Creating a sustainable competitive advantage is not simple, especially in an environment where companies undergo continuous transformation to provide better products and services. In this context, understanding the changes, the consumer, and evaluating the best moment of entry and exit of a product or service in the market is fundamental for the creation of a successful strategy. There are two models that can help create this strategy and we will talk about them today. The first is the product adoption curve, also known as the technology adoption curve; the second is the product lifecycle.
While the product adoption curve focuses on explaining the distribution and acceptance of new products and services by consumer groups, the product lifecycle explains the phases of introducing a product to the market: growth, maturity and decline.
But how do these models relate to and influence one another?
To better understand how this works, think about Uber and Airbnb. It is very likely that everyone around you has already used one of these services, however, they have not always been so popular. During the initial phases, these services were on the radar of only a few people willing to take the risk of entering the home or car of strangers – rather than choosing a hotel or a taxi – just for the thrill of trying something new.
This group of technology enthusiasts is described in the product adoption curve model as “innovators”. This minority that represents the beginning of the curve and corresponds to approximately 2.5% of the market is extremely valuable, as they are the ones who help companies get their ideas off the paper while the products are still in the initial stages of research and development. “Innovators” help provide valuable insights into design, interaction and usability, and are key players in the dissemination of products and services in their early stages of the lifecycle.
You probably already know what the second group is. Just remember the scene that repeats itself every year when Apple releases a new version of the iPhone and hundreds of people line up to buy it on launch day or the list of more than 600,000 consumers waiting for a unit of the Tesla Cybertruck. This second group, with high purchasing power and passion for technology, is called “early adopters”. They account for approximately 13.5% of the market and participate mainly in the phase of introducing a new product or service to the market.
Although the “initial adopters” have high purchasing power, they are not responsible for driving a post-introductory phase of the product, called the growth phase. The accelerated growth effect is driven by the third group, known as the “early majority”. When we see news like: “JP Morgan buys 40% of C6 Bank”, “Quinto Andar closes more than 10,000 new contracts monthly” – it is the “early majority” group, which corresponds to approximately 34% of the market, that is driving this growth.
The “early majority” is a consumer group that is only interested in consolidated products, approved and positively evaluated by previous groups. Because they have a certain aversion to risk, conquering this demanding group of consumers is not an easy task. In fact, there is a “gap” between the “early majority” and the “early adopters”, so only success in the earlier phases can ensure that a product or service accesses the “early majority” and reaches the growth phase.
The fourth group, which corresponds to another 34%, is the “late majority”. Do you know that uncle of yours who only started using Facebook in 2020? Well, he’s part of the “late majority”. They are typically skeptical of tech innovation and will only adopt mature, market-validated products and services, and even then only if the benefits are clear.
The fifth and last group is the “laggards“. While the “late majority” are skeptical of tech innovation, the laggards are adverse to it. You will probably identify them by writing on blogs, forums and remembering the good times of Orkut, MSN and ICQ.
All kidding aside, it’s very likely that you’ve identified with one of these groups.
It is through these classifications of consumer groups and identifying the moment in which each one of them operates in the product cycle that companies can benefit. Making use of focused marketing campaigns, knowing the best time to invest, to launch a new product and even to take it off the market.
Now that you’ve become an expert on the product lifecycle, adoption curve and how each consumer group operates in these models, here’s a challenge!
– I have placed a chart below with my reading of which technologies are part of this cycle in the year 2021.
Can you tell which products or services are associated with these technologies? What is your opinion for the year 2021? Leave it here in the comments!
By Mateus Ignácio, Product Owner at Invillia