Influential factors of experiential outdoor consumption - A qualitative study investigating the experiences and perceptions of experiential outdoor consumers
Researchers agree on the harm materialistic values and consumption have on consumers’ well-being in society today (Black, 2010; Goldsmith & Clark, 2012; Isenhour & Black, 2010; Muñiz-Velázquez et al., 2017; Pieters, 2013; Richins, 2017; Shrum et al., 2013; Van Boven & Gilovich, 2003). Therefore the interest in investigating experiential consumption has grown as an opposite, offering healthier and more self-fulfilling alternatives than the materialistic counterpart. Especially consuming experiences in nature has proven to have significant positive effects on individuals’ well-being (Hartig & Staats, 2006; Kaplan, 1995; Maas et al., 2006; Maller et al., 2006; Van Den Berg et al., 2007). Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate influential factors fostering experiential outdoor consumption. By conducting semi-structured qualitative in-depth interviews with female, experiential outdoor consumers, an understanding of their perceptions on the subject was obtained. The criteria for the respondents’ participation were their self-perceived identification as experiential outdoor consumers and that they regularly engage in an outdoor activity such as hiking, skiing, cycling or mountaineering. The empirical data collected were analysed using a theoretical framework consisting of previous research within experiential consumption and general consumer behaviour, inspired by an extended version of The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) by Ajzen, (1991). The findings delivered four major concepts describing what the respondents perceive to have influenced them into adapting experiential outdoor consumer lifestyles: Appreciation of nature as sprung from social input, Nature experiences as a contributor to well-being, Implications of social input related to self-development and The mediating role of nature experiences for self-development, self-identity and well-being. This study showed that the motivation behind experiential outdoor consumption can be perceived to originate from social input such as family, friends and through cultural- and generational belonging. One strong incentive to consume experiential outdoor activities was the increased wellbeing it was perceived to bring. This by offering a social belonging, challenging adventures and a setting for mental recuperation.
MSc in Marketing and Consumption