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Innovation Behavior of Older Consumers

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


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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3 Innovation Theory


As was mentioned in the introductory chapter, the dissertation focuses on the behavior of older and younger consumers regarding innovations. Influence fac- tors on their behavior are to be identified and potential differences are to be re- vealed. The analysis of the gerontological research results from the last chapter led to the conclusion that many changes occur in later life. In order to accurately assess the decision process of the young and elderly concerning innovations and find the relevant influence factors, it is necessary to carefully study the general theoretical knowledge of innovations first. Therefore, the following chapter commences with defining innovations (Ch. 3.1). After that, a brief overview on the research areas of diffusion (Ch. 3.2) and adoption (Ch. 3.3) is presented, followed by a closer look at the innovation deci- sion process and its different stages (Ch. 3.4). Finally, the determinants of inno- vation adoption are studied (Ch. 3.5) which are subdivided into product-specific, personal, and situational influence factors. 3.1 Innovation Definition The importance for companies to launch innovative products has already been noted earlier. However, it is not only for companies that innovations represent a frequently thematized issue. Innovations are an object of interest in numerous other areas. For example, economic research engages in analyzing the macro- economic effects of an industry’s or nation’s innovation activities and the neces- sary conditions that foster innovation activities. Political science questions which objectives concerning innovation activities should be pursued by politi- cians and in which manner political influence should be...

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