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  • Report
  • 13th Mar 2024

Leveraging behavioural insights to design and test the repairability index in France

This project was conducted in two phases, in 2019 and in 2023, as part of our framework agreement with the Directorate for Government Transformation (DITP). We assisted the DITP behavioural sciences department following a sollicitation from the Commissariat Général au Développement Durable.

Promoting repair rather than replacement of faulty products is a major challenge for more sustainable consumption. In France, only 40% of electronic and electrical products that break down are repaired each year.

To remedy this, the French government has developed the repairability index, which aims to guide consumers towards more reparable choices, by informing them at the time of purchase about the ‘repairability’ of electronic and household electrical products. 

BIT supported the DITP and the CGDD in developing the index, by: 

  • Proposing a list of behavioural levers to be deployed in the index, to make the information easier to understand, make it more noticeable and increase the chances of it being taken into account by consumers 
  • Prototyping and optimising visuals and messages for the index, which we tested in the laboratory with Fnac-Darty customers, to identify the visuals with the greatest potential 
  • Testing the selected visuals in a randomised controlled trial with almost 140,000 Darty customers. 

The trial identified the most promising design, and yielded a number of important lessons for encouraging consumers to take repair into account in their choices (including raising awareness of repairability as a concept and of the index itself, as well as training distributors and sales staff, etc.).  

In 2023, the CGDD and the DITP asked BIT to carry out the first impact evaluation of the index on consumer choices. Based on a subset of sales data from two major retailers (more than 20 million entries over the last 3 years), we carried out a large-scale quasi-experimental evaluation.  

This analysis showed: 

  • A positive, but not statistically significant, effect of the introduction of the index on sales of repairable products compared with less repairable products. There was a clear increase in the sale of more repairable products, but this cannot be attributed with sufficient confidence to the introduction of the index alone.
  • That the introduction of the index had a positive and statistically significant effect on sales of more repairable products online, and a positive (but not significant) effect on those products sold in shops.
  • That the two retailers studied sold increasingly repairable products in greater proportions than less repairable products.
  • That, since the introduction of the index, product scores have increased, underlining the positive effects on the range of products offered to consumers, with new models that are increasingly repairable. 

Taken together, these results point to a virtuous circle: the index is encouraging changes in consumer behaviour at the same time as an evolution in the products placed on the market.

Link to the report on the development of the index (in french)

Link to the report on the evaluation of the index (in french)