Market Entry Timing Strategy
Empirical study (Robinson and Fornell, 1985) shows that first mover 20%, early followers 17%, and late entrants 13% market share. Robinson (1988) believes that the order of entry alone explain 8.9% of the variation in market shares. It has been shown that the longer the elapsed time between entry of the first mover and that of later entrants, the more opportunities becomes available to the first mover to achieve cost and differentiation advantages. A longer response time provides the first mover to promote awareness and trial that contribute to category learning and for consumers to integrate into their memory additional information through media and WoM.
Lieberman and Montgomery (1988) believe that first-mover advantages arise from three primary sources: Technological leadership, pre-emption of assets, and buyer switching costs. Technological leadership provides a learning curve, where unit production fall with cumulative output, which generates a sustainable cost advantage for the early entrant if learning can be kept proprietary and the firm can maintain leadership in market share. If the first-mover has superior information, it may be able to purchase assets at market prices below those that will prevail later in the evolution of the market, such as natural resources and retailing or manufacturing locations. Where there is room for only a limited number of profitable firms, the first-mover can often select the most attractive niches and may be able to take strategic actions that limit the amount of space available for subsequent entrants. With switching costs, late entrants must invest extra resources to attract customers away from the first-mover firm. Buyer may rationally stick with the first brand they encounter that performs the job satisfactorily. Brand loyalty of this sort may be particularly strong for low-cost convenience goods. Thus, late entrants must have a truly superior product, or else advertise more frequently or more creatively.
Schnaars (1986) implies that the early bird normally catches and retains the worm. ‘Me-too’ products introduced by later entrants were much more likely to fail. Second entrants obtain on the average only about three-quarters of the market share of the pioneer, and later entrants are able to capture progressively smaller shares. Consumers tend to know and favour the pioneering product, they have no reason to experiment with subsequent entries. These cost advantages put later entrants at a competitive disadvantage, and pioneers may be able to erect entry barriers that lock out subsequent entrants. Late entrants can also find that the field is crowded and the market offers little opportunity. However, a well-conceived ‘second-but-better’ entry, backed by aggressive advertising, may be able to surpass the pioneer’s entry. Later entrants must be better in terms of performance or price, or both, if they are to have any chance of success. Many firms with strong market orientation seem to embrace later entry. No one entry strategy proved best in all situations. Primary benefit for the pioneer is to build an unassailable position before later entrants recognize the promise of the market or are willing to take the risks of an early entry. It is most appropriate when image and reputation are important to the customer, experience effects are important and not easily copied, brand loyalty accrues to the pioneer, and cost advantages can be obtained by early commitment to suppliers and channels. It carriers many risks, because almost every aspect of an emerging market is unknown. Many pioneers end up pursuing false leads that later entrants are able to avoid. Thus it must be willing to commit a great deal of money – for R&D and educate customers’. The chances of a pioneer getting the product right for the first time are almost nil. One study found that it takes seven to eight years on the average before a firm that enters a new line of business actually...
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