DEFINITION of 'Early Adopter'
An individual or business who uses a new product or technology before others. An early adopter is likely to pay more for the product than later adopters, but accepts this premium if using the product improves efficiency, reduces cost, increases market penetration or simply raises the early adopter's social status. Companies rely on early adopters to provide feedback about product deficiencies, and to cover the cost of the product's research and development.
BREAKING DOWN 'Early Adopter'
The rate of diffusion, or adoption, of a new product by the market at large can vary according to the type of product and its price. Early adopters in the business world face a high level of risk in that they are using a product or technology that may not be perfected, and which may not work with the products used by suppliers and customers or may not be compatible with other products they own.