, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 371-407

A Micromodel of New Product Adoption with Heterogeneous and Forward-Looking Consumers: Application to the Digital Camera Category

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Abstract

We develop an empirical model for the adoption process of a new durable product that accounts for consumer heterogeneity as well as consumers” forward-looking behavior. Accounting for heterogeneity is important for two reasons. As the mix of consumers with different preferences and price sensitivities could change over time, firms need to update their marketing strategies. Further, it allows for a variety of shapes for the aggregate adoption process over time. As prices for durable and technology products fall over time with firms continually introducing enhanced products, consumers may anticipate these prices and improvements and delay their purchases in the product category. Forward-looking consumers optimize purchase timing by trading off their utilities from buying the product and their expectations on future prices, quality levels, and brand availability. Such forward-looking behavior will result in price dynamics in the marketplace as price changes today influence future purchases. And it results in different shapes of the new product sales pattern over time by influencing the time to take-off. We show how the parameters of our model can be estimated using aggregate data on the sales, prices, and attributes of brands in a product category. We apply our model to market data from the digital camera category. Our data are consistent with the presence of both heterogeneity and forward looking behavior among consumers. At the product category level, we are able to decompose the effects of the entry of Sony into primary demand expansion and switching from other brands. At the brand level, we find that there exist several segments in the market with different preferences for the brands and different price sensitivities leading to differences in adoption timing and brand choice across segments. For a given brand, we show how the changing customer mix over time has implications for that brand”s pricing strategies. We characterize how price effects vary across brands and over time and how price changes in a given time period influence sales in subsequent periods. Model comparison and validation results are also provided.