TITLE

Quality Segmentation in Spatial Markets: When Does Cannibalization Affect Product Line Design?

AUTHOR(S)
Desai, Preyas S.
PUB. DATE
June 2001
SOURCE
Marketing Science;Summer2001, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p265
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Industry Overview
ABSTRACT
Durable goods manufacturers often design product lines by segmenting their markets on quality attributes--attributes that exhibit a 'more is better' property for all consumers. Since products within a product line are partial substitutes, and consumers can self-select the products they want to purchase, multiproduct firms have to carefully consider the cannibalization problem in designing their product lines. Existing research has analyzed the cannibalization problem for a monopolist who faces consumers who differ in their quality valuations. If lower-quality products are sufficiently attractive, higher-valuation consumers may find it beneficial to buy lower-quality products rather than the higher-quality products targeted to them. That is, lower-quality products can potentially cannibalize higher-quality products. The cannibalization problem forces the firm to provide only the highest-valuation segment with its preferred (efficient) quality. All other segments get qualities lower than their preferred (efficient) qualities. When the cannibalization problem is very severe, the firm may not serve some of the lowest-valuation segments. However, not much is known about how and when the cannibalization problem affects product line design in an oligopoly. Also, consumers may differ not only in their quality valuations but also in their taste preferences. The objective of this paper is to fill these gaps by examining whether the cannibalization problem affects a firm's price and quality decisions in a model with consumer differences in quality valuations, as well as in their taste preferences, in both monopoly and duopoly settings. The paper addresses questions such as the following. With both types of consumer differences, should a firm, even a monopolist, provide efficient quality only to the top segment? Are there conditions under which other segments can also get their preferred quality levels? If so, how do consumer and firm...
ACCESSION #
5655997

 

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