Mass customization and consumer behavior - A case study from a german consumer perspective

Master's Thesis, 2007

72 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents

II List of Abbreviations

III List of Figures

1 Mass Customization – A new Marketing Strategy?
1.1 The Origin of Mass Customization
1.2 Purpose of the Work and Research Questions
1.3 Limitations

2 Mass Customization and Psychological Influence Factors
2.1 Introducing the Phenomenon of Mass Customization
2.2 Definition and Classification of Mass Customization
2.3 Consumer Decision-Making Process
2.4 Psychological Influence Factors on Consumer Behavior
2.4.1 Motivation and Personality
2.4.2 Attitude
2.4.3 Readiness
2.4.4 Perceived Risk
2.5 Conceptual Framework

3 Research Methodology
3.1 Type of Research Design
3.2 Sample, Population, and Participation
3.3 Data Collection Instruments, Variables, and Materials
3.4 Data Analysis Procedures

4 Results and Data Analysis
4.1 The Need for Uniqueness for Explaining the Purchase of MCP
4.2 Demographic Influence Factors for Explaining the Purchase of MCP
4.2.1 Age
4.2.2 Gender
4.2.3 Income
4.2.4 Level of Education
4.3 Consumer Attitudes and the Purchase of MCP
4.4 Consumer Readiness and the Purchase of MCP
4.5 Consumers’ Perceived Risk and the Purchase of MCP
4.6 The Tendency to Purchase MCP

5 Concluding Discussion
5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Discussion and Outlook

IV List of Literature

V Appendix

II List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

III List of Figures

Table 1: Cultural Dimensions according to Hofstede (1980)

Table 2: Data Analysis Structure

Table 3: Customer Customization Sensitivity and the Purchase of MCP

Table 4: Need for Uniqueness between Experienced and Potential Purchasers

Table 5: Need for Uniqueness between Potential Purchasers and Deliberate Non-Purchasers

Table 6: Spearman-Correlation of age and other influence factors

Table 7: Spearman-Correlation of gender and other influence factors

Table 8: Spearman-Correlation of income and other influence factors

Table 9: Spearman-Correlation of age and other influence factors

Table 10: Attitude toward MCP between Purchasers and Non-Purchasers

Table 11: Attitude toward MCP between experienced Purchasers and deliberate Non-Purchasers

Table 12: Readiness for MCP between purchasers and non-purchasers

Table 13: Readiness for MCP between experienced purchasers and deliberate non-purchasers

Table 14: Readiness for MCP between people with a more or less positive attitude toward MCP

Table 15: Attitudes toward MCP between people with a more or less willing to invest additional time and money

Table 16: Perceived Risk in terms of MCP between purchasers and non-purchasers

Table 17: Research Results of my Study

Figure 1: The Four Approaches to Customization

Figure 2: Consumer Purchase Decision Process

Figure 3: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Figure 4: Attitude Components

Figure 5: Decision Framework to Assess Customers’ Readiness for Mass Customization

Figure 6: Conceptual Framework

Figure 7: Chance for Purchasing MCP

1 Mass Customization – A New Marketing Strategy?

1.1 The Origin of Mass Customization

It is not time long ago since companies could grow amazingly through mass production and standardized processes. This strategy was a huge competitive advantage over other companies producing in the traditional way. But over the years much more companies adopted this strategy resulting in an increasingly turbulent market environment. Consumers were confronted with a wide range of nearly the same products only differing in price. To prevent from a pure price competition, companies started to focus more on the customer instead of the product. Of course, there have always been two kinds of strategy, either concentrating on mass production or on custom made products. But the development of the business world during the last decade showed a new trend of production strategies. Companies realized that consumers have heterogeneous wants and desires and, thus, they tried to blend these two different kinds of strategy but not through reducing the number of units. Rather they tried to keep their mass production, though considering individual preferences of consumers. In this way they retained the principles of mass production while tailoring the products differently for each and every consumer. They established a new and somewhat revolutionary strategy of market segmentation, often called “mass customization”[1], “personalization”[2] or “one-to-one marketing”[3]. The core of mass customization is a tremendous increase in variety and customization without a corresponding increase in costs. It is a new way of viewing business competition, which makes the identification and fulfillment of the wants and needs of individual customers paramount without sacrificing efficiency, effectiveness, and low costs.[4] Not least this new approach is most favored by technological improvements, which make the discrepancy between high numbers of units combined with customized attributes for low costs somewhat possible.

1.2 Purpose of the Work and Research Questions

Since the early 1990s the topic of mass customization is discussed in the research literature. Some authors argue that mass customization would be the dominant strategy for the next industrial revolution (e.g. Lau, 1995). In contrast, there seems to be general agreement that mass customization will never be possible for all types of products or suitable for all kinds of consumers.[5] Past research was primarily focused on consequences for companies in doing so and how to adapt to this new strategy in production processes and in an organizational and technical context (e.g. B. J. Pine; J. Lampel & H. Mintzberg; S. Kotha; P. Åhlström & R. Westbrook). Researcher started to classify the ways in which mass customization could be implemented efficiently and effectively into company structures. In almost all of these studies researchers assumed that there is an existing demand and readiness of consumers for mass customization.

Curiously, the acceptance and attitudes of consumers regarding mass customization are at least less investigated and first studies appeared no more than five years ago (e.g. A. Bardakci & J. Whitelock; R. E. Goldsmith). In the present work I will concentrate on the latter research field, mass customization from a consumer perspective. Beyond all investigations in implementing mass customization strategy into companies, consumer attitudes and behaviors may not remain out of consideration.

The major objectives of this thesis will be the investigation of potential influence factors for the purchase of mass customized products from a psychological point of view. There has already been a pioneer investigation on the US market regarding the consumer attitudes as one potential influence factor by Goldsmith & Freiden (2004) and one on the UK and Turkish market by Bardakci & Whitelock (2005) for the readiness of consumers concerning mass customization as a second potential influence factor. Furthermore, the decision to purchase MCP may also be dependent on the acceptance for MCP in general. Therefore, perceived risk of consumers in buying MCP will also be investigated in this thesis as a third motivational aspect.

When considering the topic of mass customization from a German consumer perspective two questions have arisen that I want to investigate within this thesis.

RQ1: Is there an interest in purchasing mass customized products for German consumers?

RQ2: Which demographic and psychological factors influence the tendency to purchase mass customized products?

1.3 Limitations

The following investigation is limited to products and excludes mass customized services. It is not a certain product that will be examined but it is rather the goal to get an overall impression of consumer behavior towards mass customization. Furthermore, the following considerations of purchasing mass customized products will be reduced to psychological influences. Sociocultural processes will be excluded, although these processes might have an influence on the purchase of mass customized products as well. Participants of a planned quantitative study will be confronted with some examples of mass customized products in the introduction of a questionnaire. But they don’t have to answer the questions related to a specific product and it should rather be more conducive to their understanding what is meant with mass customization in general.

The following work is structured into four further chapters. The second chapter provides a theoretical review on mass customization which supports the argumentation for the above stated research questions and an essential understanding of consumer behavior regarding purchasing decisions. In the third chapter the reader meets the methodological proceeding of the work and an argumentation for Germany as the target market for this study. In the fourth chapter I will present the results and analyze them in terms of hypotheses and the research questions. In the last chapter I sum up the main findings of the work and conclude the work including an outlook.

2 Mass Customization and Psychological Influence Factors

In order to investigate mass customization from a consumer perspective the following chapter provides a theoretical review on mass customization which supports the argumentation for the above stated research questions and an essential understanding of consumer behavior regarding purchasing decisions. Therefore I will first introduce the phenomenon of mass customization followed by a working definition and a classification of mass customization. Then the reader will get an understanding of the consumer decision-making process and psychological influence factors on consumer behavior. These considerations will lead to my hypotheses for the following analysis of mass customization.

2.1 Introducing the Phenomenon of Mass Customization

In 1987, Davis had the idea to combine two completely different company strategies to one very new strategy. The first one was mass production, which was often declared as the most popular strategy in the twentieth century. Manufacturers were cost-efficient mass producers with limited or no variety in products. And the more (standardized) products they could sell, the more they reduced costs. The second strategy was customization, which means that manufacturers offered highly customized and often expensive products resulting from a craftsmanship-like approach.[6] Usually the second strategy was more relevant for “the rich and the famous”.

Due to advances in engineering and production efficiency and developments in information technology, manufacturers were able to offer customization for the masses. The development of the Internet which enabled the interactive flow of information and the increasing flexibility in production through robots and just-in-time production offered manufacturers competitive advantages by focusing more on the individuality of customer needs as an alternative to differentiate from companies in a highly competitive and segmented market. With this mixed strategy of mass customization, companies were able to combine the benefits of mass production with an increasing need for uniqueness.

This need for uniqueness could be a result of a growing number of single households, an orientation towards design, and further a new awareness of quality and functionality which demands durable and reliable products corresponding exactly to the specific needs of customers.[7] Furthermore, four structural changes of the past have encouraged mass customization: heterogeneous demand, short product life cycles, mature markets, and more conscious consumers.[8] Heterogeneous demand makes predictions for the market much more complicated and, thus, consumer needs became uncertain for both companies and consumers. This uncertainty results in faster changing needs and wants. Moreover, this development results in a shortening of product life cycles and more conscious consumers in the market. As a consequence, traditional mass production and mass marketing approaches were no longer sufficient ways of responding to the market.[9]

2.2 Definition and Classification of Mass Customization

Mass customization is not the same as simple customization. When companies provide mass customized products they try to keep production costs low by integrating computer based information systems with production systems such as flexible manufacturing, and then they use those linked systems to provide unique products for each customer. Pine (1993) argues that anything that can be digitized can be customized as well by means of computer technology. Thus, one of the main distinguishing features of mass customization is its capacity to produce products rapidly and inexpensively. Kaplan & Haenlein (2006) proposed a definition of the phenomenon mass customization from two different points of view, the working one and the visionary one.[10]

Mass customization as a working definition “…is a strategy that creates value by some form of company-customer interaction at the fabrication/assembly stage of operations level to create customized products with production costs and monetary price similar to those of mass-produced products.”

Mass customization as a visionary definition “…is a strategy that creates value by some form of company-customer interaction at the design stage of the operations level to create customized products, following a hybrid strategy combining cost leadership and differentiation.”

For the current study the visionary definition is the more relevant one. Here mass customization should be understood as the production of goods for a relatively large market, which meets exactly the needs of each individual customer with regard to certain product characteristics (differentiation option), at costs roughly corresponding to those of standard mass-produced goods (cost option).[11] Moreover, customers are in a stronger and interdependent relationship with mass customizing companies. In order to meet customer needs best, companies let their customers teach them what they want and desire so that it can be given back to the customer. Thus, mass customization may be considered to be more customer-driven than any other approach.[12]

To keep it in mind, nowadays consumers seem to seek for exactly what they need, when they need it, and how they need it at affordable prices. They are now seeking customized products without being willing to wait and without making sacrifices. In other words, consumers are much more sensitive in their buying decisions in terms of benefits and costs. According to Hart, the most important factor determining the success of mass customization is “customer customization sensitivity”, which is based on two fundamental tenets.[13] First, the uniqueness of the customer’s needs and second, the customer sacrifice gap. The customer sacrifice gap is the gap between the desired product and available products in the market in terms of product features. The bigger the gap, the more the customer is sensitive and the more customization is a desirable strategy. In this way, mass customization seems to be a strategy to increase customer satisfaction and hence customer retention.

Of course, customers value and favor the purchase of goods that meets their particular set of needs. Therefore companies need to be aware how to ascertain information about customer needs. Sometimes it is advisable to conduct a dialogue with customers, or rather to observe customer habits and preferences. But it could also be prudent to display uniqueness or to embed it.

Gilmore & Pine (1997) ascertained four different approaches to customization to clarify the necessity of a company-customer interaction (see figure 1).[14] The four approaches to customization are (1) collaborative customization, (2) adaptive customization, (3) cosmetic customization, and (4) transparent customization. These approaches vary in the object of customization, the product and/or the representation. Customizing the product itself provides the most clear-cut means of customization. But this is only one way to create customer-unique value. Companies can also customize the representation of the product. The representation of the product means the way a product appears to the customer and how it is presented and portrayed to him/her (e.g. packaging, marketing materials, product names, etc.). Therefore it could be helpful to separate the representation of a product from the product itself when thinking about customization and how to customize a specific product best.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: The Four Approaches to Customization (Gilmore & Pine, 1997, p.95)

Collaborative customization is when a company conducts a dialog with individual customers to help them articulate their needs. In this way they try to detect precise offerings that could fulfill those needs. It’s the best known customization approach and it is appropriate for companies whose customers have problems to articulate their needs and grow frustrated when forced to select from a plethora of options. Companies which conduct a collaborative customization change the product itself in addition to changing some aspects of the representation of the product. Customizing the representation permits customers to participate in the design stage and play with the possibilities available to them and, thus, discover their unknown needs. As Huffman & Kahn (1998) have shown, consumers are more satisfied when they are asked to indicate explicitly their preferences for attributes, as compared to more effortful or less effortful tasks.[15] The interaction between company and customer facilitate customers the identification of their needs and how these needs should be adapted to product features. In general, the modification of products increases the value perceived by the customer. But this is not always enough since companies or even customers are forced to modify the products alone. Collaborative customization replaces such back-end solutions with front-end specifications. Instead of forcing customers to come to the company in order to optimize the product, collaborative customizers do not only deliver the product to the customer but also customize that delivery. To keep effectiveness in production and low costs, collaborative customization could be handled by stocking raw materials or component parts and then finishing products only in response to the actual needs of individual customers.

Adaptive customization means that companies offer a standard product to customers and then customers can change the product by themselves. This kind of product is customizable through available technology and it is useful for customers who want the product to perform in different ways on different occasions. There is no direct interaction with the company when the customer modifies, tailors, or reconfigures this standard product in order to satisfy his/her specific needs. It is the product itself which interacts with the customer. And so, each customer independently derives his/her own value from the product. Sometimes customers might perceive a disadvantage in adaptive customization when they have to experiment with all the possible configuration opportunities to get the product to perform as they desire.

Cosmetic customization means that companies provide standard products that are presented differently to different customers. Customers get a specially packaged standard product that is customized in terms of its attributes and benefits, which are advertised in different ways, or promotional programs, which are designed and communicated differently. It could also be that the customer’s name is placed on each item. Although this kind of customization is not so radical, it still creates real value for many customers. In addition, companies which conduct cosmetic customization tend to offer standard products which satisfy almost every customer and only the product’s form need to be customized. For companies it is a challenge to customize the standard product in a unique way that is still congruent with the customer’s preferences and without direct interaction with the customer.

Transparent customization means that companies provide individually customized products to their customers without letting them know explicitly that the products has been customized for them. Therefore companies have to observe customers’ behavior over time and avoid direct interaction to identify specific customer needs. This approach might be relevant when customers don’t want to spend much time in configuration or feel bothered by describing their needs and direct collaboration. Transparent customizing companies need a standard package into which its product’s customized features or components can be placed.

Beyond these four approaches to customization, companies can also combine two, three, or even all of them to a multiple customization strategy. In this way companies can increase the probability that they really meet individual customers’ specific needs and that a customer-unique value is created. Since customization gives the opportunity to the customer to participate in the actual design process and the development of their own product, customers are much more likely to be satisfied with the overall performance of the product, which lead to an increasing customer loyalty.

After defining and classifying mass customization the reader should be introduced in the decision-making process for purchasing products as well.

2.3 Consumer Decision-Making Process

My goal is to investigate why some consumers decide to purchase mass customized products instead of standard products of the same product category. In order to study consumer purchase decisions a deeper analysis of consumer behavior is inevitable. Consumer behavior can be described as the actions a person takes in purchasing and using products including the mental and social processes that precede and follow these actions. When studying consumer behavior researchers and marketers want to find out why people choose certain products over another and how they make these choices. Therefore they classified five stages of consumer behavior (see figure 2):

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Consumer Purchase Decision Process

In the first stage, the problem recognition, the consumer perceives a need as a difference between a person’s ideal and actual situation that is big enough to trigger a decision. In the second stage, the information search, the consumer starts to get active to satisfy his or her need. The information search can be conducted in two steps. First the consumer can make an internal search, where he or she scans his or her memory to recall previous experiences with products. The internal search is more relevant for more frequently purchased products. When past experience or knowledge is insufficient and the consumer perceives a higher risk for a wrong purchase decision, the second step, the external search, becomes relevant. Here the consumer can gather information about certain products through personal sources, like friends and family, common public sources, or marketer-dominated sources, such as advertising, company websites, and salespeople. In the third stage, the alternative evaluation, the consumer tries to assess the value of the product alternatives. As long as the relevant criteria can be evaluated, the consumer makes a very subjective choice dependent on the use and personal preferences. Therefore the information search should offer a useful base. Here the chosen criteria should provide objective attributes of products as well as subjective factors, such as prestige. In the fourth stage, the purchase decision, the consumer has to decide from whom to buy, when to buy, and what to buy. The decision can be influenced by the shopping atmosphere, the shopping experience and the available time for the purchase. The purchase decision can also be dependent on aspects like past experiences with a certain seller, the purchase conditions or the pleasantness of the purchase process. In the fifth stage, the post-purchase behavior, the consumer makes his or her first experiences with the purchased product and compares it with previous expectations and is either satisfied or dissatisfied. Satisfaction or dissatisfaction strongly affects, for example, the consumers’ value perceptions and his or her repeat-purchase behavior. Therefore companies often try to convince buyers that they made the right decision by using ads or follow-up calls. Furthermore, post-purchase activities by companies can often be helpful to strengthen the relationship to their customers and, thus, increase loyalty. Beneath these five formal steps for purchase decisions consumers may also skip or minimize some of these steps depending on the level of involvement or the personal, social and economic significance of the purchase. For example frequently purchased products or low cost products with a low personal or social meaning may lead to a shortened purchase decision process. This could especially be relevant for the external information search and the evaluation of alternatives.[16]

The above described steps for making a purchase decision comprise the logical procedure for satisfying the emerging needs of consumers. But beyond this procedure, the purchase decision is determined by demographic and psychological influence factors for the consumer behavior. Therefore it is inevitable to investigate these factors to get a better understanding for the internal and external processes which influence consumers in their behavior and for the assumed need for mass customized products. In the following subchapters I will have a deeper look on demographic and psychological aspects that influence the consumer behavior in order to understand purchase decisions from the consumer’s point of view.

2.4 Psychological Influence Factors on Consumer Behavior

In the following chapter concepts such as motivation and personality, perception, and attitudes will be considered. The focus will be on attitudes, readiness, and perceived risk in order to limit the investigations on the research topic. But a short description of other concepts is necessary to understand consumer behavior in the whole context for buying mass customized products. Since considerations on mass customization from a consumer perspective are relatively new in the marketing literature, the approach to investigate consumer behavior in a broader context seems to be recommended.

2.4.1 Motivation and Personality

In order to understand why consumers buy, pay for, and use specific products, the motivation and the personality give a first answer. Therefore I will start with defining motivation and identifying three facets of motivation: needs, emotions, and psychographics.

According to Sheth & Mittal (2004), motivation can be seen as the driving force for all human behavior. It is defined as “the state of drive or arousal that impels behavior toward a goal-object.” It has two components: (1) drive or arousal and (2) goal-object. Drive or arousal provides the energy to act, or is “an internal state of tension that produces actions purported to reduce that tension.” Automatic or emotive arousal can cause the relevant behavior directly. Cognitive arousal also causes a behavior but only after further cognitive activity to figure out possible goal-directed behaviors. For the purchase of mass customized products, consumers identify and deliberate available options, which are related to cognitive arousals. A goal-object provides the direction for a consumer to channel that energy, or “is something in the external world whose acquisition will be reduce the tension.” Here the goal could be something to embrace or avoid. In the marketing literature these two directions are named approach motivation and avoidance motivation. Approach motivation is the desire to attain a goal-object and to remedy unhappiness. Avoidance motivation can be seen as the desire to protect oneself from an object, for example avoiding traveling long distances to purchase a product, paying high prices, or conducting time-consuming comparison searches.[17]

In order to explain the motivation to purchase mass customized products it is a combination of approach and avoidance motivation. On the one hand the consumer might have a distinctive imagination of a product that satisfies his/her need and, thus, wants to attain a goal-object. On the other hand the consumer also wants to avoid the purchase of a similar standard product that cannot satisfy his/her need and, thus, tries to protect himself/herself from a less satisfying product by choosing a more suitable and customized product. But the purchase of mass customized products also obliges to higher purchasing efforts and a higher price to pay compared to standard products. By providing customized products to consumers, companies are able to minimize avoidance features while maximizing approach features.

Consumer Needs

As already mentioned buyer motivation is an important construct for understanding consumer behavior and consists of three facets. The first one that will be considered is consumer need. Needs are deprivations of desired states that are often classified in various dimensions. In the marketing literature on consumer needs many perspectives and classification schemes can be found. This huge variety is mainly caused by different points of view but still describing the same issue. Furthermore they vary in their level of detail, but it is still possible to cross-classify these need categories and, thus, relate to one another. To avoid going beyond the scope of this consideration, I will first dwell on the best known and most universal and general classification scheme developed by Maslow, Maslow’s need hierarchy, and second on a more suitable scheme developed by the consumer researcher Janica Hanna.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs consists of five levels arranged in a hierarchy. The needs on a higher level can only be satisfied after the needs on a lower level are satisfied. If the needs on a higher level are satisfied but the needs on a lower level become unsatisfied again, a person regresses back to lower level needs. The hierarchy of needs is pictured in figure 3. On the basic level, physiological or basic life needs such as hunger or thirst have to be satisfied. Then humans want to satisfy their needs on the next level, the safety and security needs

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 3: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

such as security and protection for them. When the basic needs and the safety and security needs are fully satisfied, humans start to satisfy their social needs such as family, relationships, or work groups. After that they start to satisfy their need for esteem by developing self-esteem, status and reputation. As long as all the four levels of need are satisfied, humans concentrate on self-actualization, for example through realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, or seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

When using this model to understand consumers’ purchase decisions some critical aspects of this model have to be mentioned. Individual behavior of humans seems to respond to several needs – not just one. The same need may cause quite different behavior in different individuals. Moreover it is unclear when a level has actually been “satisfied”. And the model ignores the often-observed behavior of individuals who tolerate low-pay for the promise of future benefits. In general, there is little empirical evidence to support the model.

In order to evaluate Maslow’s model in terms of its usability for the need for mass customized products it could be an approach to relate this need to the need for esteem and the need for self-actualization. Some parallels can be seen in the recognition from others and seek for personal growth. But this is a crucial relationship because customization of products can be interesting for many kinds of products that are able to satisfy certain levels of needs. Furthermore, Maslow was a psychologist and his hierarchy of needs is more related to human needs instead of the emergence of consumer needs, although it is often used to study consumer needs.

The typology of consumer needs developed by Janice Hanna could partly deliver more parallels between consumer needs and the need for customization. She has proposed a list of seven consumer needs:

1. Physical safety
2. Material security
3. Material comfort
4. Acceptance by others
5. Recognition from others
6. Influence over others
7. Personal growth

Of course, these needs are very similar to Maslow’s model. But here one can find a stronger relationship to consumer behavior. Indeed, it makes no real sense to find reasons of motivation for the need of mass customized products in physical safety, material security, material comfort, and influence over others, because she described physical safety as “the need to consume products so as to avoid harm or danger in their use and to preserve clean air and water in the environment”.[18] Material security was described as “the need to consume an adequate supply of material possession”.[19] Material comfort is “the need to consume a large and/or luxurious supply of material possessions” and influence over others is defined as “the need to feel one’s impact on others’ consumption decisions”.[20]

Instead of searching for motivational reasons for the need of mass customized products in these four needs, it could be easier to find some approaches for the need for mass customized products in the other three needs provided by Hanna. First, consumers want to be accepted by others, which stand for “the need to consume products in order to be associated with a significant other or a specific reference group”.[21] By purchasing mass customized products consumers can design their individual products in a way that might be accepted by others. Thus, they are able to reduce the risk to be rejected by others. Second, consumers want to be recognized from others, which mean that consumers have “the need to consumer products in order to be acknowledged by others as having a high status in his or her community”.[22] Of course, mass customization doesn’t play a role in the business world for such a long time and, thus, people might perceive it as something special when they can design products individually. By purchasing mass customized products consumers may be able to impress their social environment and, thus, be recognized by others. Finally, consumers have the need to grow in their personality, which means that they have “the need to consume products in order to be or become one’s own unique self”.[23] Here it seems to be most obvious that mass customization supports the need of personal growth since this kind of product adaptation increases uniqueness of consumers, at least from a materialistic view.

As a consequence, consumer needs can offer a first approach to understand the motivation to purchase mass customized products. This need could be made perspicuous through several theoretical models that explain consumer needs. Here I used two of them, but this phenomenon could also be explained by other models of consumer needs.


[1] Davis, 1987; Pine, 1993

[2] Goldsmith, 1999

[3] Pepers & Rogers, 1993

[4] Pine, 1993

[5] Da Silveira et al., 2001

[6] Kaplan & Haenlein, 2006, p.177

[7] Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004

[8] Pepers & Rogers, 1997; Hart, 1995; Gilmore & Pine, 1997

[9] Pine, 1993; Pepers & Rogers, 1997

[10] Kaplan & Haenlein, 2006, p.177

[11] Piller & Müller, 2004

[12] Pepers & Rogers, 1997

[13] Hart, 1995

[14] Gilmore & Pine (1997)

[15] Huffman & Kahn (1998)

[16] Sheth & Mittal, pp. 274-304.

[17] Sheth & Mittal, 2004, pp. 159-189.

[18] Sheth & Mittal, 2004, p.167

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid. p. 168.

[23] Ibid.

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Mass customization and consumer behavior - A case study from a german consumer perspective
Mid Sweden University
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Mass, Mass Customization, consumer behavior, customization, consumer behaviour, mass customisation, customer attitudes, customized products
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Master of Science Joscha Köllner (Author), 2007, Mass customization and consumer behavior - A case study from a german consumer perspective, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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