What is an Adoption Lifecycle?
John Spacey, updated on March 18, 2016
The adoption lifecycle is a model that describes the adoption of a new product or technology by customers. It is typically viewed as a bell curve with several phases of adoption:
1. Loyal Customers & InnovatorsThe first phase of adoption is typically the fans of a firm's products and their loyal customers. For technology, this early phase of adoption is often referred to as "innovators", although its hard to understand how buying a new technology constitutes innovation. A more appropriate term might be enthusiasts. A company with a strong market position typically charges high prices at this point to quickly recoup investments in research and development, a strategy known as price skimming.
2. Early AdoptersEarly adopters are customers who may be influenced by the first customers of a new product. If a product is truly innovative in the sense that it represents a leap forward in some way, word tends to spread. A product that isn't particularly innovative may achieve early adopters with marketing efforts.
3. Early Majority & Late MajorityThe majority of customers come with momentum of recognition and awareness. In other words, once a new product or technology is widely recognized and understood, it may achieve significantly higher sales. At this point, economies of scale and competition has typically made the price cheaper, adding further momentum to sales.
4. LaggardsLaggards are customers who are the last to adopt a product. This can happen for a variety of reasons. In many cases, customers aren't interested in innovation and would prefer things to stay the same. In other cases, customers arrive late simply because they don't have as much need for a particular type of product. For example, a customer who seldom watches television may not have a pressing need for the latest model.
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