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Predicting the market demand for an innovation based on the concept of social contagion

10 December 2009

PhD Ceremony: D.J. Langley, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Predicting the market demand for an innovation based on the concept of social contagion

Promotor(s): prof.dr. T.H.A. Bijmolt

Faculty: Economics and Business

Contact: David Langley, tel. 050 – 58 577 53 (werk),

This dissertation focuses on how social contagion, or copying behaviour, comes about in relation to the consumer adoption of new products. We develop a new instrument which uses the concept of social contagion to make estimations of consumer demand. This instrument estimates the probability that a type of person with certain personality traits will imitate the behaviour related to the use of the product. The instrument can also identify which improvements to the product’s design would lead to a higher level of social contagion. We apply this instrument in a number of case studies, showing how it can answer key product development and marketing questions. Using data from 124 product-market combinations of information and communication technology products from the telecom and financial sectors, we show the validity of the estimations of consumer demand that the instrument makes. Using an advanced statistical technique, we identify for the first time the determinants of social contagion as well as their relative importance in driving consumer demand. The approach presented in this dissertation has a number of differences compared to standard market research approaches making it an interesting addition. Importantly, it can be applied prior to the market launch of the product, when there is no direct market data available. This means that any improvements which are identified can be implemented prior to the product’s market introduction. Also, our approach can be applied to innovative new products which are dissimilar to existing products. This makes our approach an important addition to the methods available to product developers and marketers.

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.39 p.m.
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