Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application (JITTA)


This study examines the impact of design on customer upgrading frequency, and differentiates between functional and aesthetic aspects of design. For the empirical study, we conducted an intercept survey in Beijing and Shanghai with Chinese consumers (n=170) in a retail mall setting. The results of the survey show that the functional design aspects of mobile phones (screen size, keyboard, and width of body) affect perceived ease of use, and that design aesthetics (color and thickness of body) moderate the relationship between satisfaction and upgrading frequency. However, we did not gain significant results for the relationship between functional design and perceived usefulness. The results provide initial evidence of the importance of design for consumers when upgrading their mobile phones. The findings highlight the need of further investigating the impact of design. We see, e.g., the potential impact of design on emergent feature fatigue phenomena in mobile phone markets, where consumers begin to desire less functionality from their mobile phones and are willing to replace their advanced phones with simpler models, as a intriguing research avenue.