UC Riverside study finds value in late adopters

December 28, 2017 by  

A new study out of California’s Central Valley has challenged the way businesses judge which consumers are most lucrative.

The paper, written by UC Riverside’s Ashish Sood and V. Kumar, argues that the most valuable customers for businesses are the late-adopting majority, not those who easily try new products.

Businesses and marketing services have often coveted early adopters, who they see as trendsetters., but Sood’s study found that these customers are often less loyal to the brand and may not buy in large numbers. By contrast, more conservative buyers may be slower to adopt a new product, but will hold onto it longer, and often return to the same business to replace it.

Sood divided consumers into five “bands”: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. His study found, perhaps surprisingly, that age was not a determining factor in how willing consumers were to try new products. The project, stemming from Sood’s interests in both innovation and marketing, ultimately resulted in a model to help companies determine where and when to launch new products, and how to market towards the more cautious “early majority” group.

For local businesses in the surrounding Central Valley area, including those in cities such as Fresno and Merced, the lesson is slightly different to that for tech giants. The study speaks to the importance of persistent marketing, whether it be through posters, flyers or local broadcasts, in order to maintain a constant presence in the minds of the more conservative, but also more lucrative, majority.

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