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Marketing Basics - Kotler Philip

Individual differences in the willingness to perceive innovations

People are markedly different from each other in their willingness to test new products. Susceptibility to the new is "the degree of the individual being ahead of the rest of the members of his social system in the perception of new ideas." Each commodity sphere will have its own pioneers and their early followers. Some women are the first to adopt a new fashion in clothes or new household appliances, such as microwaves. Some doctors are the first to start prescribing new drugs26 , some farmers are the first to perceive new agricultural practices27.

Other people perceive the news much later. All this made it possible to classify people according to their degree of susceptibility (see Fig. 38). After a slow start, more and more people begin to perceive the novelty. Over time, their number reaches a peak value, and then the percentage begins to decrease as the number of goods that have not yet been accepted decreases. The first 2.5% of buyers are considered innovators, the following 13.5%, etc., are referred to early followers.

Categories of consumers by the time they perceive new products

Fig. 38. Categories of consumers by the time they perceive new products

Rogers discerns the differences between the individuals in these five groups. Innovators are risk averse. They will try out the novelties at a little risk. Early followers are opinion leaders in their midst and perceive new ideas rather early, albeit with caution. The early majority are prudent people. They perceive innovations before the average resident, but rarely are leaders. The belated majority is skeptical. These people perceive the novelty only after the majority has already tested it. And finally, laggards are people connected by traditions. They are suspicious of changes, communicate with other adherents of traditions and perceive the novelty only because it has already managed to become a tradition to some extent.