Did you buy that DVD recorder you were looking at? How about the iPod mini you contemplated purchasing? Odds are, according to a study by the AMD Global Consumer Advisory Board (GCAB), your wallet wasn't the primary influence in those purchasing decisions. More likely, you considered two other factors first: "importance of benefit to me" and "familiarity." According to the GCAB study, consumers consistently rank a product's benefits and familiarity before they're convinced that the product is worth purchasing. Consumers typically consider "ease of use" third, and "affordability" fourth, followed by "knowledge of where to buy." The study also found that owners of PDAs ranked "importance of benefit to me" for PDAs at about 4 on a scale of 1 to 7—the lowest of all the products surveyed. Personal computers, mobile phones, and microwaves, however, ranked the highest of all the products, with owners ranking "importance of benefit to me" at about 6.

"From a marketing perspective, the low score of 'importance' by PDA owners is troubling. It may explain why, according to analysts such as Parks Associates and Forrester, PDA sales with their current utility may have hit a plateau," Tricia Parks, founder and president of Parks Associates and principal author of the study, said. "On the other hand, personal computers and mobile phones, which scored high in importance among owners, currently have strong growth in sales, according to analyst and industry firms such as the Semiconductor Industry Association, as owners are realizing product benefits and, in turn, becoming product advocates."