Consumer Evaluation of Innovativeness in High-Tech Consumer Durables

  • J. W. D. Blythe

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This study concerns consumer responses to new product offerings in the category of high-tech audio equipment. The research was carried out under a positivist paradigm; other paradigms are described and a critical analysis of the reasons for choosing a positivist approach are given.

    Part of the rationale for choosing the topic was to examine innovation and innovativeness from the viewpoint of the consumer, rather than from the viewpoint of the manufacturer or marketer.

    For the purposes of the study, consumers were categorised on two dimensions; as innovators (or non-innovators) and as conspicuous consumers (or non-conspicuous-consumers).

    The hypotheses to be tested were as follows;

    HI: Consumers are able to ascribe degrees of innovativeness to new product offerings.

    H2: Innovators will judge innovativeness differently from non-innovators.

    H3: Conspicuous consumers will judge products differently from nonconspicuous-consumers.

    In other words, the general objective of the research was to determine how differing groups of consumers view innovativeness, and how innovativeness is assessed, with particular reference to high-tech product offerings. The research was carried out in two stages; a series of focus groups was run to determine the dimensions of the problem, and a questionnaire derived from this. The questionnaire was then administered to visitors at the Sound and Vision Exhibition in Bristol.

    Statistical analysis of the questionnaire revealed that there are significant differences between groups of consumers regarding the relative importance of various factors in the process of assessing innovativeness. Recommendations both for marketing practitioners and for further academic research are made, based on the findings of the primary research and on the literature search.

    Date of AwardMar 1997
    Original languageEnglish

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