on consumers’ attitudes the consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions and behavioral intentions is weakened in consumers toward the collaborative consumption practices on who are more materialistic and have a higher need for online platforms (Mittendorf 2018). Finally, the find- uniqueness. Thus, managers need to consider the dif- ings of this study are limited to female consumers in ferent personality traits of their consumers and design Turkey. Since gender and cultural dimensions may sig- their strategies accordingly. nificantly affect consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward collaborative consumption, future researchers need to include men and consumers from other cultures. 5.2. Limitations and future research While this study contributes to the literature on col- laborative consumption, its findings should be as- sessed in light of some limitations that provide further research directions. First, the cross-sectional nature of Authors’ Note the data and the limited sample size limit confidence This study is based on the first author’s master’s in causal inferences. Thus, further research is neces- thesis submitted to Istanbul Bilgi University, under sary to validate the findings of the study. Second, this the supervision of the second author. study investigates the effect of value perceptions on consumers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions to engage in collaborative consumption in the apparel industry. 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Journal

South East European Journal of Economics and Businessde Gruyter

Published: Dec 1, 2021

Keywords: Collaborative consumption; value; empathy; materialism; need for uniqueness; apparel; M00; M31

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