Guide: Adoption Curves

Unfortunately, not all customers move through the sales process at the same speed. However, for most industries or products, customers follow a pretty generic adoption curve that you will have seen many times before. This is also very closely correlated to the industry growth curves, just with a customer focus.

We don’t need to go into too much detail here except that it’s important to be clear on which segment your current offerings have reached, as that will indicate how easy, or hard, it will be for you to capture more demand going forward. You can also plot new strategic ideas on this curve to help work out whether you are being truly innovative, or whether you are simply copying a competitors offering.

Over time, the total sales for a particular offering give us that “S-curve” shape which is why it’s so common for businesses to experience this growth pattern. See diagrams below.

When we overlay two offerings side by side e.g. Apple releasing an iPhone and then an iPad, we start to see how the best companies introduce new strategic offerings just as another one is slowing, in order to reinvigorate their own “S-curve” growth again.