Differentiating between Innovators and Laggards in the Uses and Gratifications for Internet Services

Innovation among consumers of Internet services is different from the sort of innovative activity scholars have seen in other markets and with other technology adoption processes. Understanding the characteristics that differentiate the innovative early adopters of Internet technologies and services not only aids in understanding the adoption processes of later adopters, but also informs adaptation of online commercial offerings in order to more closely match the evolving needs and requirements of the heaviest users of the venue. Internet adoption has reached critical mass, and the remaining market growth to be found by online service providers will be among late adopters. This study, based on data from a broad sample of America Online customers, operationalizes adoption behavior along a continuum of user experience levels and helps to build an understanding of the differences between innovative early adopters, the profitable mainstream majority, and laggard technological adopters.