Copyright

Classes of Adopters: Innovators, Early, Late and Laggards

Lesson Transcript
Instructor
John McLaughlin
Expert Contributor
Joseph Shinn

Joe has a PhD in Economics from Temple University and has been teaching college-level courses for 10 years.

Consumers must be motivated to adopt a product. Explore the product adoption lifecycle and learn about the classes of consumer adopters, including innovators, early adopters, late adopters, and laggards. Review how marketers use the product adoption lifecycle, and recognize why marketers must understand each class of adopters. Updated: 08/26/2021

The Product Adoption Lifecycle

A.G. Industries has just invented the Anti-Gravity Belt. When you put this amazing new product around your waist and turn it on, you will be lifted off the ground as high as three feet! How will consumers react to this innovative product? Different classes of consumers will adopt this product at different times throughout the lifecycle of the new product. This adoption process follows a recognizable pattern and is known as the product adoption lifecycle.

The product adoption lifecycle describes the way a new product progresses through its lifespan, from the time it is first introduced to the marketplace until it is no longer available. New products are initially adopted by 'innovators' who represent 2.5% of the market. The next class of consumers who will adopt the product are the 'early adopters' who make up 13.5% of the market. They are followed first by the 'early majority,' and then by the 'late majority,' who each represent 34% of the market. As the product enters its final stage of the product adoption lifecycle, it is adopted by 'laggards,' who make up the final 16% of the market. Now that you know about the five different classes of adopters, let's talk a little more about each of these five groups of consumers.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Product Life Cycles: Development, Design and Beyond

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 The Product Adoption Lifecycle
  • 1:36 The Five Classes of Consumers
  • 4:51 How Marketers Use the…
  • 5:58 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

The Five Classes of Consumers

These five different types of consumers will all react differently to the Anti-Gravity Belt. Each consumer group will adopt the Anti-Gravity Belt at different times and for different reasons. The five types of consumers are:

Innovators - Venturesome; although they make up a very small part of the total market, innovators play a very important role. They are interested in anything new, and are quick to adopt new and innovative products. Innovators knew about the Anti-Gravity Belt months before it was introduced and paid a high price to be among the first to have this new product.

Early adopters - Young and restless; early adopters are opinion leaders. They pay attention to what the innovators have discovered and find a practical use for the innovation. They then communicate to their followers the usefulness of the new product. They play a very important role by influencing the attitude and changing the behavior of the later adopters. An early adopter who is a house painter learned about the Anti-Gravity Belt from an innovator and bought one to help him paint ceilings. He told all his colleagues how much easier and faster he could paint high places with his new Anti-Gravity Belt.

Early majority - Value shoppers; the early majority carefully observe the early adopters, but wait to adopt innovative products until they are sure they will get value from them. The early majority will only adopt a new product if they are sure the new product will provide usefulness to their lives - and not be a waste of their time and money. Two years after the Anti-Gravity Belt is invented, a member of the early majority hears about the new product from the guy painting his house. Still, the early majority waits until he has also seen advertising and read an article in the paper about the benefits of the Anti-Gravity Belt before he adopts the product.

Late majority - Skeptics; the late majority wait until an innovation has been accepted by a majority of consumers and the price has dropped to adopt the new product. The late majority typically adopt innovative products because they feel as if everyone else is doing it. Five years after the Anti-Gravity Belt is invented, a member of the late majority buys an Anti-Gravity Belt because his son tells him he wants one so that he can play basketball with all his friends who already have one.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Additional Activities

Additional Questions


For each of the examples below, determine which of the five classes of consumers (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards) is being described? Your answer should include a description of this type of consumer and why you believe the consumer being described fits into the chosen class of consumers.


  1. A new streaming service was being released that Sally was interested in purchasing a subscription for. She had heard about other types of streaming services having glitches when they were first released, though, so she decided to wait a week to be sure that the service was actually ready for consumer use.
  2. Mike heard that a new iPhone was being released on August 1st. He was very anxious to be one of the first people to try out the new iPhone so he camped out for 3 nights in front of one of the stores selling the new phone to ensure that he was one of the first to receive it.
  3. Your grandfather never wanted to purchase an E-Z pass. He said that he was fine paying with cash when he went through toll plazas. However, the interstate that he takes to get to work announced that they would be imposing "cashless" toll plazas and only people with an E-Z pass would be able to go through these tolls. Therefore, your grandfather reluctantly agreed to purchase an E-Z pass.

ANSWERS:

  1. A new streaming service was being released that Sally was interested in purchasing a subscription for. She had heard about other types of streaming services having glitches when they were first released, though, so she decided to wait a week to be sure that the service was actually ready for consumer use. Late majority because Sally was skeptical of the product being worth the purchase at first.
  2. Mike heard that a new iPhone was being released on August 1st. He was very anxious to be one of the first people to try out the new iPhone so he camped out for 3 nights in front of one of the stores selling the new phone to ensure that he was one of the first to receive it. Early adopters since Mike was one of the first few ones to get the iPhone, but not the first group (he did not pre-order the phone).
  3. Your grandfather never wanted to purchase an E-Z pass. He said that he was fine paying with cash when he went through toll plazas. However, the interstate that he takes to get to work announced that they would be imposing "cashless" toll plazas and only people with an E-Z pass would be able to go through these tolls. Therefore, your grandfather reluctantly agreed to purchase an E-Z pass. Laggard because he was among the very last group to make the purchase and only did so out of need.

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account