Predicting Consumer Acceptance

Does anyone really set out to make a bad movie?  No, but many new movies, if not a majority, fail to gain consumer acceptance.

The ability to successfully anticipate consumer acceptance is critical to corporate success and, therefore, to investors.

Perhaps one of the better comments on this problem came from Steve Jobs, who is quoted as saying, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups.  A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show them.”

In that vein, consider that the hearing aid industry has spent millions of dollars and devoted decades in an effort to make hearing aids as small and unobtrusive as possible, because that’s what they thought people wanted.  Now we have large numbers of people, particularly younger generations, walking around with a variety of ear buds and/or headphones dangling from, or covering, their ears.  Will this change consumer expectations, is this a generational issue, perhaps, but will it affect acceptance for hearing aids?

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA®