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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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2 Gerontology – Aging from the Perspective of Different Sciences

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Unlike the rather unspecific definition of the National Institute of Aging that defines gerontology as “the study of aging from the broadest perspective,” Bal- tes/Baltes (1994) concretize the scope of gerontology the following way:46 “Gerontology deals with the description, explanation and modification of physi- cal, psychological, social, historical and cultural aspects of aging and age, in- cluding the analysis of age-relevant and age-constituting environments and so- cial institutions. This already indicates that gerontology is not an independent science – it can more precisely be called a science field.”47 As gerontology refers to methods and results from various disciplines, it is only possible to discuss the most important findings next. After a short look at the historical background and development of gerontology as a science field (Ch. 2.1), the actual demographic situation and future developments will be discussed (Ch. 2.2). After that, some aspects of the age related biological changes are picked up (Ch. 2.3). Findings in the area of psychology (Ch. 2.4) and sociology (Ch. 2.5) broaden the perspective of aging and help to understand the situations that elderly individuals are confronted with. As many approaches exist trying to explain why and how aging occurs, one chapter is devoted to the most pertinent aging theories (Ch. 2.6). Finally, the economic situation of older persons will be analyzed (Ch. 2.7). 2.1 History and Objective of Gerontology The precursors of gerontology can be found in the ancient Greek-Roman history. Far more than 2,000 years ago, philosophers and writers like Plato,...

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