What are Laggards?

Definition: A laggard is a particular portion of a wide population that is considered the last segment to adopt a new technology, product, service or particular innovation. It has been recognized as a small group of people that are reluctant to changes and don’t accept the adoption of new developments easily.

What Does Laggard Mean?

A common business trend within innovative companies is a continuous development of new products or updates for those that are already in the market. Customers react differently depending on a set of predispositions, behaviors, criteria, personal background, age, gender, profession and other demographic elements that have shaped their view about new things. A laggard, from a marketing and consumer behavior standpoint, is a person that adopts these newly developed elements later than the rest of the population.

Their behavior is often affected by a reluctance to change old habits and it is a common pattern seen in elderly individuals. Companies have many different strategies to push this segment towards a change, by reducing the benefits of older versions, limiting their ability to fit new available needs and also, by creating an environment of constant exposure to the positive attributes of the newer versions. Other strategies like spare part’s supply shrinkage and limited technical support are also strong incentives employed to help laggards move forward.

Example

Mr. Louis is a 68 years old retired engineer that owns a TV that was designed in the early 2000s. He has been prompted by his 3 sons many time to change this old model for a new LED version that was developed and launched by the same brand a few months ago. Despite these comments and the vast number of offers he has received to purchase a new one on a discount or through credit he is still reluctant to change his plasma version.

Mr. Louis alleges that he is quite happy with the image quality he gets from this TV and that means he doesn’t need a new one. From a marketing perspective, he is a laggard, since he hasn’t been willing to move on from older versions of such product.