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Niche market strategy for a mature marketplace

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Purpose ‐ To examine how companies in the maturity stage of the product life cycle can implement and maintain a successful niche market strategy to increase competitiveness in the face of new competition, with particular reference to the global textile industry. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Responsible executives in eight firms in the textile and apparel/clothing sector in the USA were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone, or completed an online questionnaire. The sample contains leaders in the industry. Findings ‐ Research results suggest that niche marketing is an effective strategy for countering price competition in a mature industry and can use a niche market strategy. They identify key success factors, the most important factor of which was found to be a thorough understanding of the targeted consumers. It is concluded that the marketing mix plays a more important part than is generally suggested in the literature, by communicating non-price product attributes to the niche market. Research limitations/implications ‐ The small sample limits generalization beyond the companies that participated in the study and comparable firms in the US textile and apparel/clothing industry. Practical implications ‐ This research study shows, within its limitations, that niche marketing is a promising global competitive strategy for mature industries. The study proposes practical guidelines for putting it into practice. Originality/value ‐ This study generally confirms the literature, but comes to some original further conclusions.

Keywords: Clothing and accessories; Competitive strategy; Niche marketing; Textiles; United States of America

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2006

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