The technology adoption lifecycle is a sociological model that describes the adoption or acceptance of a new product or innovation, according to the demographic and psychological characteristics of defined adopter groups. The process of adoption over time is typically illustrated as a classical normal distribution or "bell curve". The model indicates that the first group of people to use a new product is called "innovators", followed by "early adopters". Next come the early majority and late majority, and the last group to eventually adopt a product are called "Laggards" or "phobics." For example, a phobic may only use a cloud service when it is the only remaining method of performing a required task, but the phobic may not have an in-depth technical knowledge of how to use the service.

Rogers' bell curve

The demographic and psychological (or "psychographic") profiles of each adoption group were originally specified by the North Central Rural Sociology Committee (Subcommittee for the Study of the Diffusion of Farm Practices) by agricultural researchers Beal and Bohlen in 1957.[1]

The report summarized the categories as:[1]

  • innovators – had larger farms, were more educated, more prosperous and more risk-oriented
  • early adopters – younger, more educated, tended to be community leaders, less prosperous
  • early majority – more conservative but open to new ideas, active in community and influence to neighbors
  • late majority – older, less educated, fairly conservative and less socially active
  • laggards – very conservative, had small farms and capital, oldest and least educated

The model has subsequently been adapted for many areas of technology adoption in the late 20th century.

Oops something went wrong: