Inside Dentistry
February 2011
Volume 7, Issue 2

The Long Tail Theory

The global marketplace is seeing an increasing shift in buying patterns from traditional mass-market products and services toward a growing number of niche markets. In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson of Wired magazine discusses this trend, which was just starting to take off when his book was published in 2006. Technology now provides consumers anywhere in the world with access to an infinite number of choices, allowing them to find a niche product that fits their specific needs, he explains. In contrast, large brick-and-mortar stores stock only those products they believe will sell to the masses. Anderson predicts that the demand for niche products has the potential to be as great, if not greater, than the demand for mass-produced products sold in big-box stores.

Examples of Anderson's purchasing shift theory are ubiquitous—from the success of Amazon.com to the Apple iTunes Store®. Consumers are demanding more flexibility in choice and greater shopping convenience. What happened to Blockbuster film rental store outlets with the advent of online competitor Netflix is a perfect example of what a dramatic impact this theory can have. This September, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Markets are changing across the board, and the dental industry is no exception.

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