Reports Media & Marketing

How Consumers Adopt Technology Why The S-Curve Rules

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View

Consumers adopt technology in predictable ways, and even though technology adoption is far faster now than it has ever been, it continues to follow traditional growth patterns. Mobile app stores are enabling technologies to reach global scale and mainstream adoption within their addressable audiences at a far faster rate than ever before. By understanding where new technologies are on their respective growth trajectories, we can better understand how they are likely to impact existing business models and markets.

Key Findings

  • Humans behave in highly predictable ways when adopting new technologies, and are defined by cohorts of personality types and their attitudes to technology and to risk
  • There are five key types of technology adopters: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Followers, Late Followers, Laggards
  • Consequently, new technologies follow remarkably similar patterns of adoption, most often mapping to an S-Curve growth pattern
  • Consumers are adopting technology at ever faster rates
  • It took XXX years for radio to reach ubiquitous penetration but just XXX years for the internet and XXX years for smartphones
  • Mobile app stores are enabling technologies like messaging apps to reach mainstream penetration in just a few years
  • Artificial growth stimuli like paid app installs and aggressive price promotions can skew growth, but adoption will drop back down when the incentives stop

Companies mentioned: Apple, HTC, Hulu, Pandora, Shazam, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube

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