Barry L. Bayus(1992), Have diffusion rates been accelerating over time?,
Marketing Letters, 3, 215-226.
As we all know, change is accelerating. This means that product life cycles are shorter
products diffuse faster. Right? Not so according to this interesting study by Bayus. He
examined diffusion rates for seven major appliances (clothes washer, refrigerator,
freezer, room A/C, electric clothes dryer, microwave oven, and trash compactor), seven
housewares items (vacuum cleaner, waffle iron, heating pad, blender, can opener, electric
toothbrush, and electric knife), and six consumer electronics items (radio, B&W TV,
color TV, turntable, cassette tapedeck, and VCR). These products had been
introducedfrom1908 (clothes washer and vacuum cleaner) to 1975 (VCR). In addition to
estimating diffusion curves, he looked at the penetration rates15 year after introduction.
Bayus also summarizes findings from seven previously published studies. In general, he
concludes that there is little evidence that product life cycles are getting shorter. An
extended paper on this topic, "Are product life cycles really getting shorter?"
will appear in the Journal of Product Innovation Management, September 1994.