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Innovation Behavior of Older Consumers

An Empirical Analysis of Older and Younger Consumers’ Determinants of Consumer Electronic Products Ownership

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Armin Tank

This book picks up two mega trends: On the one hand population figures demonstrate the structural transition of the majority of western industrial nations. This demographic change has manifold consequences, especially on companies and their clients. On the other hand most of the markets are characterized by increasingly shorter product life cycles and global competition. The commercialization of innovations represents one possibility to remain competitive in this environment. The author connects important aspects of these two subject matters and identifies existing differences in the consumer behavior of older and younger individuals regarding innovative consumer electronic devices – a product category that is characterized by an exceptionally high pace of innovation.

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1 Introduction

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1.1 Aging Societies and the Importance of Older Consumers In the nearer and farther future many countries will be affected by profound demographic changes. To be more precise, most of the concerned countries are already in the middle of this process. The average age of most industrial nations has already increased and will grow even further. For example the median age1 of the German population increased from 32 years (men) and 37 years (women) in 1950 to 44 years (men) and 46 years (women) in 2010. It is forecasted to fur- ther increase by nearly seven years (men) and eight years (women) in the next 50 years, so that by 2060 the median age of the male German population will be around 51 years and that of the female population around 54 years (s. Figure 1). Another remarkable growth-rate can be observed for people aged 60 or older. This age group will grow by an impressive 22% from 21.5 million in 2010 to 26.2 million in 2060 while the group of persons who are younger than 60 years will experience a sharp drop by 36%.2 As will be shown later, demographic trends are relatively stable and hardly changeable. Therefore, it can be expected that these numbers portray a realistic scenario presenting major challenges for the future.3 So far, the general discussions about the demographic change centered mainly around negative aspects of the aging society. In politics, financing the social se- curity systems has for a long time been the dominating...

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