Some products catch on immediately (e.g., rollerblades), whereas others take a long
Developing Marketing time to gain acceptance (e.g., diesel-engine autos). Five characteristics influence the rate of adoption of an innovation. We will consider them in relation to the adoption of personal computers for home use.
The first is relative advantage—the degree to which the innovation appears superior to existing products. The greater the perceived relative advantage of using a personal computer, say, in preparing income taxes and keeping financial records, the more quickly personal computers will be adopted.
The second is compatibility—the degree to which the innovation matches the values and experiences of the individuals. Personal computers, for example, are highly compatible with upper-middle-class lifestyles.
Third is complexity—the degree to which the innovation is relatively difficult to understand or use. Personal computers are complex and will therefore take a longer time to penetrate into home use.
Fourth is divisibility—the degree to which the innovation can be tried on a limited basis. The availability of rentals of personal computers with an option to buy increases their rate of adoption.
Fifth is communicability—the degree to which the beneficial results of use are observable or describable to others. The fact that personal computers lend themselves to demonstration and description helps them diffuse faster in the social system.
Other characteristics that influence the rate of adoption are cost, risk and uncertainty, scientific credibility, and social approval. The new-product marketer has to research all these factors and give the key ones maximum attention in designing the new-product and marketing program.46
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