When technology is preceded with “niche,” it is meant to refer to a technological product, service, or method made for a specific sub-set of people. Before outlining examples of niche technology, we’ll first break down the phrase and discuss what “technology” as well as “niche” actually mean.
What is Technology?
Etymologically, the word “Technology” is transliterated from two greek words: techne and logos. Techne refers to art, skill, or craft in work. Where-as logos means “word” or the way in which inward thought is expressed or said. Quite literally, technology means words about the ways in which things are gained.
In terms of contemporary usage of the term, technology has come to mean something entirely different.
Technology today is expressed in the following ways:
- Technology is a process of creating means in order to transform matter, energy, or data in order to discern valued ends.
- Technology is a set of means, in the form of devices, methods, systems, or tools that are created by the aforementioned process.
- Technology is interpreting facts and data in order to manipulate matter and create tools and methods in order to make the above process possible.
- Technology is the collaboration of the above concepts to form a technological system.
What is a Niche?
In business, a niche market is a segment of a larger market that has it’s own set of needs and preferences that sets it apart from the larger group.
In niche marketing, a business will promote their product, service, or even technology to this very defined audience based on the following criteria:
- Demographics (age, income, gender)
Products that are considered niche are often price inelastic. Meaning, changes in price lead to a small percent change in demand. Goods that are considered price inelastic have few substitutes and are often considered to be a necessity by the user.
Examples of Niche Technology
To help further illustrate what niche technology means, we’ll look examine technology being implemented in certain niche markets.
Note: Some of these topics could be considered evergreen, however saturation also needs to be considered.
The gaming niche is a growing one: More females are entering the market, there are several genres (First person shooters, role playing, multiplayer battle arena), as well as consoles (Xbox, Playstation, PC, Mobile).
Most people use regular peripherals like a mouse and keyboard as well as output devices like a monitor or headphones. Gamers use specialized versions of these products in order to optimize play.
For instance, mouses that are engineered to be lighter and keyboards with switches that make accutation of keypresses easier. Monitors have faster refresh rates in order to improve the gaming experience.
Several people own animals, however “pets” is a fairly broad term. There are several types, breeds, and species of pet, as well as lifestyles for owners that allow for different niche products.
For instance, Hunters often use GPS tracking devices on their work dogs in the event that they go missing. Older animals tend to have food sensitivies and as a result specialized food and diets need to be formulated for “mature” animals. There are also people that opt to accessorize their animals with clothing, hair dye, and even nail polish.
Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world. It’s estimated that half of the people over 18 drink coffee every day. Most coffee drinkers own a drip brew coffee machine (Mr. Coffee is a good example) and they purchase pre-ground beans from their local grocery store.
However, specialized/niche versions of the above exist for people who are after better coffee.
Several brew methods exist: drip brew, pour over, aeropress, siphon, cold brew, french press, etc. There are also three main roast types for beans: light, medium, and dark. Beans can also be ground according to brew method being employed: coarse (percolator, french press), medium (drip), Fine (espresso).
In order to achieve the above, specialized equipment in the form of a coffee maker and grinder must be used.
A niche is a group that has their own specific wants or needs that separates them from a larger market. Technology refers to the means of creation and ideation of tools and systems in order to solve problems.
A niche technology is then a technological system that is used by a segmented audience based on location, interests, demographics, and price.