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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2016
Thesis number: 14302
Cycle of desire: Understanding consumption behavior of an urban cycling community
Author: Peltonen, Meri
Title: Cycle of desire: Understanding consumption behavior of an urban cycling community
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; kulutus; consumption; yhteisöt; communities; identiteetti; identity; liikunta; physical exercise; polkupyörät; bicycles; vapaa-aika; leisure
Pages: 80
Key terms: bicycles; communities; consumer behavior; consumer desire; ethnography; identity; netnography; passion
The aim of this research is to understand consumer desire and passionate consumption in the specific context of a consumption community in order to gain a better grasp of the concept of desire in terms of consumer research. More specifically, the main objective is to see the interaction between the community, the desire, and the individual. The focus will be on understanding how community membership and individual identity articulate consumer desire, the forces at work, and the impact on both sides of the relationship. This study contributes to existing literature on desire by emphasizing the social nature of it, as well as bringing to light new aspects on the cycle of desire. Overall, this thesis is positioned within the research tradition of consumer culture theory (CCT), taking a cultural approach in the exploration of consumption and marketplace behaviors. Furthermore, because consumer desire has not been thoroughly studied in the field of consumer research, but is nonetheless a relevant part of it, this research will hopefully bring new insights to the phenomenon.

To gain rich and deep understanding, several data collection methods were utilized. The research uses ethnography and in-depth interviews as primary resource for data collection, and netnography as supplementary source. These methods enable for the study to gain both an emic and etic perspective through participation, observation, and interpretation of an urban cycling community. Analysis and interpretation, the two processes of inference, were combined in order to create representations of the reality described by the collected data.

The findings demonstrate that there is a strong interaction between the individual and the community, where the shared desire is the link that brings these two together. The role of the community was conceived to function as a leverage to accelerate the cycle of desire. Moreover, three key processes of the cycle of desire were identified: desire to explore, desire to play, and desire to hope, which have an overlapping impact both to the community and the individual member. Furthermore, this research considered the varying intensity of consumer desires, and how the community can have an impact to the level of intensity. The findings suggest that desire may transform into obsession, but only temporarily. The phenomenon of consumer desire was shown to be both positive and negative, subjective, passionate, and collective, as well as strongly associated with consumer behavior. A broader understanding of the phenomenon was gained from the point of view of its social nature in general, and community context in particular. Understanding consumer desire and especially the interaction between the individual and the community could help comprehend actions and attitudes of consumers.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.