Social influence in the adoption of digital consumer innovations for climate change

Vrain, Emilie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8226-4621, Wilson, Charlie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8164-3566, Kerr, Laurie and Wilson, Mark (2022) Social influence in the adoption of digital consumer innovations for climate change. Energy Policy, 162. ISSN 0301-4215

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Abstract

Digital consumer innovations offer low-carbon alternatives to mainstream consumption practices. We contribute new insights on the importance of social influence in the uptake of digital consumer innovations for climate change across mobility, food, homes, and energy domains. Using nationally representative UK survey data (n = 3007), we show that electronic word-of-mouth is the dominant mechanism of information exchange for strengthening adoption intentions. This finding is robust across 16 innovations from car clubs to 11th hour food apps. Other social influence mechanisms such as social norms and neighbourhood effects are as important only for highly visible innovations such as electric vehicles. Using deep dive early adopter studies of ridesharing platforms, digital food hubs, and smart home technologies, we show that trust in digital platforms and place-based community networks are important characteristics affecting social influence. Social norms can help build trust, while word-of-mouth spreads positive information for locally salient innovations. Policies stimulating innovation adoption tend to focus on purchase incentives. Opportunities to harness social influence processes remain unexploited. Our research emphasises the importance of digital skills and infrastructure for supporting these processes, social marketing for building positive norms, and community networks for enabling interpersonal exchange.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: low carbon,interpersonal communication,diffusion of innovations,information sources,electronic word-of-mouth,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 10:30
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 17:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/83107
DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.112800

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