Behaviours can be useful predictors of other behaviours

MCDONALD, Heath, CORKINDALE, David & SHARP, Byron 2003. Behavioral versus demographic predictors of early adoption: a critical analysis and comparative test. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 11, 84-95.

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Predicting which consumers will be amongst the first to adopt an innovative product is a difficult task but is valuable in allowing effective and efficient use of marketing resources. This paper examines the accuracy of predictions made about likely first adopters based on the most widely accepted theory and compares them to predictions made by examining the relevant past behavior of consumers. A survey of over 1000 consumers examined adoption of an innovative technology: compact fluorescent lightglobes. The results show that variables which were derived from a utility and awareness perspective were a more accurate and managerially useful predictor than the demographic variables derived from the widely accepted theory based on the work of Rogers. It is suggested that these alternative variables could be utilized more readily by marketing managers in many circumstances.


2 thoughts on “Behaviours can be useful predictors of other behaviours

  1. Excellent article on an issue that’s critical, yet too often treated without this kind of serious thought and research.

    I’d be interested in any sense you have of whether individuals who adopt earlier in one area may only exhibit these behaviors only that areas while remaining well behind the curve in others. I’ve observed this anecdotally. And the behaviors found in the research appear to be likely localized to the areas close to CFL and unable to be generalized into other areas of these consumer’s lives.



    • Yes, I agree Doug that’s how it seems to be. Searches for more generalised behaviours, e.g. behavioural traits, tend to produce poor predictions. The more general, the weaker the prediction.

      So to predict a particular behaviour (like installing solar electricity) you have to look for closely related behaviours that indicate motivation and opportunity.

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