One of the central elements of a circular economy is repair. It allows for equipment to be restored to its full functionality. Equipment breakdowns can be caused by a number of factors. They can be the result of a freak accident or natural wear and tear.
The repair services industry has seen a recent decline in the number of service providers. In some countries, the government may take a more active role in promoting repair by establishing a repair network or subsidising repair cafes. However, there are some hurdles to overcome before the repair service industry can become a major contributor to the circular economy. Research has uncovered some of these hurdles and suggests potential solutions.
One of the major hurdles to overcome is accessibility to repair services. In particular, the repair services industry is affected by issues related to infrastructural shortcomings. Another factor affecting repair is the amount of time it takes to complete repairs. This is affected by a variety of factors, including seasonal volume.
Repairing a malfunctioning device is not an inexpensive endeavor, and the cost can vary significantly based on the extent of the failure. A study conducted by the European Commission found that consumers were willing to pay between 19% and 30% of the purchase price for product repair. Despite this, consumers are still less likely to use the repair services than they were in the past.
There are many reasons to consider repair as an alternative to buying a new device. For example, a defective air filter could reduce the life of a vehicle’s AC. Also, a malfunctioning air filter can negatively affect the environment. Similarly, a broken battery can damage a cell phone. Thus, the importance of repair has increased, especially for those whose lifestyle depends on a functioning mobile device.
In the realm of repair, however, there is a tradeoff between environmental and economic considerations. To measure the benefits of repairing, the research team investigated the effect of environmental concerns on repair intention, in particular the perceived cost-benefit of repairing.
One of the most important drivers of repair is the trustworthiness of the repair service provider. Specifically, social networks and word-of-mouth communication through experts are important influencing factors. Trust is particularly a boon to women, who are more likely to opt for a repair service provider.
In a nutshell, the best repair service is one that is affordable, accessible, and able to solve the problem. This requires a combination of financial support, infrastructural improvements and a better understanding of consumers’ repair intentions. By combining all three, the repair service sector can become more profitable and more sustainable.
The study identifies some of the most significant drivers of repair intention, along with the relevant measures to improve their effectiveness. Ultimately, this work will help repair service providers improve the design of their services. In turn, the results will be useful to public authorities looking to promote the repair sector.
While the study did not examine the most effective way to implement the most successful measures, the findings are applicable to a wider range of locations and contexts.