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Heterogeneous preferences and new innovation cycles in mature industries: the camera industry 1955-1974

Windrum, Paul (2005) Heterogeneous preferences and new innovation cycles in mature industries: the camera industry 1955-1974. Industrial and corporate change, 14 (6). pp. 1043-1074. ISSN 1464-3650

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Abstract

This paper examines the amateur camera industry between 1955 and 1974. The case raises important issues for our understanding of the product lifecycle. First, an industry can experience more than one round of radical product and process innovation in its history. Second, there is not a strict sequence of product innovation followed by process innovation. Third, the existence of a dominant design depends on there being a relatively homogeneous set of consumers. Heterogeneous consumer preferences support different camera designs in two distinct market niches in the amateur camera industry. Fourth, new rounds of entry and exit, and new industry shake-outs can occur, with new, innovative entrants displacing old firms. Fifth, when the new firms are from developing countries, a shift in global production occurs. The success of new Japanese entrants in this period lay in their being more successful innovators, not in their exploiting wage/cost advantages.

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