WSJ writes: “In the shrinking world marketplace, innovations that seduce consumers in one region become global trends with ever-growing speed. The process is shaking up the power structure of one industry after another, from computers to consumer electronics to automobiles.”
The cellphone industry highlights it more than any other:
Major new styles or technological advances in cellphones now appear somewhere in the world almost annually. Wired, well-traveled consumers seek out the latest thing, local retailers rush to offer it and service providers order it to boost revenue. The rapid changes in taste and demand have forced producers into a frantic race to keep up. The pressures have forced some makers to simply pull out.
Manufacturers that can jump on an emerging trend early can command higher prices and reap substantial rewards. Mobile-phone sales at Samsung rose 51% last year as color screens spread from Asia to Europe and the U.S. Companies that miss trends can also miss out on sales big-time. Nokia’s mobile-phone sales last year were nearly flat; Motorola’s rose just 4%.