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Consumer acceptance of Wood-Polymer Composites: a conjoint analytical approach with a focus on innovative and environmentally concerned consumers

Osburg, Victoria-Sophie; Strack, Micha; Toporowski, Waldemar


Victoria-Sophie Osburg

Micha Strack

Waldemar Toporowski


Wood-Polymer Composites (WPCs) can contribute towards resource efficiency as they mainly consist of wood by-products and/or waste materials. The eco-innovative materials represent a hybrid solution on the ‘two-evils’ continuum’ constituted by the competing materials of wood and plastics; the former being too expensive and resource consuming in mass consumption, the latter cheap but environmentally hazardous. However, consumer acceptance of WPCs is questioned due to the merger of components consumers perceive as being contradictory (wood and plastics). Additionally, it is discussed whether consumers' innovativeness enhances WPC acceptance, while eco-friendly consumers may reject WPCs because of environmental concerns related with the synthetic components. To determine the potential market for products made of eco-innovative materials, two German-language online studies (n = 198, n = 357) were created to examine consumer acceptance of WPCs in relation to the competing materials. Study 1 introduced a 3 (material: wood, WPC, plastics) × 2 (appearance: wooden or synthetic) within-subject design. Consistent with the expectations, study 1 showed a clear preference for wood over plastics based on a convenient sample. WPCs remained in the centre position, even for environmentally concerned consumers. Study 2 was conducted to replicate the findings with a representative sample. It additionally considered consumer innovativeness and included further product categories. WPCs only slightly deviated from the centre position in study 2. Mostly important, study 2 proved that the higher the environmental concern and the innovativeness of consumers, the more WPCs were accepted. When taken together, the results point to a greater WPC market than previous research had indicated. In general, premature concerns about innovative materials can be prevented by consumer acceptance studies examining the new materials' position in a surrounding ‘multi evils’ continuum’.


Osburg, V., Strack, M., & Toporowski, W. (2016). Consumer acceptance of Wood-Polymer Composites: a conjoint analytical approach with a focus on innovative and environmentally concerned consumers. Journal of cleaner production, 110(January), 180-190.

Acceptance Date Apr 9, 2015
Online Publication Date May 4, 2015
Publication Date 2016-01
Deposit Date Jan 22, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of cleaner production
Print ISSN 0959-6526
Electronic ISSN 1879-1786
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 110
Issue January
Pages 180-190
Keywords Consumer acceptance, Eco-innovation, WPCs, Conjoint analysis, Green marketing
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a description of an article published in Journal of cleaner production, 2016, v.110.


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