Canadian researchers have found that changing market forces are the reason why artisanal or handmade products have become popular among large commercial producers.
In a new paper, researchers from Concordia University and HEC Montreal analyzed markets and found that products increasingly focus on aesthetics and craftsmanship, even if they are commercially produced.
Artisanal markets, or those with small producers who make their products individually or by hand, serve as a source of inspiration for commercial producers, who seek to present their own products as more authentic or genuine, despite being made in the factory. The researchers say this is because as larger markets evolve, they co-opt smaller producers who target niche markets.
One of the study’s authors, Pierre-Yann Dolbec, uses coffee as an example of cooptation.
“In this market, like others, craft businesses aim for aesthetic perfection while commercial businesses try to maximize profits,” Dolbec said. “For example, craft cafes target coffee connoisseurs by tailoring brewing recipes to specific coffee beans to perfect the taste of the coffee. Commercial companies target mainstream consumers by creating products that can be produced efficiently for profit, such as sweet treats like Pumpkin Spice Latte.
The study’s analysis of product development and markets highlights that there are four types of production enterprises: artisanal specialists and generalists, and commercial specialists and generalists. Craft specialists target a small market and try to produce the perfectly aesthetic product for it, while craft generalists aim for a larger market with broader consumer preferences and product knowledge levels , while always aiming for aesthetic qualities.
Conversely, commercial enterprises focus on profit and large markets, aesthetic perfection being irrelevant. So, while commercial specialists always target a niche market, the market is more concerned with ease of use and commercial generalists simply want to maximize their customers.
Ultimately, as specialty businesses become more popular, commercial businesses will be able to produce similar products that attract people interested in craft products from craft markets but who hadn’t been motivated to figure out how to get in. in the market themselves.
The full article was published in the Marketing Review.