Repair is a key component of a circular economy. This process includes replacing and servicing equipment and machinery as well as functional checks. The main goal is to maintain and repair the asset, thereby restoring it to full functionality. However, some repairs are more expensive than others. Depending on the root cause of failure, the cost of repairing an asset can vary from nominal to prohibitive.
It is important to understand the different drivers that influence repair decision making. A recent study explored the influence of diverse drivers, such as economic, social and environmental factors. While the results of this research are not yet fully distilled, the findings are still useful to design more effective repair services.
There are three key drivers that determine the degree of demand for a repair service. These include the repair time, repair cost and expectation of repair completion. In this regard, the results are more relevant to urban populations than rural ones. On the other hand, the differences in the level of repair are mainly influenced by the quality and accessibility of the local repair network.
The maximum accepted repair price is a well-defined range. Consumers are willing to pay between 19 percent and 30 percent of the purchase price for product repair.
Despite the growing number of products sold, repair services have not been expanding to meet the demand. Research shows that women are more likely to use repair services than men. Additionally, social groups like friends and family have a greater impact on repair decisions. Compared to men, women are also more likely to have a higher trust in repair service providers.
Although the most significant factor affecting repair decision making is the perceived repair difficulty, this is not as big of a factor as it may seem. For instance, a broken AC can be seen as a sign of a problem with the air conditioning system. Similarly, a dirty air filter may lead to a partial failure. Nevertheless, even a failed air filter can be useful, as it helps keep the air clean.
A second, less specific driver is the impact of past behaviour on repair intention. Several studies have demonstrated that previous repair experience has a positive effect on repair intentions. However, this is not enough to significantly boost the repair industry.
The third factor, known as the economic driver, is not as straightforward. Considering the fact that some repair types are more expensive than others, this could lead to a perception of repair as being unprofitable. Another factor, known as the economic cost of repair, is another way to measure the level of repair intention.
As these three drivers are often in direct competition with each other, a more encompassing analysis is required to determine which factor is more important to consumers. This can be accomplished through qualitative research that looks at underlying motives of consumers. Ultimately, the findings of this research can provide public authorities with the evidence to help them improve the design of their repair services.