What is Product Adoption Curve?
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What is Product Adoption Curve?

6 min read

The most crucial aspect of SaaS marketing is to understand who your customers are and to focus on their problems. However situations may arise where the product caters to the needs of the identified target group, but the product does not generate outputs or perform as expected.

The answer to this uncanny behavior of getting unexpected results despite following the checklist lies in understanding the Product Adoption Curve. It is important to understand that the consumers won’t adopt the product at the same time. The reason to use the product may differ for each one of them. The driving force behind using the product depends on what phase of its life cycle the product is in.

The Product Adoption Curve depicts a model which simplifies how and when to target specific groups from the consumer base. Customers lie in one of the categories described in the product adoption curve namely

  • Innovators
  • Early Adopters
  • Early Majority
  • Late Majority
  • Laggards

Stages of Product Adoption Process

5 Stages of Product Adoption Process
5 Stages of Product Adoption Process

This is a relatively small group of people and will be one of the first ones to invest in your product. They are not looking for a solution to any problem but are interested in technology. They are open to taking risks and trying new products.
This group is instrumental in giving a lot of feedback on the product. The product doesn’t need to be perfect before rolling it out to them and instead can be used to improvise based on the feedback received from these customers.
This group does not want to spend a lot of money on your product. A freemium model can be used in this stage to gather feedback for your product. It is important to determine what improvements in the product should be made for better market penetration at later stages.

This is a comparatively larger group of customers who are keen on trying new products. They not only use your products to test waters but also because they have a problem that the product solves.
These people might not mind paying a price for your product but will expect some level of customisation and a solution to their problem.
They will give importance not only to the diverse features that the product offers but also to the customer problems that the product solves.
Reviews and testimonials from these customers can be used in later stages of the curve to entice new customers. Additionally the suggestions provided by these customers can be used to improve the product.

A third of the users belong to this group. This is the stage which offers maximum market size and potential to grow. Reaching this stage signifies that the product has a place in the market. The sales of your product is good from the previous two phases and after various iterations and improvements the product is also stable.
The customers in this phase are open to change and innovation provided their pain points get solved through the solution that the product offers. They can be motivated to use the product with the help of case studies and testimonials from the customers of the previous two stages. These people would like to use the products which have been thoroughly tested and have provided value to other people. They are not very tolerant of technical issues with the product.

Chasm in Product Adoption Curve
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While crossing from the Early Adopters stage to the Early Majority stage , there is a divide between the two stages which is to be crossed for the product to establish its roots concretely in the mainstream market. This divide is called a CHASM and exists mainly because of the gap in expectations between the customers of the two stages. The most integral part of crossing the chasm is Product positioning. The product has to go from being marketed to visionaries and technology enthusiasts to users who will use the product to solve their problems. The perspective has to change from higlighting all the cool new exciting features the product offers to highlighting how the features of the product solve the problems of the customers. This can be achieved by using testimonials collected in the previous two stages (Innovator & Early Adopter), showcasing the success other people have had with the product and highlighting the features that solve the problems of this user base. The feedback received from the first two groups becomes very integral to improvise the product, so that it becomes fit for the non technical users to use.

This stage sees as many users as the Early Majority stage. However these users are more hesitant in opting for new solutions and technologies and only start considering your product once the product has managed to create a name for itself in the market. They want to be sure that the product is tried and tested before using it themselves.
They will use your product not out of curiosity but out of need. They will not want to miss out on an opportunity to use a product that their competitors (from the Early Majority stage) might already be using.
It is somewhere between the early majority and late majority phases where the sales of the product will be at its highest. It is very important to showcase to the consumers how the product solves their problem and the advantages that the product will provide them over the competitor product.

The size of this group is considerably large,, making it an important stage for the success of the product. This group of people will be the last to buy your product. They are opposed to change and feel threatened by it. They are skeptical about your product and only start considering using your product once all of the buzz about the product is starting to quiet down. The popularity of the product does not convince them to adopt it and they only do so once things start becoming difficult for them by not using the product and are forced to adopt it.


The product life cycle starts at a stage where no one or a very few people know about the product and may gradually reach a stage where everyone knows about it. As the product ages , the way it is promoted to the customers should also change. The message that you put forward at every stage should change according to the customer. Innovators and Early adopters will seek uniqueness whereas the Early Majority would want to know what others think about your product.
The Innovators and Early Adopters are showcased the features of the product and the benefits it offers. On the other hand for the later stages, testimonials and reviews can be used to appeal to the customers and end their skepticism towards the product.
Product Adoption Curve is a difficult concept to implement in your product lifecycle but can be very rewarding if mastered. If you pay attention to WHICH customer needs WHAT and WHEN, you can create an awesome product which is adopted by different customers at different stages. The key is to know who your customers are and what they want from your product.