How to Reach Early Adopters? An Empirical Analysis of Early Adopters’ Internet Usage Behavior: An Abstract
Early adopters (EAs) represent a crucial group of consumers in the diffusion of innovations. They are not only the first to adopt new products and technologies but also the ones who accelerate the diffusion process through electronic word-of-mouth communication. Therefore, identifying and reaching potential EAs for up-and-coming innovations are of vital importance.
In the digital age, the Internet serves as a primary platform for information research as well as communication and consequently the diffusion of new technologies. However, there is surprisingly little knowledge as to how EAs currently use the Internet, which is no longer considered as a novel technology. Existing theories about the diffusion of innovations stay quiet when it comes to the subsequent usage of adopted technologies. Thus, we identified a research gap of investigating the current usage of EAs’ Internet usage behavior.
Therefore, our study empirically examines the Internet usage of potential technological EAs in comparison to the general public and gives an overview of 15 different Internet channels. For this purpose, we firstly classified EAs by considering their personal traits with a new approach. We combined their level of technological innovativeness, independent decision-making, and opinion leadership to classify them. Secondly, we analyzed a vast set of data containing 119,829 subjects to examine Internet usage differences.
The results demonstrate a significant difference between EAs and the remaining population. EAs use the Internet more frequently to gather information, to communicate, and to practice specific services, such as online banking or shopping. Additionally, they use their smartphones more frequently for mobile Internet access than non-EAs. Regarding gender differences among EAs, we also illustrated female EAs communicating more frequently on the Internet than male EAs.
These findings offer marketers new insights into EAs’ Internet usage behavior and enable them to reach customers more effectively. Although the Internet is widely adapted in Germany, EAs still use information channels, specific services, and communication platforms more frequently than the majority of the population. Marketers can reach potential EAs for novel products and technology more effectively by using Internet advertising, particularly through social network sites and communication platforms.
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