Objective 4

Describe the adoption and diffusion process for new products.

The product adoption process is comprised of five stages: awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. Initially, the consumer must become aware of the new product. Awareness leads to interest, and the consumer seeks information about the new product. Once information has been gathered, the consumer enters the evaluation stage and considers buying the new product. Next, in the trial stage, the consumer tries the product on a small scale to improve his or her estimate of its value. If the consumer is satisfied with the product, he or she enters the adoption stage, deciding to use the new product fully and regularly.

With regard to diffusion of new products, consumers respond at different rates, depending on the consumer's characteristics and the product's characteristics. Consumers may be innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, or laggards. Innovators are willing to try risky new ideas; early adopters—often community opinion leaders—accept new ideas early but carefully; the early majority—rarely leaders—decide deliberately to try new ideas, doing so before the average person does; the late majority try an innovation only after a majority of people have adopted it; whereas laggards adopt an innovation only after it has become a tradition itself. Manufacturers try to bring their new products to the attention of potential early adopters, especially those who are opinion leaders.

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