When using conjoint studies for market-based design, two model types can be fit to represent the heterogeneity present in a target market, discrete or continuous. In this paper, data from a choice-based conjoint study with 2275 respondents is analyzed for a 19-attribute combinatorial design problem with over 1 billion possible product configurations. Customer preferences are inferred from the choice task data using both representations of heterogeneity. The hierarchical Bayes mixed logit model exemplifies the continuous representation of heterogeneity, while the latent class multinomial logit model corresponds to the discrete representation. Product line solutions are generated by each of these model forms and are then explored to determine why differences are observed in both product solutions and market share estimates. These results reveal some potential limitations of the Latent Class model in the masking of preference heterogeneity. Finally, the ramifications of these results on the market-based design process are discussed.

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