Innovation Adoption Curve: Which Consumer Group Do You Belong To?

The Innovation Adoption Curve, also known as the Rogers Adoption Curve, is a theory that explains how new innovations or ideas are accepted by certain groups and cultures. Basically, whenever new technology comes out everyone in society reacts differently. For example, every time a new cell phone is released are you the person who preorders it or do you wait until your current phone stops working before you upgrade? Your answer to this question reveals what kind of an adopter you are when it comes to new innovations.

Marketers have broken down consumers into five different categories. Knowing your product and your target audience will help you avoid pitching an idea at the wrong time. Imagine whipping out this information at your next company event, you’ll be a marketing pro!

Roger Curve

Adopter Category #1: Innovators — Innovators love to take risks and have a strong desire to be the first ones to use the latest technology. They typically have higher incomes and more financial liquidity to counteract the technologies risk of failure. Generally very social, innovators also have close contact to scientific sources or interaction with other innovators. They often rely less on group norms and are more self-confident. This is the group that you always see waiting in line for the newest piece of technology the moment it’s released.

Adopter Category #2: Early Adopters — The second group of people rely more on social norms when it comes to calculating risk. These individuals are motivated by a products potential to drive their success rather than the desire to be first. Early adopters are popular within their community and push the idea out into the broader culture. This is the group that has the financial stability to go out and purchase the latest technology as soon as it becomes trendy.

Adopter Category #3: Early Majority — Early majority consumers collect more information about the product and will weigh the pros and cons before they make a decision. They usually have contact with early adopters and will listen to their opinions instead of forming them for themselves. Many above average social status and have influence over other people in their community. This is the group that isn’t afraid of change, but doesn’t go out there searching for it either.

Adopter Category #4: Late Majority —  This group will eventually adopt a new product, however, it’s mostly because their friends have all adopted it and they feel the need to conform with everyone else. They generally find change as an inconvenience and will push against it as long as they can. Typically, these individuals are older or they have below average income and social status. This is the group that won’t budge because mass media told them too, but they can be influenced by trusted friends and family.

Adopter Category #5: Laggards — Laggards are the last to adopt new technology. Like innovators, they do not rely on group norms and values to make their decisions. People in this group are typically the oldest as far as age and are more focused on their traditions rather than change. Unlike the other groups, laggards are only in contact with family and close friends; therefore, they aren’t influenced by the outside community. This is the group that adopts an innovation after it has been replaced by something new and flashy.

Of course there will be variations in the Innovation Adoption Curve from time to time, but it’s pretty accurate in analyzing consumers according to the ways they react to new innovations. When you know how your consumers adopt new products, you’re more likely to market products to them successfully. Some products aren’t adopted by 100 percent of the population, so these categories specifically refer to all of those who will eventually adopt a product.