Most new-product frameworks in marketing and economics, as well as lay beliefs and practices, hold that the larger the stock of adoption of a new product, the greater the likelihood of additional adoption. Less is known about the underlying mechanisms as well as the conditions under which this central assumption holds. We use a series of field and consequential choice experiments to demonstrate the existence of nonpositive and even negative effects of large adoption stock information on the likelihood of subsequent adoption. The results highlight the degree of homophily with the adopting stock as well as the level of customer uncertainty as key characteristics determining the nature of the effect of stock information. In particular, information about a large existing adoption stock generates a positive effect on adoption only under moderate customer uncertainty combined with sufficient homophily; in other levels of uncertainty and/or homophily we find effects ranging from null to negative. This is the first direct test and demonstration of the intricate role of information about a large stock of adoption in the new product diffusion process, and it carries direct implications for marketers.
- New product adoption
- Product diffusion
- Social influence
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management