Companies are currently being encountered with increasing competition in the international markets, since products are exported more easily to a variety of countries. In order to succeed in export countries, product preferences should correspond to customer needs, since similarities and differences are found concerning product attribute preferences. However, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) might not have the resources to conduct vast studies to discover what the preferences are. In order to present the SMEs with information and possible explanations of what the various preferences are, a group of respondents´ product design preferences were investigated in three example countries, the USA, South Korea and Germany. The purpose is to demonstrate how SMEs can benefit from using quantitative and qualitative methods to develop products to better suit the intended target market, by providing knowledge of applicable methods and approaches when culture-related product design preferences are studied. Furthermore, the study provides knowledge of product design preferences in the three target countries with regard to example products, with supportive material concerning general design preferences. Based on the results, it is possible to draw conclusions about what product attribute categories should be emphasized when exporting to the example countries. The studied Americans rated economic attributes, especially good value for money, significantly more important than the other target countries concerning the example products. Then again, the Koreans and Germans emphasized usability, especially safe to use, higher than the Americans for specific products. Overall, the aesthetic attributes were not considered important, although the Koreans preferred a trendy and exclusive look significantly more than the Americans. To demonstrate how the acquired knowledge can be implemented in practice, a design concept with examples of function, design, materials, colours and other visual attributes is presented. The results are presented in four papers based on the acquired material.
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2007. , 31 p.