Various Categories of Adopters are defined in the concept of diffusion of innovation. These adopter categories are the reasons that a product gets adopted and moves through the product life cycle. There are 5 Adopter Categories observed – Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.
These adopter categories divide consumers into different segments based on their speed of adoption and willingness to try out new products. These categories help organizations understand the types of customers they should target to reach a wider consumer base and capture the mainstream market.
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What are the Adopter Categories for New Products?
The adopter categories (or types of adopters) classify consumer demographics based on their willingness to explore or start using a new product or innovation that has been recently launched in the market.
Innovators are typically risk takers, early adopters take some risks but not as much as Innovators, Early Majority Category waits for proof of product success before adopting it, Late Majority adopt when the majority has already adopted and Laggards are the last ones to adopt a product or technology.
Hence, it is a term referred to the classification of customers based on the products that they buy which have been recently launched in the market. This term is known as the adopter category because here the adopters are being categorized.
Now, this adopter is those people here who are being classified by the product that they choose to explore and start using. Also, the adopter categories refer to the classification of the consumers by the amount of time that is being invested by that particular consumer and the level of willingness with which that customer is trying that product.
Here the adopter categories not only define the classification that is done based on the goods that are being used, being tried, or being explored; but also the services that the customers avail that are being offered in different types of markets. Now the adopter category is also categorized based on the method in which the consumer is adopting the product during the several stages of the life cycle of that particular product.
These adopter categories are in some ways related to the ‘Diffusion of the Innovation Theory’ in the year 1962 by sociologist Everett Rogers. So far this has been applied to several different studies, for example, organizational studies, marketing, complexity studies, communications knowledge, etc.
Now, these adopter categories are used extensively in the marketing industry of the present day. This is more popular in markets where new products are launched and the consumers get plenty of opportunities to explore this. Adopter categories form an important part of the product adoption theory.
Then among all of this, the social network analysis is that one particular area in which the adopter categories are especially relevant. Now as once Roger said, not all customers are equally motivated enough to adapt to new kinds of technologies that are being launched every other based based on how the customers adopt new products or start using them or even exploring them, Roger classified them into different categories.
Five Categories of Adopters & Their Characteristics
Now here is the classification of the five adopter categories given below-
The people who come under this category are mostly risk-takers and newly launched product enthusiasts. They are the ones who always keep an eye on the products that are being launched in the market. These are the ones who do not even for a second hesitate to try out a new product.
They love to explore new possibilities that come with products that are being newly launched in the market. They are quickly adaptive to new technologies. And the sole reason behind this is that they are new. These are the most venturesome among all the five and quite curious. Thus, they are called ashen innovators.
2) Early Adopters
This category of adopters comprises less risk-takers. They like to analyze the different aspects of things before they can be fully assured that they are going to buy that product. They won’t go out in the market and buy any product that is new as soon as they first see it.
They will take some time to think, analyze and understand. But even though they like to investigate, since they care more about their reputation, they would eventually buy those products in most cases.
This is because they want to remain ahead in line for those people who like the new technologies that come into the market.
3) Early Majority
The people belonging to this adopter category are generally those who tend to adopt a newly launched product or any new idea that is flowing into the market soon. But they are not as impulsive as the innovators or the early adopters. They take quite some time to analyze the product in depth. They also execute other factors like price, features, and warranty period.
This segment of the demographics is leading the market today and has covered almost one-third of the entire market. Over time they have built their impression of an average social status and are far from being the opinion leaders.
They do not just buy the product as it gets launched. They mostly enter the scene when the product is in its growth phase. Also while purchasing the products, they first check their utility and other practical benefits and only then do they go for it.
4) Late Majority
The late majority is amongst the adopter categories that follow after the early majority. They are far from being the risk-takers. They are considered to be quite skeptical.
Also at times, their social status is deemed to be those of the below-average ones. And their financial liquidity is also very less as compared to the early majority ones. When considering the target market, they cover approximately 36 percent of the segment of the target market.
Mostly when the product has grown enough in the market and is in the phase of the late growth or the maturity phase that is when the people of the late majority group consider buying that product and then trying it out.
They share some of their traits with the early majority ones, but then they are always more cautious before they commit to buying any products.
This is the last in the list of adopter categories. This group is considered to be the slowest one when it comes to adopting new ideas or new technologies. They merely avoid taking a risk and prefer playing it safe. They are just not at all enthusiastic about embracing new ideas or products.
They only tend to do so when they are being forced by their peers or in cases in which everyone has already adapted to those products now it looks safe enough for them to adapt it too.
The people of this group are mostly considered to be conservative. They are very much pricing conscious. These are the most traditional of them all with an old kind of thinking. They start to use a product when to wither it is in its old maturity phase or maybe at the diminishing phase.
Examples of Adopter Categories
Now that we know about the multiple categories of the adopter categories let us understand them by multiple examples. So here are a few examples that describe these categories in an even much better way-
- Innovators – Now since these people love to explore the new product, they will be the first ones to visit the Apple store to buy the latest launch be it an Apple watch or an iPhone.
- Early adopters – The best example of this can be taken from India in which people have started availing the benefits of the e-commerce industry.
- Early majority – the perfect example for this category would be those people who have started using cloud services in recent times.
- The late majority – the pole of this category are those who have just started to use debit and credit cards.
- Laggards – An example of this category would be those people who have started buying the iPhone 4 now when the Apple Company has already launched the iPhone X.
What is the use of the Adopter Categories?
So this concept of the adopter category is used in the marketing industry of the present day. It is also essential as it is taken into consideration while analyzing the social network analysis. Many marketers focus on bridging the gap between the two potential segments of the marketing industry which are early adopters and the early majority.
Also by categorizing these adopters, it becomes easy for the marketing managers to analyze how there are fundamental changes in the behavior observed. These behaviors are based on the fact that how the customers approach products, what they think about them and how much are they willing to buy them.
This is done so that the companies can get valuable information regarding the productiveness of the business. Thus, the adopter categories are a general analysis of the various types of customers who profoundly affect the entire marketing system. Analysis of adopter categories is especially useful when a new product launches in the market.
Q. How do the adopter categories impact the product adoption curve?
A. The adopter categories play a major role in determining the success of a product.
- Early adopters tend to take on as many risks as needed and allocate financial resources more freely to experience the new technology, while the early majority adopt only when they feel there is enough evidence of product success for them to invest their time and money.
- Categorizing customers by consumer behavior, based on adopter categories, aids marketers in understanding and meeting the needs of their target customers.
- This, in turn, impacts the product adoption curve by identifying customer segments more likely to adopt a product.
Q. Why targeting early adopters can benefit your product launch?
A. Early adopters are the first to try out and purchase a new product, making them an invaluable source of feedback for companies. Because they are willing to take risks with their resources and money, targeting early adopters can be beneficial in helping companies understand what changes need to be made before launching a product into the wider market.
- Companies can use this feedback to make improvements and adjustments to the product before it goes mainstream, which can help ensure that the product is successful when released.
- Additionally, early adopters not only provide feedback but also act as a marketing tool for companies, helping spread word of mouth about a new product.
- This is a great way to create momentum and build brand recognition in the market.
Q. How to attract and keep innovators and early adopters?
A. To attract and keep innovators and early adopters, companies must first understand the needs of these customers.
- Companies should provide an environment that allows them to easily access the new product or service, as well as offer incentives such as discounts or loyalty programs.
- Additionally, providing a platform for innovators and early adopters to share their experiences can be beneficial in building interest and trust in the product.
- Companies should also keep their early adopters and innovators engaged by regularly providing updates on new features or products as well as creating a community where customers can connect.
- Finally, companies should find ways to reward those who are willing to take risks with their financial resources, such as offering discounts or freebies for early majority adopters.
Q. What companies use these categories?
A. Many companies use the categories of innovators, early adopters, and early majority to inform their product launch strategies. Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have all used these categories to create successful products and services. Additionally, startups or smaller companies can also benefit from understanding these different types of customers when launching a new product or service.
Q. Why are these categories important?
A. Adopter categories are important because they can help companies understand the needs of their customer base and target those who may be more willing to take risks with new technology. By understanding their customers better, companies can create a product or service that meets the needs of each group while mitigating as many risks as possible. Additionally, by targeting these different adopter categories, companies can better allocate their financial resources and ensure that they are best positioned to succeed.
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