The Impact of Globalization on Competitiveness within the Consumer Tech Market

The world is truly becoming flat when it comes to consumer tech and that has had (and is having) profound ramifications on the competitive nature of the global marketplace for consumer tech.  The global tastes and preferences of consumers are becoming homogeneous and while some subtleties still exist between geographic markets, these differences are quickly becoming marginalized.

Take for example mobile telephones. In the last 24-36 months we’ve witnessed the rise of global preferences for smartphones or traditional mobile telephony. Not news of course.  But what is perhaps interesting is that these preferences have largely materialized around a very few specific models.  Because of this, the global market has truly become a winner (can) take-all market. While mobile phone manufacturers will broker specific carrier deals within a given region, they are still selling the same handset across these markets for the most part. This has ramifications for accessory manufacturers and more broadly it has ramifications for the entire suite of devices, services, and software/applications within the accompanying ecosystem of a successful product – especially if the ecosystem is built around a specific OS.

Even when usage patterns differ across geographic markets do we care? Perhaps when it comes to the nuances of actually marketing a product or service, but because products and services will have all of the bells and whistles built in anyways there isn’t really much customization that needs to be done on a geographic basis.

But it does mean that the initial design of a device or service is extremely important.  It must scale globally.  Devices and services must speak a global design language.  Brands must work on a global scale. One need only look at Apple, Samsung, or Beats to see this working in practice.