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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.



Kyrsten Ledger

Kyrsten loves the great outdoors (as long as there's no snow on the ground), and spends a good amount of her free time traveling. When she isn't traveling, she's spending time with her family, reading a new book, or working on her next home improvement project. If she could live anywhere in the world, you'd find her moving into Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World.

Comments

  1. Juliette

    I love gadgets and I probably fall more in the “Innovator” category….except that I’m often halted by a lack of funds for the new toys. Still, I’m all about waiting in line with friends and playing with their new gadets until I can afford my own. 🙂

  2. Lauren

    My mom is def. a laggard… I had dial up internet until 2004…

  3. ed

    I am a web developer but consider myself a laggard, was one of the first to signup to couchsurfing and a long established airbnb host so I consider myself to be someone who choses technology judiciously. I bought a macbook pro as an early to late majority but my decision was based 70/30 on the usability/trend. I earn above average income but I only a very old nokia mobile – not a smartphone. I dont understand how people justify spending >3% of their yearly income on a fairly unnecessary device. I feel to a degree we are trapped by our jobs and our possessions and therefore its not a lack of awareness or money or social status that makes me a laggard, just a personal philosophy. The one great thing is that I am actually pretty much ignored by marketers. What price would an early adopter pay for that?

  4. Kim

    I am an Early Majority I am never one to run out and purchase something as soon as it come out I wait to see how people like the product and then I become the johnnie come late. By the time I purchase an idea they are going out with the upgraded model. I do not have an IPhone.

  5. Jenny

    I would classify myself as early majority (category three). I like to research products and services before I purchase. I weigh the pros and cons, ask people about their experiences and read reviews.

  6. Sandra Butts

    I am category two early adopters.

  7. Irma

    I consider myself as a laggard, category #5, and I have never been one to wait in lines for the next new item. I also don’t look to buying products to gain respect from the community as described in category #2. I wait until I see it’s necessary to buy something or simply because I like it. My past experience is a big influence on the new product marketed and I will most likely buy it in the early stages of marketing. It really depends on the product.

  8. Annie McCook

    I consider myself an innovative consumer in that I take notice of the new products coming to market and yet, I am a laggard consumer when it comes to actually making the purchase because what’s new has to also mean being what’s immediately needed at the time.

  9. Barbara Graham

    I am a defiantly a Laggard, I see new products be advertised and it really doesn’t interest me right then, until something happens or I might think that I might think that I want the product.

  10. Monica

    I’m a Early Majority .#3 I’m not that person that is going to buy the first product just because it’s the latest thing and usually their is a problem. I like to read about the reviews & the experience of other people that buy them. Plus I like to shop around for prices, since there usually a price break in these products it just take time a patience to find. If it’s something that I know it’s worth the price and will use I will end up buying it. But I wont be staying in line for any product unless I know for FACT it will benefit me and them I’m planning on when & how I will do it.

  11. Carol Hickman

    I find myself aligning with the categories 2, 3 and 4 depending on the innovation. It doesn’t have anything to do with income for me, its more my age. However, if its a kitchen gadget, I’m all in as long as I can purchase online. I’m just not interested in standing in line.

  12. Marcus Dillard

    I fall into the Category 5: Laggards. I am definitely one that waits to the point that the item is about to be replaced by the time I buy it.

  13. William Clark

    I would more than likely fall into category 5; Laggards. I like to keep up with new innovation but generally do research on the product and wait to purchase it for 1-2 years so I know the bugs are out, more reliable reviews are posted and the price has dropped. There are times when I will buy a product as soon as it comes out though.

  14. James

    I’m more of the Laggards category. I’m in no rush and I’m not concern about other people opinion’s. This has been my way of viewing things since I was younger.

  15. Seadra Lorraine

    I am considered Category#1 because I love new products immediately. I always believe that creativity is spontaneously , one needs to caught it quick…I love new products regardless of the weather or temperatures.

    Thank you.

  16. April P

    I am an early majority. I like to know the pros and cons. I hate buying something new to later find out there are more cons. I like to research and have others experiences first.

  17. Theresa Roberts

    I would consider myself in Group 3.

  18. Kathryn Causey

    i do rapidly latch on to products when they’re first introduced, I enjoy change and love with a new product is introduced. Innovators are eager to try new ideas and products, almost as an obsession that I can completely relate to being focused on updating when needed. I do follow my own flow with essentially a close knit community that I do engage with. I truly feel confident with me, myself, and I mind set that I will be OK with or without the new group trending, or the huge bash I was not invited. I am very confident with getting the new Apple watch that just came out, I enjoy taking chances with waiting in line even if it does rain.

  19. Tai Williams

    I’m an innovator in terms of creating however, when something is new on the market I usually let the first rush of consumers engage in the new product before I decide to. A lot of times, its to allow the kinks to be worked out before I purchase a product that I have to return. Perhaps I’m an early majority..

  20. Donnada Willis

    I think I fall within the category of Adopter Category #3: Early Majority. I believe I fit well in this category because I definitely collect more information about the product and weigh the pros and cons before they make a decision

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