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The consumer adoption process involves the steps individuals take when deciding to buy and use a new product or service. Understanding this process is vital for businesses because it directly affects their marketing strategies and overall success.
Consumer Adoption Process
The consumer adoption process goes through the following steps:
1) Awareness: In the first stage, the consumer becomes aware of the existence of the product. At this stage, the consumer does not have much information and has not formed any firm attitude towards the product.
2) Comprehension: At this stage, the consumer develops some knowledge about the product features and its potential.
3) Attitude: At this stage, the consumer forms some favourable or unfavourable attitude towards the product. In case, the attitude is unfavourable then the adoption process ends at this stage itself.
4) Legitimation: At this stage, the consumer gets favourably inclined towards the product and forms a favourable disposition towards the product. By utilising already available information or gathering fresh information, the individual may decide to adopt the product.
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5) Trial: At this stage, the consumer tries the product to measure the product’s utility. The product may be approved by analysing its use in an assumed situation or it may be analysed by using it fully or partially under a real situation.
6) Adoption: At this stage, the consumer decides whether he will adopt the product or not. Adoption is expressed by the continued use or purchase of the new product.
Example of Consumer Adoption Process for New Bike
1) Awareness: First of all the consumer becomes aware of the bike with the help of newspapers, exhibitions, etc.
2) Comprehension: Now, the consumer gains some information about the bike with the help of the internet and other sources.
3) Attitude: Here, a positive or negative attitude is developed about the bike.
4) Legitimation: The customer gets starting to like the bike in case of a positive attitude.
5) Trial: Now, he tries to test-drive the bike for the final decision.
6) Adoption: Now, he is sure of adopting the bike. He will buy the bike.
Consumer Choices and the Adoption Process
The modified and improved model of the adoption process includes a few forces, which affect the awareness stage. These are described below:
1) Consumer Innovativeness: The awareness of innovations is directly proportional to the innovativeness of the consumers.
2) Pre-existing Needs: Again the consumers will be more aware of an innovation if some instant seeds are fulfilled.
3) Venturesomeness and Concern towards Product Category: Consumers will tend to be more aware of product innovations if they are inclined to be daring and are concerned towards a product category.
The product innovation is continuously evaluated by the consumer. This is done based on information which reaches him through various personal and interpersonal channels. Even after the innovation is tried by the consumer, it is again evaluated and accordingly the decision is taken to continue or discontinue with the innovation. Therefore, even after adopting the product, the consumer may choose to adopt or reject the innovation in future. Similarly, after rejecting the product, the consumer may either continue with his decision or select the product in future.
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Consumer Adoption Meaning
The second aspect of diffusion of innovation is the adoption process. The adoption process is concerned with the mental activity of the individual as the person progresses from exposure to the innovation to the final acceptance or rejection of the same.
Adoption is defined differently for non-repurchase and repurchaseable items. In the context of non-purchasable items, the decision to buy the product is called adoption, whereas, in the context of re-purchasable items, the decision to regularly use the product is referred to as ‘adoption.
Adoption can take place only if the individual perceives the benefits/rewards of adoption to be more than the costs/ efforts required. The image given below shows the stages through which the individual passes before he finally decides to either purchase or reject a new product. The process of adoption and adopter categories are two different concepts, these should not be interchanged with each other.
Categories of Adopters
Categories of adopters include different types of adopters of innovation which are classified based on the time of adoption of the new product or innovation. Just like every product follows a pattern in the product life cycle, an innovation also goes through a similar trend in terms of adoption by consumers.
The adoption process curve is very similar to the product life cycle (PLC) curve. The image shows that the adoption process follows the bell-shaped normal curve over time. It starts very slowly but then picks up pace as the innovation is adopted by more and more consumers. It then reaches a plateau and finally decreases in intensity. The description of the various categories is as follows:
After becoming aware of the innovation and collecting more information about new products, only 2.5 per cent of individuals proceeded with the trial decision. Such individuals are called the innovators or the pioneers of the new idea. These people are venturesome and want to try out new features and properties. They are receptive to new ideas, as they are willing to try out new products and innovations without being over-cautious. By nature, these people are extroverts, well-educated and followers of high-class lifestyles.
2) Early Adopters
These form the next 13.5 per cent of the consumers who decide to purchase the new product. These do not make the purchase decision immediately when the product gets launched in the market. They purchase the product quite early but only after verifying all the product details from their sources, In that sense, they are more risk averse compared to the innovators.
It has been found that early adopters are typically opinion leaders in their society or community. In terms of their personality characteristics, they are educated, have high social status, high financial capability and have a greater appetite for risk about new products compared to the average consumer.
3) Early Majority
This forms the next 34 per cent of the consumers who adopt the new product or idea. Compared to the innovators and early adoptérs, the early majority of consumers are more cautious and thoughtful about buying any new product. They do not get easily influenced by new products but wait for the initial feedback from the innovators or early adopters. Generally, the early majority group comprised of individuals from the middle class with a sound level of education, employment and income.
4) Late Majority
The late majority group is represented by the next 34 per cent of the consumers, who adopt the innovation. Unlike the first three segments, the late majority of individuals are more traditional and strictly adhere to their routine purchase decisions. They do not accept change very easily. They accept the new product only when a significant public response is generated supporting the new product. The late majority of individuals are from moderate social status, with moderate levels of education, employment, income, and purchasing power.
This category of consumers adopts the innovation in the last. They are the last 16 per cent of the total consumers, who adopt the innovation or new product. As the name signifies, the laggards lag in the adoption of new products and innovation. They follow a conservative lifestyle and are governed by traditions. They always show a doubtful attitude towards change. Laggards are unable to ignore their doubtful and cautious attitude during their purchase.