What determines firms’ intention to postpone product differentiation?

Akinori Ono, Tomokazu Kubo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In present-day Japan, more firms are beginning to apply postponed product differentiation in favor of providing mass-customized products. Mass customization can lead to competitive advantages in satisfying consumers’ individual needs. We propose a causal model to describe why and how Japanese distributors decide to postpone product differentiation and supply mass-customized products. The model was empirically tested by structural equation modeling with a dataset from Japanese automobile dealers, who have employed highly advanced mass customization systems and are world leaders in this practice. The results show that two environmental factors, uncertainty and innovation, affect firms’ expectations of their customers’ intentions to purchase mass-customized products and, in turn, firms’ decisions regarding postponing product differentiation in favor of mass customization. Mass customization has a high potential for growth in the future due to increasing levels of uncertainty and evolving forms of innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-210
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marketing Channels
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • innovation of supply systems
  • Mass customization
  • postponed product differentiation strategy
  • purchase intention toward mass-customized products
  • uncertainty of market demands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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