The authors compare three mechanisms that may explain why older consumers tend to prefer older brands. Data are from the French perfume market, in which some market leaders are decades old while hundreds of new entrants launch yearly. The authors reveal monotonically increasing differences across age ranges. Younger consumers have a greater propensity to change their preferred brand, a form of innovativeness that benefits relatively recent entrants, whereas older consumers exhibit a propensity to remain attached for a longer duration to the same preferred brand. Nostalgia for options encountered during an early “formative period” has only a limited impact. Furthermore, strong heterogeneity emerges: At all ages, some consumers frequently change their preferred brand, whereas others remain attached to it for long periods. It is the proportion of these two behaviors that varies across age ranges. The resultant managerial implications indicate that mature consumers are attractive targets because they likely remain attached to a brand longer, that long-established products may still attract new consumers, and that the success of a new brand among young consumers may be ephemeral.
LAMBERT-PANDRAUD, R. and LAURENT, G. (2010). Why do Older Consumers Buy Older Brands? The Role of Attachment and Declining Innovativeness. Journal of Marketing, 74(5), pp. 104-121.