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Trade Routes: Where What Isn’t Will be Found
By: Michael Wynne
Posted: August 29, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.
page 2 of 5
Microsoft and the entire computer and software industries have taught all of us to expect the upgrades. A new version of Windows comes out, and people feel obsolete if they don’t get it. Intel develops a new and better chip, and makes everyone’s hardware so “yesterday” and so on. But, upgrades better be major ones or they won’t make a difference.
This is an invention industry. Companies, laboratories, institutions and governments around the world are investing billions in developing and introducing new products. Scientists and technicians are constantly working on developing the next new thing. L’Oréal has 2,500 researchers in its labs around the world. In 2001 alone, the company registered 420 patents for innovative ingredients. Procter & Gamble has 7,000 (not all dedicated to cosmetics). Bayer has 2,500 focused on health and cosmetics. So the stream of innovations and new products is likely to continue growing.
Global communications instantly introduce new ideas, products, trends and fads everywhere. As a result, the demand for “in” products surges around the world in days rather than years. Global competition quickly turns new products into commodities. In little time, everyone has one, which increases the interest in newer offerings. It also increases the numbers of companies producing and offering them.
Global disposable income is growing. Today’s consumers can afford to buy new products. In fact, even those who can’t really afford the expense seem to find the way to buy them anyway. If you don’t believe it, just take a look at the kinds of people who are walking around talking into their cellular phones. People with money to spend look for new products.
The Internet enables people everywhere to access and buy new products, and credit cards have become the universal currency. This allows people to buy products in other countries without the complication of currency exchange rates and transfers. Global access and easy financing encourage impulse buying. Transient Competitive Advantages