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What are laggards?

Definition: Laggards are the last persons or organizations to adopt new ideas, technologies, products, or specific innovations. They are hesitant to embrace new changes even when more efficient options are available.

Representing the poorest and oldest among adopters, they rely on family members, friends, and neighbors as their primary source of information. By the time they adapt to a product or innovation, it is obsolete for others.

To move laggards towards change, organizations utilize many tactics — propagating positive features of the newer product version and limiting benefits, technical support, and supply of spare parts for the older version.

Examples of laggards

Image source: CB&A — Laggards are Skeptics.

In investing:

Stocks of CDF Inc. have consistently yielded an annual return of 3 percent for a decade. Whereas, other peer stocks post average annual returns of 8 percent. The CDF stocks are laggards because they are underperforming compared to the market benchmark.

In marketing:

Mr. John, a retired US Army veteran, owns an LCD-screen laptop with 2 GB RAM that he purchased in 2001. The laptop now takes an inordinate time to execute any command, and the image quality is not good anymore. 

The army veteran was persuaded many times by his only son to change his old laptop with a new full-array LED screen version with 8 GB ram and a state-of-the-art processor developed by the same company a couple of months ago. The company also offered Mr. John a discount on the upgrade.

Despite these persuasions and advanced features associated with the newer version, the army veteran is unwilling to change his laptop. Mr. John is a laggard from the marketing standpoint because he is reluctant to adapt to new technology or product.

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Article FAQs

What separates leaders from laggards?
Leaders are quick to adapt to new ideas and technologies. They keep pace with the changing consumer preferences and market conditions. In contrast, laggards are resistant to change and slow to embrace new technologies and methods.
What ages are laggards?
Age is an important factor influencing an individual’s willingness to embrace technological advancements and new ideas. Elderly persons are more likely to be laggards because they find it difficult to change their old habits.
What is the role of laggards in the technology adoption life cycle?
In the technology adoption life cycle, laggards are the last to adapt to new ideas and technologies. Therefore, they provide a pool of potential future customers and a source of valuable feedback on the technology.

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