Yongwan Park (Barun ICT Research Center, Yonsei University)
Soomin Son (Barun ICT Research Center, Yonsei University)
Developments in technology have enabled businesses to produce various new innovations. However, there are times when a product is too innovative and consumers are unsure of exactly what the product actually is. For example, the 2-in-1 PCs that have recently appeared can be used as a tablet as well as a laptop (by attaching a keyboard), which causes uncertainty over whether the product is a Tablet PC or a laptop. These types of products may confuse consumers and leave a negative impression. After being introduced to a new product, we are inclined to determine what type of product it is. This is a part of consumer learning and often occurs through the process of analogy and categorization.
Analogy is when an object or situation is understood through a similar object or situation. As the proverb says, “Once bitten, twice shy.” In marketing, PDA is an example where an analogy has been applied. PDA is a machine, but as it plays the same role as that of a secretary by managing our daily tasks, PDA is thought of as playing the role of a secretary.
In contrast, categorization connects an object to a group with similar features. For example, as a digital camera can capture high-quality photos and because these photos can both be printed and converted using a computer, its properties are akin to those of a scanner or camera. If a business wants its customers to perceive the digital camera as a camera, rather than a scanner, the qualities also found in a camera are accentuated, while attention is diverted from the qualities it shares with a scanner (Moreau, Markman, and Lehmann 2011).
The presentation on the study “Is Smart watch a Wrist watch or a Wearable Device? An Experimental Study for Examining the Categorization and the Perceived Fit with Manufacturer on Consumer Evaluations,” by researchers of Yonsei University Barun ICT Research Center, also discussed categorization in consumer learning. They shared a comparative analysis of the changes in consumer attitudes based on the categorization of smartwatches. As smartwatches possess the qualities of both a watch and an IT device, it was hypothesized that consumers’ expectations for the smartwatch vary according to the way it is categorized. After releasing smartwatches through IT and watch manufacturing companies, in order for customers to perceive the smartwatch as a wristwatch or a wearable device, the results were analyzed comparatively.
According to the study, consumers considered the smartwatch to be reasonable and logical when it was released by IT companies, regardless of whether it was a wristwatch or wearable device. Furthermore, there were greater expectations regarding the technological elements when the smartwatch was categorized as a wearable device, rather than a wristwatch. In addition, there were higher consumer expectations when the smartwatch was released as a wearable device through a watch manufacturing company.
Moreau, Markman, and Lehmann 2011