How do innovations enter mainstream markets? One way is through the high-end or premium segment of a market which can afford the extras before it becomes cheaper for mainstream customers to reach it.
FastCompany.com writes about Luxury cars and how they drive innovation:
The luxury car segment has become the testing ground of leading edge systems and features. There, car companies can sell new technologies and continue to refine them. When the cost comes down years later, the technology finds its way into other segments of the car market. Many luxury models, for example, have parking assistance, where radar waves trigger an alert telling drivers that they are near another car. This tech is quickly becoming standard and will soon appear in lower tiered car models.
As successful as these entertainment systems have been, there is another technology with potentially greater demand. “Hybrids, clean-diesels, and emissions are going to drive the next big impulse in technology in vehicles,” says Padgett. Like other types of technology, hybrids provide one more field for automakers to differentiate themselves.
The lesson is the same for other areas of green technology. If you look at clothing; the example of Patagonia and now Nau are both from the premium segment. Tesla is doing the same for electric cars. It’s simple; that’s where the paying customers are.
I think the green market will follow the similar path of ‘trickle down innovation’.