Early Adopter

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What Does Early Adopter Mean?

An early adopter is one of a group of people who are the first to embrace a new technology ahead of the general population. They make up roughly 14 percent of the population, according to the Diffusion of Innovation (DoI) theory, which was formulated by communication scholar Everett Rogers. The term is mostly used in regards to consumer technology, and so early adopters are also called lighthouse customers because they serve as a beacon for other customers to follow. Early adopters are the ones who mostly dictate the acceptance of a product for the early majority, the late majority and even for the laggards (the very late adopters).

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Techopedia Explains Early Adopter

Early adopters are the first consumers to purchase a new product before the majority of the population, and often do so by ordering the product in advance of its launch date. They provide some level of feedback regarding new technology, and are therefore considered trendsetters.

Early adopters may also be people who are given privileged access to technology before it becomes available to the general population. These are the beta testers and product reviewers who, in essence, are in no way connected to the organization creating the technology and whose views are considered to be highly influential when it comes to the commercial success of the technology or the product.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.