Behind the purchase of a smartphone, there are a number of cognitive processes that we do not know about. Decision making is a well-studied field in areas such as psychology and neuroscience.

Behind the purchase of a smartphone, there are a number of cognitive processes that we do not know about. Decision making is a well-studied field in areas such as psychology and neuroscience. and the thesis on which we will be based for the realization of this article takes this into account.

Today we are going to talk about how we decide which smartphone to buy , which features are what influence our perception, and how it all relates to our decision making when it comes to choosing  the perfect phone.

Differentiating the two potential groups

Francesco Travagli distinguished in this thesis  two main groups. The  early adopters , those people who are enthusiastic about technology and have a vision of the future, and the late adopters , more pragmatic users with little interest in technology and who have “only” practices claims on it.

Within these two groups we find five categories, in which Travagli divides the characteristics and interests of buyers .

  • Innovators : correspond to 2.5% of buyers. They are those interested in technology products, so much so that the price of devices is virtually irrelevant to them. Economic capacity, as well as the lack of concern about the uncertainty that the new product may generate, are two of its main features.
  • Pioneers : represented by 13.5% of buyers. They are not interested in the technology itself, but consider the features and benefits that a new product can offer.
  • Early Adopters : This group represents 34% of buyers. High level of pragmatism and reticence with technology. This causes them to purchase the products after a long wait, in which they can check in various ways that the product works well.
  • Late Adopters : This group is as large as the Early Adopters , about 34%. The main difference from the previous group is that they decide to take a step towards buying a smartphone when their friends, colleagues or family have already done so.
  • Latecomers : Corresponds to 16% of buyers. Sometimes isolated from the social system, traditional and reluctant to technology. Precarious economic situation that makes them quite elusive with the purchase of smartphones.

According to your way of being, the user will make a purchase

Based on the two types of buyers we mentioned earlier, we must also differentiate between two types of purchases. Complex buying behavior , where the consumer is heavily involved in the product they are interested in, thoroughly analyzing the differences between the different alternatives. On the other hand, we have the low share of purchases , just the opposite of the above. Having one attitude or another toward a product may depend on different variables, including the following:

  • Degree of Need : Firstly, the consumer has a need to cover a need. This need motivates the user to start acting to buy the object that best suits their needs.
  • Information Processing:  Second, the need we have helps us begin to gather information on how to satisfy it. However, exposure to this information will vary according to our membership group – social class, lifestyle, ego, culture, experiences …
  • Brand Assessment : We are beginning to see which brands meet our needs, the differences between them and their key points.
  • Product Purchase
  • Product Evaluation : We evaluate whether or not we met our needs, which will have a major impact on our brand awareness.

All of these variables depend on social, demographic and lifestyle factors … This is clearly reflected in the sales differences of each brand by country . Did you know that  OnePlus is the best selling brand in Finland? And that in the United States iPhone has 92% fidelity with higher share than any other manufacturer?

Our personality, social background and past history directly influence the purchase of a mobile device. It is easy to find social groups among which we find several phones of the same brand.

Why do most influencers, celebrities, and famous people use Apple? Because probably for them the technical section has less weight than the image that is passed on to the outside world , regardless of the controversy it generates and the discussion that an iPhone gives status.

The sample and the method

The main motivation of the study was to try to find out the differences between the two groups to corroborate that the purchase decision is clearly influenced by the importance given by  Early Adopters to the characteristics of the devices. The second hypothesis revolved around that early adopters  would have a lower risk perception when buying a new product and would be willing to spend more money.

H1: The Early Adopters category looks for different benefits and has different preferences around the more interesting features of the Smartphone over the late adopter category.

H2: The early adopter category has different feelings around buying risk (particularly the risk of complexity) and is more willing to pay higher prices for high-tech products than the late adopter category.

To verify the results, several questionnaires were distributed to a sample of 364 people, women and men aged 17 to 40 years. The target population consisted of technology users with internet access and they were encouraged to send the questionnaire to their contacts. This caused the initial sample of 200 people to end up in the 364 referred to above. Responses were analyzed for inconsistencies to discard all questionnaires that could have been answered randomly or by non-technological users. After the filter there were 287 valid participants for analysis.

The results

Assessing the level of knowledge and familiarity with smartphones, Respondents were asked what they knew about mobile operating systems. The  Early Adopters were able to talk about them, while the Late Adopters have not been able to identify the operating system in the terminal. Early Adopters were also found to focus more on device specifications and technical section while  Late Adopters valued more aspects such as design and price.

On the other hand, it was found that In all cases, users realized that there were several mobile functions they had never used and this would take into account future purchases, although they were aware that each smartphone has features of little real use. By paying for the product, it was found that Early Adopters They were less sensitive to spending large amounts as long as the product was innovative and advanced enough, so they bought the most expensive smartphones.

All features are important to me. Price is not a big deal since I am willing to spend what is needed on those products that completely cover my needs. Affirmation of an Early Adopter .

The Late Adopters took prefer lower – quality products if the price was low enough. Remember that in this group technology generates little interest.


The limitations of this study are clear, there is little published literature that talks entirely about smartphones. However, shopping behaviors are more than studied by Psychology and Marketing. In this case, the thesis brings a lot of knowledge about the current situation and answers the question of why we buy the phones we currently have, based on our individual profile.

Remember that the initial hypothesis was that -H1- the Early Adopters had different preferences regarding Late Adopters, something that is simply explained by the sought experience and user needs. The summary of the two groups is that the first is focused on technology and its advancements while  Late Adopters are far from this product connection and are concerned with social meaning.

One of the most relevant findings was that users who shared a phone brand, regardless of which group they belonged to, had similar preferences. This result can be a result of biased preferences for our brand design, which makes experienced and inexperienced users opt for it simply because it is their favorite brand.

In short, the hypotheses have been proven, concluding that There are two types of buyers, those who focus on product technology and are willing to pay for what is needed and those who value for money, without having their needs. last of the last.

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