Selling the Sewing Machine Around the World: Singer's International Marketing Strategies, 1850-1920

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

Abstract

The sewing machine was one of the first standardized and mass-marketed complex consumer durables to have been diffused widely around the world before 1920. This global diffusion was almost the sole responsibility of one firm, Singer. Despite its American origins, Singer's success lay principally overseas. New data provide insight into the company`s international marketing strategies. Although the firm had a reputation for marketing sophistication, Singer did not depend on price discrimination, extensive advertising, or loss-leading expansion of retail networks in its overseas markets. Rather, its success was due to the characteristics of consumer demand for sewing machines, features that combined with its strategic investments in market support services and in its selling organization to create Singer's enormous competitive advantages in foreign markets.

Suggested Citation

Godley, Andrew, Selling the Sewing Machine Around the World: Singer's International Marketing Strategies, 1850-1920. Enterprise & Society: The International Journal of Business History, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 266-314, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=911765

Andrew Godley (Contact Author)

University of Reading ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

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