When you release a new innovative product on the market, it goes through an adoption lifecycle. This is a process that determines the level of acceptance in which people have for a new product. These people are referred to as “adopters,” and they’re broken up into different segments based on their psychological characteristics and demographics.

Innovation managers want some idea of how much people will accept a new product when it is released. By breaking up the adopters into 5 different segments, managers can strategize over how to market their product to each one.

Below are the 5 segments in order from the earliest adopters to the latest adopters of the innovation adoption lifecycle.

1) Innovators

These are the earliest adopters of new product innovation. They are highly social people who always get excited about new ideas and are very eager to try them out. Even though the products are expensive and highly risky at this point, innovators have enough risk tolerance to overlook these things and absorb their financial losses. Social media influencers might fall into this segment.

2) Early Adopters

Early adopters are heavily opinionated and quick to share their reviews and experiences about the product with other people. In many cases, the social media influencers and innovators from the first segment will recommend the product to the early adopters. Even though early adopters don’t have as much risk tolerance as innovators, it usually turns out okay for them because the products were already recommended to them by people who took the risk first.

3) Early Majority

The early majority are adopters of high social status who do not like to take risks. However, they don’t have as much knowledge and money as the innovators and early adopters. For this reason, the early majority heavily depends on these two segments for good product recommendations. The early majority are typically the followers of social media influencers or people who read review websites.

4) Late Majority

The late majority is one of the biggest segments of the adoption lifecycle. They take even fewer risks than the early majority. In fact, the late majority waits for the early majority’s validation before they try the product. The marketing of the product doesn’t even matter to the late majority. It is all about what the early majority tells them.

5) Laggards

Laggards are the last segment of adopters. They’re older people who don’t have much money or experience. They often don’t like change and are always skeptical about trying out new products. The only way laggards will try a new product is if traditional products become obsolete.