8 Reasons Not To Be An Early Adopter

12.05.06 | Money | 0 Comments | by junger

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Working in the technology industry, and generally being a tech geek, I get caught up in the hype of new product launches.

I got a PlayStation 2 the first day it came out — though I'm still deciding on a PlayStation 3 — and purchased a plasma earlier this year, before the prices dropped substantially.

So I'm what you would call an early adopter.

But that's not always a good thing. In fact, there's at least 10 reasons NOT to be an early adopter.

  1. Low Supply, High Demand
    As many folks are currently dealing with with the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, the high demand and low supply of products make finding them a complete time-waster. If the products aren't easily available, chances are they will be at some point.
  2. It's Expensive
    When it's tough to get a product, prices are higher. There's a reason why hard-to-seek products end up on eBay — people know that some sucker will spend twice the MSRP in order to get it and get it now.
  3. First-Batch Production Problems
    A lot of products launch with problems that the QA folks couldn't find. Do you want to have a broken product, or wait until they find the problem and THEN invest in it?
  4. Limited Reviews
    It's logical to learn about products before you buy them — whether it's by reading reviews or a word-of-mouth resource. But when you're buying something at first launch, you're often relying on reviews of test products that may not have been finished, marketing shtick, and brand loyalty.
  5. Required to Purchase Extras
    When the demand is high, supply is low and margins are thin, retailers are going to force you to purchase higher margin products that you don't necessarily want in order to get what you do. When the Xbox 360 came out, Target had a bundle with an LCD TV included. Warranties, often the highest margin product a retailer has, often get "bundled" with the product.
  6. Lack of Competition
    If you're purchasing a one-of-a-kind product, but one that will have competition relatively soon, you're either shutting the door on a potentially better choice or having to pay for two competing products.
  7. Hype Highs
    Getting caught up in the hype of new product launches or Black Friday sales causes you to act foolishly. Wanting to get a product as soon as it becomes available often makes you not really think about whether or not you actually need the product … you just want it.
  8. Little Market Experience
    Sometimes, the market just doesn't respond well to a product, despite the hype and set of features. (I'm looking at you, LaserDisc player and Dreamcast.)

On the flip side, there are a few reasons to be an early adopter — mostly because it's fun and exciting.

Is it worth being an early adopter?

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