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Fad: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Fad Defined
  • 0:29 Examples
  • 0:58 Life Cycle Differences
  • 2:00 Buying Behavior
  • 2:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Fads are products that seldom serve a useful purpose but are often very popular for a short time. In this lesson, you'll learn about fads products, some related concepts and be given some examples. A short quiz follows.

Fad Defined

A fad is a product that has little, if any, utility but is characterized by a quick rise in sales and popularity followed by a quick decline in sales and popularity. This quick up and down in sales is because fad products usually do not satisfy a strong consumer need. Nevertheless, fads seldom completely die out, with some hardcore followers remaining loyal.

Well-Known Examples of Fads

Let's look at some classic examples of fads:

  • Hula-hoop®
  • Cabbage Patch Kids®
  • Pet Rock®
  • Rubik's Cube®
  • Hacky sack®
  • Lava lamps
  • Mood rings
  • Yo-yos
  • Virtual Pets
  • Beanie Babies®
  • Boomerang®
  • Frisbee®
  • Pokémon®

Product Life Cycle Differences

Fads usually follow a different product life cycle compared to regular products. The general life cycle of a product includes an introduction phase where the product is introduced into the market. The growth stage is where the product gradually gains market acceptance, and then it enters the maturity stage, where the product has reached its market potential and sales plateau for a while. When sales start to decline, the product will enter the decline stage.

A fad's life cycle is often different. A fad typically has a brief introduction period as its popularity skyrockets, followed by a very brief maturity stage. The product enters decline almost as quickly as it rose in popularity. Thus, instead of a gradual introduction and a long period of maturity followed by a relatively slow decline, fads display a sharp increase in sales followed by a very short plateau of sales that lead to a very sharp decline in sales.

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