BusinessThe Technology Adoption Curve (and How to Utilize It)

The Technology Adoption Curve (and How to Utilize It)

In your life, you probably know some people who rush to buy the latest gadgets and technologies—even long before most people know they exist. You probably also know some friends and family members who stubbornly refuse to use technologies even when they’re proven to be objectively superior to older technologies.

Why is this the case?

The short answer is “because we’re all different.” But there’s a deeper theory that explains how different people react to new technologies – and once you learn some of the nuances associated with it, you’ll be in a much better position to develop, sell, or market a new technology.

Let’s start exploring it.

The Technology Adoption Curve: The Basics

The technology adoption curve is split into five different audiences, who accept new technologies in this order:


Innovators are always trying to be on the leading edge of technology. They go out of their way to learn about technologies before they even hit the market, and they aren’t afraid to buy or try new products and services on day one.

They’re interested in technology for technology’s sake, and they’re not afraid to fail or purchase a technology that isn’t all what it seems. The cooler and the more unique the technology is, the more an innovator is going to be on board.

Early adopters.

Early adopters come next. They’re also motivated to experiment with new technologies, but unlike innovators, they’re more concerned about their reputation than the technologies themselves. They want to be seen as knowledgeable and trendy, so they tend to be a bit pickier about which technologies they adopt and how they adopt them.

Early majority.

With the early majority, we typically see an explosion in new users. Early majority technology adopters are more mainstream and more “average,” in a sense. They want to do their due diligence before trying a new product, but they tend to be open minded. More importantly, they’re extremely pragmatic; they don’t want a new technology for technology’s sake, but instead, they want a technology to solve a problem.

Late majority.

Late majority adopters are a bit later to the party because they tend to be more cautious and logical. They want to solve problems, like the early majority, but they tend to be more risk-averse and they demand more evidence before they’re willing to move forward.


Laggards are typically easily frustrated by new technologies, especially when those technologies don’t work as promised. They also tend to be skeptical and reluctant to make changes in their lives overall. In many cases, they’ll outright refuse to use new technologies just so they don’t have to change their lives in any way, and sometimes, they’ll do this to the point of total irrationality.

Knowing this, how can you change your product development, sales strategies, and marketing strategies to make your technology more appealing?

Segment Your Audience

The most important thing you can do is segment your audience. Ideally, you’ll have users at every stage of the technology adoption curve buying or trying your product. But all of these people are motivated and intimidated by different things, so it makes no sense to reach all of them with the same messaging. Instead, treat them as separately as possible, with totally different types of campaigns.

Know Who You’re Targeting

Get to know the types of users available at each stage of the technology adoption curve. The better you know who your audience is, the better you’ll be able to appeal to them.


What motivates this person? Do they want to feel like they’re using the most powerful technology currently available? Or are they more concerned with feeling safe and secure?


What would stop this person from using your technology or what would make them give it a bad review? Innovators won’t mind a few bugs or hiccups, as long as the product itself is interesting. Conversely, laggards will stop using your products the moment they experience the least bit of resistance.


How do you persuade this user to move forward? What aspects of your product or your brand are going to make them feel confident that this is a good fit? Should you focus on highlighting what the product can do or proving its objective value?

Winning Over the Most Stubborn Consumers

Laggards are inarguably the hardest audience to persuade, since they tend to be reluctant to adopt any new technologies. In some cases, it makes sense not to target them at all. But there are some ways you can win them over, if you’re willing to try:

Show empathy.

Don’t try to tell a laggard that they’re being irrational. Instead, show empathy. Demonstrate understanding for their risk aversion and make them feel better understood.

Acknowledge and refute objections.

Overcoming objections is always a part of the sales process, but it’s even more important when working with laggards. Acknowledge their biggest concerns and refute them if you can.

Eliminate risk.

Make the deal less risky. Free trials and guarantees are always a safe bet.

Start slow.

Finally, start the process slowly. Gently guide these users through their first interactions with your brand and product.

The better you understand the technology adoption curve, the better you’ll be able to sell technology. No matter how innovative or disruptive your product is, putting it in the right frame of reference for the right people is going to help you achieve greater success.

Daniel Odoh
Daniel Odoh
A technology writer and smartphone enthusiast with over 9 years of experience. With a deep understanding of the latest advancements in mobile technology, I deliver informative and engaging content on smartphone features, trends, and optimization. My expertise extends beyond smartphones to include software, hardware, and emerging technologies like AI and IoT, making me a versatile contributor to any tech-related publication.

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