Are You An Early Adopter?

Retro TV SetTechnology keeps changing and evolving, no doubt about it. And it keeps changing faster and faster all the time.

Are you keeping up or running way behind?

There are those who keep up with changes in technology and often are the first to try out new products and services. Traditionally this is the smallest segment of the population, falling into one of two categories: Innovator or Early Adopter.

You know who they are…

They are the brave souls camping outside the Apple store in the middle of winter! All of that just to be the first to get their hands on the latest i-device.

My hat is off to you “Innovators and Early Adopters”!

You won’t find me camped outside an Apple or other store for anything, ever! But then again, I am not an early adopter.

5 categories of adopters:

In general, consumers are grouped into different categories sharing similar behaviors with respect to adopting new products and services.

Briefly, these categories are:

  • Innovators – 2 to 3% of population, very first to adopt new products
  • Early Adopters – 13% of market eager for new products, influence others
  • Early Majority – 34% of market, adopt products when semi established
  • Late Majority – 34% of market adopts product once established
  • Laggards – adopt when there is no other way… old product goes away

Innovators and early adopters are the two smallest groups, roughly equal to the number of laggards. The early and late majority of adopters comprise the two biggest groups.

In other words, fewer individuals are eager to buy technology until it’s established, at least to a certain degree.

How does the older generation factor into this equation?

Historically, seniors have been late adopters when compared to the younger generation. However, this trend seems to be changing.

Research conducted by the Pew Research Center outlines some interesting findings with respect to seniors and technology. In this study, seniors were defined as individuals age 65+.

“Two different groups of older Americans emerge.

The first group (which leans toward younger, more highly educated, or more affluent seniors) has relatively substantial technology assets, and also has a positive view toward the benefits of online platforms.

The other (which tends to be older and less affluent, often with significant challenges with health or disability) is largely disconnected from the world of digital tools and services, both physically and psychologically.

As the internet plays an increasingly central role in connecting Americans of all ages to news and information, government services, health resources, and opportunities for social support, these divisions are noteworthy—particularly for the many organizations and individual caregivers who serve the older adult population.

In April 2012 the Pew Research Center found for the first time that more than half of older adults (65+) were internet users.

Today, 59% of seniors report they go online—a six-percentage point increase in the course of a year—and 47% say they have a high-speed broadband connection at home. In addition, 77% of older adults have a cell phone, up from 69% in April 2012.

But despite these gains, seniors continue to lag behind younger Americans when it comes to tech adoption. And many seniors remain largely unattached from online and mobile life—41% do not use the internet at all, 53% do not have broadband access at home, and 23% do not use cell phones.

Younger, higher-income, and more highly educated seniors use the internet and broadband at rates approaching—or even exceeding—the general population; internet use and broadband adoption each drop off dramatically around age 75.

Seniors, like any other demographic group, are not monolithic, and there are important distinctions in their tech adoption patterns, beginning with age itself.

Internet use and broadband adoption among seniors each fall off notably starting at approximately age 75. Some 68% of Americans in their early 70s go online, and 55% have broadband at home.

By contrast, internet adoption falls to 47% and broadband adoption falls to 34% among 75-79 year olds.

In addition, affluent and well-educated seniors adopt the internet and broadband at substantially higher rates than those with lower levels of income and educational attainment:

Among seniors with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, 90% go online and 82% have broadband at home.

For seniors earning less than $30,000 annually, 39% go online and 25% have broadband at home.

Fully 87% of seniors with a college degree go online, and 76% are broadband adopters.

Among seniors, who have not attended college, 40% go online and just 27% have broadband at home.”

If you’d like to read a bit more detail about the research conducted by the  PewResearch Internet Project, go to

As you can see, when it comes to technology and internet, there seems to be a clear delineation along economics and age.

However, as the internet becomes more and more entrenched in our daily lives and prices for high speed internet connection and data services are decreasing, I would not be surprised to see these numbers change dramatically.

I suspect that over time we will see broad use of online “everything” for all income and age groups.

This is good news as pretty soon “online” and “internet” will have replaced most, if not all that I grew up with… land line phone, walk in bank, writing checks, walk in bookstore, writing a letter… and the list goes on.

But regardless of how the future will unfold, sooner than later the laggards will run out of time.


Scroll to Top