Thesis Defence
Antecedents, Mechanisms,and Outcomes of Consumers' Choices of Renting over Buying in the Digital Age

Danni Zahio PhD candidate in the PhD programme ESCP

Danni Zhao, PhD candidate in the Paris Doctoral programme, publicly defended her thesis in Management Sciences.

14 November 2022 – Online


This thesis aims to propose a theoretical framework for understanding consumers’ choices for renting over buying behavior in the digital age and the consequences of renting on consumer relationships with the brand of rented items.

Two main research questions are addressed in this thesis.

The first one investigates the influence of the antecedents of the preference for renting rather than buying behavior by determining the roles of materialism, variety seeking, frugality, and brand engagement in self-concept (BESC) in explaining the consumer’s choice of renting over buying, specifically in the digital age.

The second research question examines the consequences of renting versus buying on the consumer’s relationship with the rented items by verifying how renting consumption affects emotional attachment and loyalty toward the brand of a rented item.

Based on a survey study (n = 321) and structural equation modeling, the results suggest that participating in renting consumption enhances the consumer’s emotional attachment to the brand of rented items, but negatively influences the consumer’s loyalty toward the brand of a rented item.

Depending on consumers’ different psychometric traits, values, or lifestyles, they can perceive different values in the choice of renting over buying. In particular, consumers with higher degrees of instrumental materialism value, variety-seeking tendency, and frugal lifestyle are more likely to perceive functional values, including transaction value, flexibility value, and pro-social (environmentally friendly) utilities, in their choices of renting over buying.

By contrast, consumers with higher degrees of terminal materialistic value and BESC are more likely to perceive the social values in their renting choices over buying. The implications for the evolution of access-based consumption and renting markets and the strategic management for rental service firms are discussed.



  • Mr. Ben Voyer,
    Professor, ESCP Business School
  • Mr. Julien Schmitt,
    Professor, ESCP Business School


  • Ms Gaëlle Pantin-Sohier,
    Professeure des Universités, IAE, Université d’Angers
  • Mr Andrew Farrel,
    Professor, Aston University


  • Mr. Pascal Morand,
    Professeur émérite, Fédération Française de la Couture
  • Mr. Arun Sundararajan,
    Professor, Stern School of Business, New York University (NYU)