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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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4 Older Consumers and Consumer Electronic Products


In the previous chapter numerous determinants have been identified which are believed to generally influence the innovation decision process and its outcome. However, prior to testing this large number of eventually influencing variables empirically, it is indispensable to restrict the focus exclusively on promising de- terminants and on a single product category. Therefore, in the following Chapter 4.1 it will be explained why consumer electronic products (CEP) represent a promising research area. After that, it will be assessed which of the previously explained determinants (s. Ch. 4.2) are relevant in explaining potential differ- ences of older and younger individuals regarding ownership of CEP. 4.1 Product Category Selection: Consumer Electronic Products One goal of the study is to identify the relevant explanatory variables of innova- tion adoption of younger and older consumers and determine their strength of influence. As it was mentioned in the introductory part of the first chapter, the innovative products are of interest, which do not represent a specific benefit ex- clusively for elderly consumers. Objects that have traditionally been associated with old individuals include products such as walking frames, denture cleaners, stair lifts or similar products that are deficit-oriented as they mainly deal with the physical changes of older consumers. The exemplarily enumerated products are adapted to the elderly consumers’ specific biological needs. Although in some cases improvements are supposably still needful to guarantee a problem- free use of these products, the benefits and their use are clear and involved com- panies generally possess accurate knowledge how...

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