Not all green innovations are created equal: Consumer innovativeness and motivations in the adoption of shared micromobility

Phil Flores, Doctoral thesis, Lund University, 2023
The purpose of this thesis is to understand how consumer innovativeness and motivations relate to the decision to adopt green innovations. This thesis examines two forms of green transport innovations, shared e-bikes and e-scooters, which are part of the shared micromobility phenomenon. The penetration of shared micromobility into the market is estimated to increase in the upcoming years, and increasing interest in its use has become evident. However, there are controversies surrounding its impact on society, partly due to how the vehicles are used. This raises questions concerning who the consumers are and what motivates them to use this mode of transport. I employed two cross-sectional surveys to investigate how domain-specific innovativeness and motivations influenced the decision to adopt shared e-bikes and e-scooters. I demonstrate the relevance of the use of two domain-specific innovativeness (transport innovativeness and eco-innovativeness) and four different motivations (instrumental, environmental, hedonic, and social motivations). Specifically, transport innovativeness and eco-innovativeness were positively correlated with decisions to use shared e-bikes and e-scooters. Hedonic motivations had the strongest effects, while social motivations had the weakest, if not insignificant, impact. Environmental motivations were positively significant when other motivations were not considered, but these effects became negative when instrumental and hedonic motivations were taken into account. I also show the differences in these factors between users and non-users, as well as between shared e-bike users and shared e-scooter users. As expected, users had a higher level of transport innovativeness and eco-innovativeness. Users and non-users also differed in their perceptions of the environmental, hedonic, symbolic, and instrumental benefits of shared e-bikes and e-scooters, with users being more sensitive to these benefits. Theoretically, this thesis creates a more nuanced understanding of the diffusion of innovations by showing that products are not limited to only one domain. In addition, it outlines similarities and differences in consumer motivations between two comparable and emergent innovations that are purportedly green. This thesis shows that, although shared e-bikes and e-scooters are promoted similarly, consumer motivations for their adoption can still differ. Of note, this thesis helps to explain why some green innovations could become controversial due to their users’ motivations. Practically, this thesis could help to formulate short- and long-term strategies for shared micromobility providers and policies for transport agencies and city planners. It could also help to understand the environmental impact of shared micromobility and how it could potentially address transport-related environmental problems.