The dilemmas of the durables researcher
The Durables industry is considerably less researched than many others, such as fast moving consumer goods. It is a competitive one nevertheless, and research has, or should have an important role. Moreover there are some problems which are more or less peculiar to Durables because of their very nature: for example their greater longevity, higher price, and relatively low volume of sales. The paper explores some of these problems in three main areas: Product evaluation: the practical difficulties in product testing, the need for reliable methods of market simulation to predict the likely success of new products or concepts, and the need to gauge how a product is received by consumers. Market and brand share tracking: with few exceptions retail audits have a short history in Durables, and although they are improving and extending their coverage, there are still gaps. Consumer tracking: the contribution of consumer panels, often limited in their ability to measure recent developments by low purchase penetration; other approaches to measuring adoption and switching behaviour. The paper concludes that the scope for industry initiatives in improving research techniques are probably limited, except in the sphere of syndicated research.
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