UCL School of Management

5 June 2018

New technology should not be advertised

Research suggests people are more likely to adopt new technology if they see people they know using it (Photo: Uber)

Consumers are often anxious about new technology and only feel comfortable adopting it when they see their friends have, according to research from the UCL School of Management.

Professor Steve Yoo and his colleagues Yufei Huang, Bilal Gokpinar, and Chris Tang, discovered that actively advertising new products can actually hurt its sales revenue.

“When deciding whether to adopt an innovative product or service, consumers often experience different levels of anxiety and nervousness which can make them resist a purchase.

“This includes fear of learning new technologies, or disruption of their established habits. In such cases, consumers’ anxiety is affected by external influences. For example, an anxious consumer who is initially reluctant to use Uber, may become more comfortable adopting it after seeing people they know use it,” says Yoo.

Most companies want to promote their new products, however for innovations that make people nervous, using marketing to get people to start using them straight away may be detrimental to the success of the product. Instead, pacing the adoption rate and focusing on reducing the consumer anxiety in the early stages of product launch would benefit the companies long term.

To reduce consumers’ anxiety levels, the researchers recommend that companies should actively help consumers familiarise themselves with the innovative product or service. This might include offering free trials or training videos or allowing easy access to products via how rooms or experience centres.


For more information, a copy of the paper, or to speak to Professor Yoo, contact Kate Mowbray at BlueSky PR on kate@bluesky-pr.com or call +44 (0)1582 7979 57

Last updated Tuesday, 5 June 2018