Adopter Categories Details

When structuring a marketing campaign, marketers take into consideration the following subgroups of population:

  • Innovators (2-5% of adopters) – They are the first ones to adopt a new product or service. Innovators possess a great deal of technical knowledge, and they are looking for a competitive edge. They like being unique, are not looking for customer product reviews, and always sign up for early trials. Generally, they have access to significant financial resources.
  • Early Adopters (10-15% of adopters) – This group is well integrated into the social system, and as such, they are opinion leaders and influencers. However, the amount of risk they take is always based on substantial research and weighing the pros and cons of an innovation.
  • Early Majority (35% of adopters) – They adopt the new product or service just before the vast majority of the population does. They are well-educated adults who enjoy social interaction and rely on word-of-mouth. Early Majority adopters are an important link between the early adopters and the late majority.
  • Late Majority- a group that is skeptical and cautious about innovations. They adopt a new product or service usually because of increasing social pressure. Late majority representatives have average education and income and do not trust formal sources of information like television and newspapers.
  • Laggards – traditionalists that adopt new products or services only if they feel they have to. Of all groups, laggards have the lowest education level and income.

Example of Adopter Categories

Examining Apple's target market, the following would be examples of the five adopter categories listed above:

  • Innovators – as of spring 2021, these would be people storming the stores to purchase the updated Apple TV 4K.
  • Early Adopters – people who are purchasing Apple Watch 6.
  • Early Majority – people purchasing iPhone 12.
  • Late Majority – people who have now decided to purchase an iPhone for the first time and are searching for good deals on an iPhone 6.
  • Laggards – people who own a CD player or have now begun using credit cards.

History of Adopter Categories

The term was first mentioned in 1962 by E. M. Rogers in his Diffusion of Innovation Theory. The theory examines how a product idea diffuses over a large group of people. E. M. Rogers found that the speed and the way people adopt new products varies. Researchers also found that people who shared similar social status, income, and education usually shared an adopter category.

However, the theory doesn't help prevent certain behaviors, so some scholars doubt its benefits to society. Another drawback is that the theory does not consider a person's resources.

Significance of Adopter Categories

Since its introduction, marketers have relied heavily on the Diffusion of Innovation Theory because it tremendously helps introduce leaps in innovation to the general public.

To influence the rate of diffusion, marketers use a skimming strategy and a penetration strategy. The skimming strategy is useful when there is a great demand for the product and a uniqueness to it. Marketers can afford to price it at a high level because their target market has a distinctive lifestyle that is not influenced by society as a whole.

The penetration strategy is suitable for low-priced products which diffuse in a fast manner over the market. Usually, the penetration strategy is suitable for products that are not major innovations.