Familiarity, expertise and involvement: Key consumer segmentation factors

Paul Taylor‐west, Heather Fulford, Gary Reed, Vicky Story, Jim Saker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


It is generally accepted that the launch of a new product is critical to its success. Key to this is that manufacturers understand the market segment which is targeted for the launch. However, recent research and criticism suggest that modern segmentation strategies, aligning products with lifecycle typologies do not work. It is no longer possible to align consumers and products into neat and stable lifecycle segments. It is suggested that more importance should be attached to products having a familiarity fit with consumers – what they know and expect from a particular product. These views are moderated by a consumer's enthusiasm or involvement with the product as well as their level of expertise in understanding complex products. This paper aims to look at these issues.

This research looks at consumer perceptions to the changes to two automotive models launched by one of the major manufacturers at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Germany, held in September 2005, to discover which changes had the most appeal and to identify correlations with consumer lifecycles.

Results revealed that consumer lifecycles had no correlation with any of the data, whereas familiarity, expertise and product involvement will provide manufacturers with more accurate segmentation tools in the launch and marketing of new automotive products.

Practical implications
These findings suggest that a customer's expertise, product involvement and familiarity with the product are likely to provide more appropriate market segmentation tools.

This paper reveals useful information on consumer lifestyles and market segmentation tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-368
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • new products
  • market segmentation
  • consumers
  • skills
  • consumer behaviour


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