The Global Electronic Components Industry. (Focus on Industries and Markets)

By Gross, Andrew C.; Hester, Edward D. | Business Economics, July 2002 | Go to article overview

The Global Electronic Components Industry. (Focus on Industries and Markets)

Gross, Andrew C., Hester, Edward D., Business Economics

The long term global demand for electronic components will remain strong during the current decade, though growth will be slightly less robust than in the past ten years (9.0 percent vs. 10.5 percent per annum). Ongoing advances in information technology; expansion of the global Internet infrastructure, new generations of handheld and wireless devices, and rising electronic content in original equipment products are the key factors in the growth of shipments. The best prospects for sales will shift to developing countries and emerging markets. Demand growth will decelerate in the United States, but the long-suffering Japanese market will recover. High-end integrated circuit devices offer the best growth opportunities. The Asia-Pacific region will remain a strong net exporter, while all other regions will continue to be net importers of electronic components.


The universe of generic applications (or end uses) of electronic products spans virtually all sectors of the economy. In the twenty-first century, the scope of electronics touches on most consumer durables (from kitchen appliances to entertainment centers) and industrial equipment (telecom gear, motor vehicles, aerospace goods, instruments, etc.). There are three major end uses for electronics: information technology (IT), industrial and transportation, and consumer goods and "other."

The global revolution in electronics has made possible both the automation of repetitive tasks and the more efficient performance of other tasks. This revolution began in the late 1940s, followed by advances in integrated circuit technology in the late 1950s. Since 1960, continuous progress in components and subsystems have allowed prices to decline sharply, while performance measures have exploded. Using a global price deflator index of 1992=100, the drop went from 123 in 1989 to 27 in 1999. No other sector can boast such trends. From design and fabrication through assembly and even distribution, this business is technology-driven.

Components form the basic building blocks of all electronics products. There are two major groups: a large family of active components and a small group of passive components. Active electronic components are semiconductor products that supplanted the previous generation of vacuum tube devices. The semiconductor family in turn can be broken down into integrated circuits (IC) on the one hand and so-called discretes, plus optoelectronics, on the other. Integrated circuit devices can be further divided into memory chips, digital ICs, microprocessors, and others. Microprocessors are very large-scale ICs, commonly referred to as "computers on a chip" since they feature processing, memory, access, and input/output capacity.

Passive components can interrupt, resist or otherwise influence current flow, but cannot control it. Passive components are capacitors, resistors, connectors, filters, inductors, and oscillators. In effect, the "passives" are used to enhance or supplement the performance of ICs. As subsystems become more miniaturized, integrated passive components will emerge. All switches, sensors, keyboards, sockets, wiring harnesses, and the like, are excluded in this analysis.

The Macroeconomic Environment

The demand for electronic components is a derived demand. The vast majority of both active and passive components are installed in "original equipment make" (OEM) products: consumer electronics, motor vehicles, telecom equipment, factory automation systems, military hardware, and other goods. A far smaller portion enters the maintenance/repair/operations (MRO) sector.

Because electronic components are so widely installed, they are affected by all major macroeconomic variables, ranging from capital spending by businesses to disposable income of consumers, from government budgets to sectoral trends. Falling prices are a positive influence, and saturation rates are a negative influence in both the industry and consumer sectors. Ultimately, however, the demand is derived from the spending patterns of final users. The current slowdown in shipments and sales can be traced to a slowdown in the acquisition rate of major durable goods and small appliances by households as well as in the capital spending plans of companies.

Highly industrialized countries have a more mature, cyclical market for components that is large but growing relatively slowly. In newly industrializing countries, markets are smaller and less evolved; but they tend to grow faster. There is a "boombust" cyclicality in components that follows that of OEM products. This phenomenon happened most recently in the case of mobile phones and portable computers. In the boom phase, shortages in components prompt rapid expansion in fabrication, followed soon thereafter by excess capacity, perhaps exacerbated by sluggish demand for OEM products. When demand for OEM products recovers, the cycle begins again. This cyclicality is especially prevalent with memory chips and other commodity-like integrated circuits.

During the 1990s, an early, moderate recession was followed by a recovery in most of the OECD nations by 1994; but then a definite recession or "true trough" hit Europe, Japan, and North America during 2000-2001. In emerging markets, the situation was also mixed in the past decade, with the robust growth of Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe being halted and largely offset by the 1997-1998 East Asian financial crisis.

Driving the market will be "affordability" of basic consumer appliances, improved telecom gear of all kinds, and sophisticated industrial equipment. For example, (as of May, 2002) the prolonged recession has made even gadget-minded Japanese reluctant to purchase "third generation" (3G) phones, which are part personal digital assistants and part entertainment centers and are priced around $500. However, recent polls of public and private forecasters see a recovery down the road. Prices will decline and the "network effect"--in which a new wave of subscribers gets others to sign up--will come into play. Also, research spending by leading firms is expected to hold up. Thus, in the long run, the future for electronic components looks bright because of widespread demand for the goods in which they are incorporated.

The Technology Environment

In addition to product development, technology is also aimed at improvements in design and fabrication. Process technology is especially crucial for ICs. The dominant IC technology is becoming metal-oxide semiconductors (MOS), which are easier to produce, take less space, allow more integration, consume less power, and are faster than competing bipolar products. Innovations in MOS process technology have sometimes been led by transnational corporate partnerships. For example, Conexant Systems of the United States (spun off from Rockwell in 1999) and Sharp of Japan developed the ability to make 0.15 micron size advanced MOS chips.

Active and passive components are usually configured into subsystems that are then further assembled into complete electronic systems. The most common type of subsystem is the printed circuit hoard. Passive components known as connectors are then used to link many boards into larger systems. New surface mounting technology now allows adherence of components to the boards directly, as well as many more components per any given area. The end result is the family of smart cards and similar devices in the form and shape of conventional credit cards.

Many observers see progress in product and process technology leading to another wave of computer hardware downsizing. For example, microprocessor-carrying smart cards will perform a host of assignments, ranging from gathering information to execution of a purchase. Electronic or e-commerce and mobile or in-business will come of age, with companies and individuals performing myriads of tasks without being wired or tied to a given location. Handheld devices and smart cards will have built-in computers relying on boards, ICs, and components.

World Supply and Demand

In regard to global demand for components, the large, diversified, and "advanced" markets have absorbed a host of active and passive components built into a wide variety of small devices and larger goods. Future demand will depend significantly on how quickly consumers and companies "buy into" new generation equipment.

Countries and regions also differ in regard to the supply of active and passive electronic components. As a general rule, fabrication of the more advanced components and subsystems take place in highly industrialized countries, while developing economies specialize in the manufacture of more commodity-oriented products, such as discrete semiconductors and passive components. However, it appears that the Asia-Pacific region will be a major net exporter of both kinds of goods in the coming years. It will also continue to absorb a growing share of the output.

The economic and technical dynamics of the semiconductor business have led to the emergence of "fabless design houses" in the past decade, which design microchips but do not have their own fabrication facilities and thus contract out manufacturing. In a similar fashion, major IC makers often outsource their fabrication to semiconductor "foundry" companies.

Table 1 shows that demand for electronic components will outpace GDP growth on both a global and a regional basis. Growth rates will be slightly lower than in the previous decade in the highly industrialized countries but faster in the developing countries. Japan is the big question mark, having experienced a major slowdown in the 1990s. Thus, component demand may exhibit faster growth during the 1999-2009 period, but some believe our projected nine percent annual growth may be too high.

Regional Trends

According to Table 1, North America will continue its domination in electronic components in the coming decade, though its share of global demand will decline slightly from 43 to 38 percent. Europe and Japan will remain steady roughly at 15 and 13 percent respectively, while Asia-Pacific (other than Japan) will rise in importance from 23 percent in 1999 to 30 percent by 2009, with the rest of the world moving from three to four percent in this decade.

The North American region shows a sharp rise in intraregional economic activity as NAFTA integrates Canada and Mexico with the U.S. The interdependency is reflected in intraregional trade in electronic components: Canada and Mexico together account for over forty percent of U.S. exports of active and passive components. Not surprisingly, the United States is the largest external supplier of such components to its two neighbors, though Asian producers have become more visible recently in Mexico. Despite its extensive output, North America remains import-dependent for over one-fifth of its total requirements. See Table 2 for net exports by regions, 1989-2009.

While many countries in Latin America embarked on economic reforms in the past fifteen years, markets for electronics-related products and services are underdeveloped, and aggregate demand for electronic components was still only about 1.5 percent of global sales in 1999, around $4.2 billion. With the downstream OEM markets small to nonexistent, very few local component suppliers emerged, and the region is running a net trade deficit of about seventy percent of demand (demand was $4.2 billion vs. $1.2 billion shipments in 1999).

The European Union has taken a further step toward economic integration with the full adoption of the euro as its currency. Still, protected national markets and industrial sectors exist do exist. The region ranks third behind North America and Asia-Pacific in demand for electronic components, but growth has been steady rather than robust. Indigenous manufacturing of semiconductors is lagging; the net trade deficit in 1999 was one-fifth of total demand. While matching up well in technical skills with their U.S. and Japanese counterparts, West European chipmakers lag behind in market penetration. One bright niche market where Europe does lead is that for smart cards.

In the transition economies of Eastern Europe, indigenous capabilities exist in lower-end components such as analog and discrete semiconductors, but higher-end IC technology initiatives so far consist of copying Western designs. The demand for active and passive electronic components should soar from $0.6 billion in 1999 to $2.5 billion by 2009, most of it supplied from local sources. The Czech Republic emerged recently as a major exporter of tantalum capacitors.

The Africa-Mideast region as a whole is still impoverished, indebted, and heavily reliant on agriculture and natural resources. Thus, its aggregate demand for all electronic components in 1999 was only $4.1 billion (or about 1.5 percent of the world total), and the net trade deficit for such goods was about two-thirds of that figure. There is a lack of indigenous productive capability, though a few countries-Turkey, South Africa, Israel-have manufacturing sectors where local electronic components are widely utilized.

The Asia-Pacific region is diverse, ranging from pure market economies to those which are still centrally planned and from prosperous to impoverished. The big question mark is Japan, which is experiencing its worst recession in half a century. In contrast, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan are showing high productivity gains and healthy growth. Formidable indigenous electronics-based sectors are the hallmark of several countries, largely due to their vast downstream OEM counterparts, which serve as a ready source of business for both active and passive components. The export strength of Japan and South Korea is attributed to technical expertise and economies of scale. Cost advantages are offered by developing countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand through back-end assembly and testing operations. Last, but not least, Singapore and Taiwan are major "foundry" producers.

Table 2 further demonstrates the dominant position of the Asia-Pacific region as a net exporter, with other regions as net importers. No major shift is likely for any region during the current decade. The integrated producing companies of the West will continue their outsourcing-be it fabrication, assembly, or testing-to offshore, mostly Asian, entities.

Demand Patterns by Major Product Types

The most important subgroup of the active components is microprocessors, which account for almost ninety percent of ICs (while the ICs, in turn, account for over eighty percent of all semiconductor products). Given their multifunctional capability, microprocessors will continue to enjoy the best market prospects.

While passive components are integral to the operation of many kinds of electronic equipment and systems and will remain so in the foreseeable future, there is a definite trend whereby the functions done by passive components are utilized as part of more complex active devices, especially in the case of ICs. Thus, they are expected to continue to grow more slowly.

Demand Patterns by End Uses/Applications

IT offers the best growth prospects for electronic component suppliers, but applications with above average potential can be found in the other two major segments: industrial and transportation products and medical electronics.

IT encompasses activities related to communications and information processing. This sector accounts for about sixty percent of global demand for electronic components. Leading the parade in the past have been desktop and large computers, computer peripheral goods, and traditional wired telephone equipment. In the future, the best prospects will be in portable computers, third generation mobile phones, and the vast array of goods associated with the Internet, such as routers, servers, and network processors.

Industrial and transportation related applications still absorb about one-fifth of electronic components. Motor vehicles, industrial machinery, and aircraft will continue to increase their use of the performance-enhancing features of electronics technology. For example, programmable logic controllers have replaced electromechanical relays in industrial control settings. Embedded processors and microcontrollers are being utilized in small cars and expensive aircraft. Still, the overall growth rate for such end uses will be slower than that for IT-related goods.

Consumer durables, medical, and other applications not cited above account for the remaining twenty percent of the global market for electronic components. As incomes rise in developing nations, their emerging markets will absorb a growing array of consumer durables, ranging from basic television and radio sets to appliances as refrigerators and washing machines. The electronic content of such goods is rising inexorably. Medical instrumentation is yet another end use segment benefiting from the increased use of integrated circuits.

Industry Structure and Conduct

Several hundred firms are active in electronic component manufacture around the world, but both the active and passive product lines are dominated by a small number of large multinational firms. These firms, while often competing, also form collaborative ventures. Leading active component (semiconductor) producers are: Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, Motorola, and Texas Instruments of the United States; Infineon Technologies, Philips Electronics, and ST Microelectronics of Western Europe; Hitachi, NEC, and Toshiba of Japan; Hyundai and Samsung of South Korea. Market shares as of 1999 are shown in Figure 1. Leading passive component makers are: AMP/Tyco International, Molex, and Vishnay Intertechnology of the United States; EPCOS of Germany and Framatome of France; Kyocera, Murata, and TDK of Japan. Market shares are shown in Figure 2. Consolidation among firms in both active and passive component fabrication in the coming years is quite likely.

Research and Development

The electronic components field is one of the most technology-driven sectors in the global economy, especially at the "high end" of integrated circuits. Microprocessors and other logic ICs often require research and development (R&D) spending at or above ten percent of corporate revenues. The major vendors maintain product design centers around the globe to take advantage of local talent. Recruiting and retaining skilled scientists and engineers is no easy task; furthermore, such professionals often seek freedom to interact with their peers in other firms. Forming alliances and joining consortia helps both in sharing knowledge and in holding the line on R&D spending.

The quest to develop and produce new families of active and passive components is described often as seeking higher performance in an ever smaller space. This quest also includes lower prices and shorter product cycle times. But many companies emphasize knowledge creation as well as cost leadership and product differentiation. The key criteria are: a base of high quality talent; organizational learning and continuity; ease of scaling up from laboratory to fabrication; integration of subsystems; more processing capability along with miniaturization; and, finally, speed to marketplace. Top management commitment and corporate reputation also play a major role in the process. By definition, the leading firms score well on such measures.


Once current designs are in place, variables in the manufacture of electronic components fall into two categories: (1) raising efficiency in fabrication, that is, improving yields (quantity of top quality chips) while lowering production costs, and (2) managing plant or production capacity in volatile markets. Many firms, including the market leaders, have mastered the former far better than the latter. A recurring pattern in the industry is that surging demand causes overbuilding which then leaves suppliers with overcapacity.

One solution to the boom-and-bust cycle has been contract manufacturing or outsourcing. This lessens the need for the integrated producers to add capacity that may become redundant in a short time, but pushes the burden of fabrication on to foundries or contractors (such as Flextronics, Jabil Circuit, and Solectron). Actually, the integrated producers have routinely maintained back-end assembly and test facilities in developing countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines for many years. The increased use of outsourcing is seen as the next stage along this continuum. The relationship among the mainline firms and the contract manufacturers is not always smooth, as sufficient stock (inventory) must be balanced against just-in-time delivery.


Electronic component manufacturers sell their output into a diverse array of markets ranging from computer to automobile makers, from appliance to telecomm equipment manufacturers, from defense/aerospace contractors to governments agencies. Product features appealing to one group of buyers may riot be attractive to others; for example, some industries require multifunction chips while others prefer dedicated or single-function components. Pricing and product availability are key consideration to users, eroding loyalty to vendors.

Makers of components promote their wares via advertising in industry journals, at trade shows and technical conferences, and also via personal selling to buying centers through "relationship marketing." Intel has attempted to reach downstream further with its "Intel Inside" stickers on desktop/laptop computers as well as mass advertising of its leading Pentium microprocessors. Product distribution is via a company's own sales force-especially to national or key accounts-and via independent distributors. The sharp growth in shipment of electronic products globally gave rise to several major distributors. Among the leaders are Avnet of the United States and Premier Farnell of the United Kingdom. Standardized, off-the-shelf components are especially well-suited for marketing by such distributors (via catalogs, outpost offices, etc.). Such wholesaling and retailing of electronic components are needed to serve small users and the replacement market.

Partnerships/Alliances. Electronic component makers have learned that while competition is the prevailing business paradigm, collaboration and cooperation can also be useful modes for advancing corporate goals. Agreements can be formal or informal, short or long duration, local or across the globe. The underlying motives for such arrangements-which range from licensing to joint ventures, from verbal accords to formal alliances-are cost sharing, technology transfer, and access to coveted end user or geographic markets. Partnerships also allow scientists and engineers (whose loyalties are often to the profession and to technical progress, not to a corporate entity) to talk to their counterparts.

Examples of of selected strategic partnerships in the past seven years include: AMD and Fujitsu, AMD and Motorola, Atmel and Tyco International, Atmel and Stanford Electronics, Conexant Systems and Sharp, Fujitsu and Toshiba, Fujitsu and Acer, Infineon and IBM, IBM and Xilinx, Lucent Technologies and Chartered Semicon, Matsushita and Mitsubishi, Motorola and Toshiba, NEC and Beijing Hua Hong, NEC and Shanghai Hua Hong, Oki and Swift Semicon, Philips and ST Microelectronics, Sony and Texas Instruments, TDK and SanDisk, Tel.L.M.Ericcson and Applied Materials, and Vishay Intertechnology and Nichicon. Clearly, these collaborative ventures know no national boundaries; some firms reach out for partners across the street, some around the globe.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures. While competition is a way of life and collaboration is another way of achieving corporate goals, a third "solution" is the route of acquiring another entity-or, correspondingly, selling off the company or one of its divisions. Major restructuring has taken place in the electronic components sector due to intense competition magnified by high volatility of demand and the quest for market share. All subsectors have been impacted, but several large deals occurred on the passive components side as illustrated by Tyco International's acquisition of AMP and Raychem. Divestitures also occurred: Siemens spun off and created Infineon Technologies as well as EPC OS, while Rockwell International put Conexant Systems into business.

Many companies have been active in mergers and acquisitions in the past five years: Analog Devices, Atmet, Infineon Technologies, Intel, LSI Logic, Lucent Technologies, Mitel, Molex, Motorola, National Semiconductors, Philips, ST Microelectronics, Taiwan Semiconductors, and Texas Instruments. Recession in the high-tech sector and the need for capital hastened this process during the end of the 1990s and the start of the current decade. Intel has been especially active, acquiring Ambient Technologies, Basis Communications, GIGA of Denmark, Level One Comm, Softcom Microsystems, and Thinkit Technologies during 1999-2000.

Financial Requirements. Given the task of formidable product development and related capital spending requirements for process lines, the players in the electronic components industry are in constant need of adequate levels of financing. Venture capital for promising startups and initial public stock offerings have helped in this regard in the 1990s. In the past two years, the recession in the electronics and other sectors forced some small firms out of business or into the arms of larger ones. Competitive advantage down the road will shift to the larger vendors with better access to sources of finances.

Advances in information processing, several networks for electronic fund transfer, and the deregulation of the financial sector in many countries have reduced dependence on internal sources of funds and widened global access to capital. This phenomenon proved increasingly important to companies which are not headquartered in traditional finance centers (United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Singapore). In the developing countries of South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and China electronic components manufacturing companies were formed serving domestic and foreign markets, utilizing global capital.

In analyzing and comparing the annual reports of the top twenty-five companies in the electronic components manufacturing, we did not find a clear relationship between profitability and the degree of involvement in the sector. AMD, Hyundai, Infineon Technologies, Intel, Molex, ST Microelectronics, Taiwan Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, and Vishay Intertechnology have over eighty percent of their revenues derived from semiconductors. On the other hand Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Lucent Technologies, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, NEC, Philips Electronics, Samsung Group, and Toshiba derive less than twenty percent of their revenues from the making of semiconductors. One trend we noted is that during 1998-2002 South Korean firms were challenging Japanese ones in both productivity and profitability.

Note on Data Sources and Methodology

This article is based on a major monograph written by Edward D. Hester and published in October, 2000 by The Freedonia Group of Cleveland, Ohio. The original study ran to 440 pages with 200 pages devoted to thirty-three individual country markets and 150 pages devoted to company profiles. The current article takes only a world viewpoint but contains selected updates and revisions regarding the global demand/supply situation and industry structure.

A wide variety of primary and secondary sources were used in compiling the monograph. Public sector data sources included the U.S. Bureau of the Census, United Nations, OECD, World Bank, IMF, European Union, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, individual government agencies, embassies and/or consulates. Private sector sources encompass industry experts, online databases, trade associations, industry periodicals, and numerous corporate annual reports. The Freedonia Group's own data bank of macroeconomic historical statistics and forecasts was utilized to build the underlying framework for years 1989 to 2009 at five-year intervals (with only the years 1989, 1999, and 2009 being cited in this article).

Data on world electronic components had to be reconciled due to diverse sources and variations. Data presented are historically consistent, but may differ from other sources. Variances occur due to definitional differences, undistributed exports, inventory accumulation, and goods-in-transit. To reduce the impact of such discrepancies, total world electronic components imports and exports have been assumed to balance in a given year.

In the monograph and in this article, demand refers to apparent consumption, that is country shipments plus imports and minus exports. Semiconductor and passive component demand/supply data include revenue derived from both front-end wafer fabrication and back-end assembly and test activities. Thus, our data inevitably include some double counting and overstate other estimates of the global semiconductor market that include only the value of finished products. On the other hand, excluded from the scope of the monograph as well as this article are semi-finished products such as semiconductor parts, wafers, and the like, as well as components such as sensors, sockets, switches, keyboards, and wiring harnesses.

Finally, another potential for statistical discrepancy in the historical series for demand, on a country-by-country basis, was the conversion from national currencies to a common base (i.e., the U.S. dollar). When available and credible, local currencies were converted to U.S. dollars using purchasing power parity indices or a combination of such indices and exchange rates. Country data were then summed to regional statistics and finally to indicators on a global scale.



                                    1989     1999      2009    1998-99

                                 Billlions of U.S. Dollars        annual

World GDP (bil 97 US$)            27,110   35,608    51,200        2.8
Expenditure on Components

Relative to GDP x 1,000 ($)          3.8     7.8       12.9          -

World Electronic Component         102.4   277.7      659.6       10.5
Demand By Region

North America                       41.6   119.5      252.4       11.1

Western Europe                      19.3    45.0       96.0        8.8

Japan                               21.8    38.3       84.5        5.8

Other Asia-Pacific                  16.2    65.9      200.7       15.0

Rest of the World                    3.5     8.9       26.1        9.8
By Type

Semiconductors                      70.8   222.8      557.6       12.1

Passive Components                  31.7    54.8      102.0        5.6
By Application

Information Technology              55.6   168.6      422.6       11.7

Industry & Transportation.          20.2    50.8      111.3        9.6

Consumer & Other                    26.6    58.3      125.7        8.2



World GDP (bil 97 US$)          3.7
Expenditure on Components

Relative to GDP x 1,000 ($)      -

World Electronic Component      9.0
Demand By Region

North America                   7.8

Western Europe                  7.9

Japan                           8.2

Other Asia-Pacific             17.8

Rest of the World              11.4
By Type

Semiconductors                  9.6

Passive Components              6.4
By Application

Information Technology          9.6

Industry & Transportation.      8.2

Consumer & Other                8.0

Source: E. D. Hester. 2000. World Electronic Components, Study #1322.
Cleveland: The Freedonia Group. October. P. 3, p. 31.


                  1989   1999   2009


 World               -      -      -
 North America   -10.0  -27.1  -70.9
 Western Europe   -5.0   -9.4  -20.4
 Asia-Pacific     16.6   42.2  108.3
 Rest of World    -1.7   -5.7  -17.0

Source: E. D. Hester. 2000. World Electronic Components, Study #1322.
Cleveland: The Freedonia Group. October. P. 41.


Intel                 11.7%
Others                64.5%
Other Market Leaders  24.3%
NEC                      4%
Toshiba                3.6%
TI                     3.4%
Samsung                3.1%
Motorola               3.1%
Hitachi                2.5%
Infineon               2.3%
ST Micro               2.3%

Note: Table made from pie chart


Tyco/AMP               9.1%
Others                72.7
Other Market Leaders  18.2%
Murata                 5.5%
TDK                    4.7%
Kyrocera               4.2%
Framatome              3.8%

Note: Table made from pie chart

Andrew C. Cross is professor of marketing and international business at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH. Edward D. Hester is vice president and senior project manager with The Freedonia Group in Cleveland, OH.

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