Lessons Learned From Tech Adoption Curves


Since 2000, DVR adoption has grown from sub 1% to nearly 40%, HDTV sets are in about half of U.S. households from less than 1% and broadband has risen from 1% of homes to about 68% of them, researcher Bruce Leichtman noted, drawing lessons from the growth curves.

Lessons about these adoptions drawn by Durham, N.H.-based Leichtman Research Group's principal analyst include:

-- Adoption and ongoing growth are frequently led by those with higher incomes. For example: about 37% of households with annual income of less than $30,000 have broadband subscriptions. In households with north of $75,000 in annual income, the broadband penetration is 89%. For DVRs, the numbers are 16% and 54%. For HDTVs, the penetration levels are 29% and 61%. The numbers come in between those poles in homes with household income levels between $30,000 and $75,000.

-- Product appeal is not enough: changes in the marketplace, bundling and product delivery are often key. HDTV sets took off in the second half of the decade driven by set price reductions and the digital broadcast transition. DVR adoption took off after the technology was bundled into satellite and cable set-tops.

-- New products and services take time to grow, and growth is rarely linear. Early growth can be slow, but can ramp up steeply once "an ideal confluence of availability, marketing and marketplace conditions is achieved," according to Leichtman.

LRG's new research (from a survey of 1,300 U.S. households) indicates 46% of U.S. households have at least one HDTV set, double the percentage that had an HDTV set two years ago.