Innovative Product Usage Behavior in the Post-Adoption Process

ABSTRACT - This study investigated product usage behavior in the post-adoption process. Particularly, it was interested in innovative use behavior after the adoption of a new product The relationships among adoption, post-adoption variables (usage experience and post-adoption evaluation) and use innovative behavior were examined toward clothing product category. Product type and product interest were considered in these relationships. The results revealed that product interest and adoption affected use innovative behavior, but post-adoption variables did not. There was slight difference in the relationships by the product type used.



Citation:

Kyungae Park (1998) ,"Innovative Product Usage Behavior in the Post-Adoption Process", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, eds. Kineta Hung and Kent B. Monroe, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 107-112.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, 1998      Pages 107-112

INNOVATIVE PRODUCT USAGE BEHAVIOR IN THE POST-ADOPTION PROCESS

Kyungae Park, Yeungnam University, South Korea

ABSTRACT -

This study investigated product usage behavior in the post-adoption process. Particularly, it was interested in innovative use behavior after the adoption of a new product The relationships among adoption, post-adoption variables (usage experience and post-adoption evaluation) and use innovative behavior were examined toward clothing product category. Product type and product interest were considered in these relationships. The results revealed that product interest and adoption affected use innovative behavior, but post-adoption variables did not. There was slight difference in the relationships by the product type used.

Past innovation and diffusion research was only concerned with initial purchase/non-purchase of new products and neglected post-adoption behavior. Likewise, consumer behavior research in post-purchase behavior was more concerned with psychological aspects (such as consumer satisfaction and dissatisfaction) and paid less attention to behavioral aspects (such as level of use or quality of use) of usage behavior. As usage behavior refers to continuous commitment to the product, "level of use" (Black 1982) is as important as level of initial adoption. Level of use refers to the amount of usage (use frequency) and quality of usage (use variety). High level of use leads to innovative use wherein a variety of different uses and new adaptations of product uses are observed. Such innovative use behavior (creative and adaptive use) of an existing product can extend the product life cycle by giving a new life to the product and stimulate and extend the rate of product diffusion. Hence, understanding post-adoption usage behavior and extending innovative behavior to the post-adoption process help marketers develop more effective product development, promotion and service strategies and build along-term relationship with customers.

Use innovative behavior is the highest level of usage behavior representing different and adaptive uses of a product. After the purchase of a new product, use innovative behavior can be developed from usage experience with the product and evaluation of the product. Therefore, use innovative behavior should be understood along with post-adoption variables such as direct usage experience and consequential evaluation (post-adoption attitude) as well as with a specific adoption behavior.

The objective of this study is to understand innovative product usage behavior in the post-adoption process. Specifically, the study: 1) examines the post-adoption usage process, from an adoption to use innovative behavior; 2) examines the relationships among an adoption, post-adoption variables and use innovative behavior; and 3) identifies variables that best predict use innovative behavior. Specific research questions include: 1) Is an adoption of a new product related to use innovative behavior? 2) What post-adoption variables explain use innovative behavior? 3) How do the post-adoption variables intervene in the relationship between the adoption and use innovative behavior?

ADOPTION AND POST-ADOPTION PROCESS

The concept of adoption has been used in a rather limited way to refer to a single decision-point (Anderson and Ortinau 1988; Antil 1988; Black 1982; Gatignon and Robertson 1985; Mascarenhas 1991). However, adoption is an acceptance and continued use of a product (Antil 1988) and should be considered as a process that each user of an innovation experiences individually (Hall, Loucks, Rutherford and Newlove 1975). Antil (1988) argues that adoption involves both psychological and behavioral commitment to a product over time. That is, direct use experience and use evaluation with the product intervene between the first purchase and continued use in post-adoption process. Direct use experience (behavioral commitment) refers to a consequence which is a behavioral/experience variable regarding how the product is implemented or used and what behavioral changes may result from product usage (Antil 1988). Further, consequence leads to confirmation. Based on the consequences of using the product, "the consumer forms an evaluation (psychological commitment) that results in some level of product satisfaction. . .If actual product performance meets or exceeds prior expectations, confirmation of expectations and satisfaction result (Antil 1988, p.10)." A positive evaluation leads to continued use, whereas a negative evaluation leads to rejection (discontinuance).

Therefore, Antil (1988) suggests a sequential order of initial adoption, use experience, evaluation and continued use. Continued use based on experience and satisfaction in the post-adoption process will be accompanied with high quality of use. Such high quality of use leads to use innovative behavior.

USE INNOVATIVE BEHAVIOR IN THE POST-ADOPTION PROCESS

Hall et al. (1975) demonstrate individual variation in the type and degree of use behavior of an innovation. They propose use developmental levels wherein a mechanical/ routine use, an active exploration of new and different uses, an integration with existing other products, and an active searching for a superseding innovation or modification of the product itself are orderly pursued. They hypothesize that "growth in quality of use of an innovation (movement toward higher levels) by most individuals is developmental......Obviously, these advanced levels of use are attained merely by use of the innovation through several cycles (Hall et al. 1975, p.52)."

Experience and commitment are essential for an individual to develop ahigh-quality of use. As an individual uses a new product routinely, s/he becomes familiar with the product and acquires knowledge relevant to the product and its use. Such experience, along with the individual’s willingness for higher commitment, leads to the demand for exploration of a new use. Hence, the individual can use the innovation in a variety of ways at a high level of developmental dimensions. Further, the individual may integrate use at an even higher level, and seeks modifications and alternatives at the highest level (Hall et al. 1975).

Use innovative behavior (use of an existing product in a new way and in various ways) can be observed in the higher levels of the developmental stages. Such behavior is developed from several previous stages of use experience. Therefore, usage experience and its evaluation are indispensable in understanding use innovative behavior after an initial adoption. Also, at the specific time period and for a specific new product, earlier adopters who have used the innovation for a longer time period will show higher use innovative behavior on more occasions.

POST-ADOPTION PRODUCT USAGE VARIABLES: BEHAVIORAL ASPECTS

Usage experience as a product usage behavior is one of the poorly developed research areas while post-adoption evaluation relative to consumer satisfaction has been broadly researched. Both the variety and frequency dimensions represent usage experience. Zaichkowsky (1985) defines the two dimensions as the breadth and the depth of consumption experience. Use frequency, including the number of times the product is used or the number of occasions the product is purchased in the specific time period, represents the depth of consumption. The breadth of consumption implies a variety of use situations or the number of brands the person has consumed or purchased over a given time period (Zaichkowsky 1985). Ram and Jung (1989) also suggest that usage frequency and usage variety are the two critical dimensions of product usage. They contend that usage frequency refers to how often the product is used regardless of the different applications for which it is used. Usage variety refers to different applications for which a product is used and different situations in which a product is used (Ram and Jung 1989). Dutton, Kovaric and Steinfield (1985) identify these two dimensions as the amount of usage (light vs heavy) and variety in usage (low vs high). Foxall and Bhate (1991) also include the frequency of product use and the extent of related products used. Therefore, usage experience includes usage frequency which represents quantitative aspects and usage variety which represents qualitative aspects.

ADOPTION, POST-ADOPTION VARIABLES AND USE INNOVATIVE BEHAVIOR

Innovators and early adopters tend to be heavy buyers or frequent users (Anderson and Ortinau 1988; Gatignon and Robertson 1985). They are highly committed to the product (Wellan and Ehrenberg 1988), so they purchase additional related items, are more satisfied with their purchase, and own more products within the product category (Anderson and Ortinau 1988). Also, innovators are more curious about how the product works, and are more willing to develop additional uses for the product (Anderson and Ortinau 1988). That is, early adoption tends to positively affect post-adoption variables such as use frequency, use variety and satisfaction. Such post-adoption variables also tend to be positively related to use innovative behavior. Price and Ridgway (1983, 1984) and Ram and Jung (1989) provide empirical relationships between use innovative behavior and post-adoption usage behaviors such as usage patterns, use frequency and use variety.

Most studies in product usage have been conducted for consumer durables. Researc findings show somewhat conflicting conclusions when a study is done for other product categories. For example, Mascarenhas (1991) found no relationship between the early adoption of a capital good innovation and its discontinuance and retention. He concludes that early adopters are not necessarily more committed to innovations than are other adopters. The relationships among adoption, post-adoption variables and use innovative behavior need to be examined by product category and with product interest toward the product category. For consumer durables, use frequency can be an important factor in accumulating usage experience and leading to use innovative behavior. But, for fashion products where technological knowledge is not related with, product interest would be more important than use frequency in leading to use innovative behavior.

This study examines the relationships among adoption, post-adoption usage variables and use innovative behavior. Particularly, this study is interested in applying these relationships to clothing products, a typical symbolic product category, in which the effects of use innovative behavior are more conspicuous due to its visibility. An use innovative behavior model in the post-adoption process was developed as shown in Figure 1. This simple model was modified from the Antil (1988)’s post-adoption usage behavior model.

Use innovative behavior is an innovative behavior in the post-adoption process just as early adoption is an innovative behavior in the purchase process. These two innovative behaviors are originated from the same latent trait of seeking new and different experiences (Hirschman 1980) and are assumed to be related to each other. After an adoption, each individual is engaged in different levels of use behavior. An innovator or earlier adopter is more committed to the new product (usage experience) than are other adopters. Thus, at a specific time, an innovator shows higher use frequency than others. Usage experience, in turn, affects the individual’s evaluation toward the product. Positive evaluation leads to continued use which exhibits higher quality of use. Therefore, use innovative behavior is a function of adoption of a new product, usage experience, and post-adoption evaluation. Though various factors can affect the relationships among adoption, post-adoption variables and use innovative behavior, product category interest is a fundamental variable to be considered in these relationships.

RESEARCH METHOD

Clothing product category was used for the test. Clothing was selected based on the judgement: 1) It was a product category where usage behavior was easily observable due to its high visibility. Hence, the effects of use behavior could be more conspicuous; 2) Within the product category, many styles coexisted and new styles were continuously being introduced. Hence, there were more chances for creative consumers to experiment use innovative behavior; and 3) It represented the symbolic product where the concepts of product usage and use innovative behavior could be extended from consumer durable products.

A questionnaire survey was used to collect data. The questionnaire was developed through a focus group interview and a pretest. College students in a major university in the States were the subjects. Based on student statistical information, several large classes were selected. During the class meeting of each selected class, the questionnaires were distributed to students who volunteer to participate in the survey and collected during the class meeting. A total of 586 responses were collected, and except unusable ones 521 responses were used for data analysis.

Adoption was measured by asking the respondents to select the most innovative clothing item they had purchased during the last 12 months and to evaluate the innovativeness of the selected product. As many styles of fashion innovations coexisted at a same time and individual preference on selection of clothing items aried, providing an innovation and asking the respondents whether and when they had adopted the product were not appropriate. Instead, the respondents selected their own innovation in either of two types of adoption classified based on clothing types: 1) separate items of shirt/blouse/t-shirt/sweater and pants/shorts/skirt; and 2) heavy items of dress/suit/two-piece outfit and jacket/blazer/coat. Innovativeness of each selected type was evaluated on a 5-point scale (from #very conservative style’ to #trend-setting style’). Such measurement of adoption behavior is valid since an innovation is defined by each consumer’s novel perception, not necessarily by absolute newness of an innovation. That is, what is important is an individual’s perception of an object as new (Rogers 1971).

Usage experience was measured by usage frequency. Adapted from the questions of Ram and Jung (1989), it consisted of three items: 1) How often the respondent had used the product in the past; 2) How often the respondent used the product at present; and 3) How often the respondent expected to use the product in the next two seasons on 7-point scales (from #never’ to #daily’). Post-adoption evaluation was the index of: 1) overall satisfaction about the product on a 7-point scale, which was based on Ridgway and Price (1984) and Anderson and Ortinau (1988); and 2) the respondent’s attitude toward the product on three 7-point scale items: like-dislike, positive-negative, favorable-unfavorable (based on the post-adoption attitude measurement by Ram and Jung 1991).

FIGURE 1

MODEL OF USE INNOVATIVE BEHAVIOR IN THE POST-ADOPTION PROCESS

The use innovative behavior scale was developed based on the guidelines by Hirschman (1980) and by Price and Ridgway (1983). The final scale with 7 items asked the respondents to indicate, on a 7-point scale (from #never’ to #always’), the extent to which they had used the product in a new way and in a variety of ways. The respondents themselves defined a new way and a different way based on their perceptions. Product interest was measured by an adapted scale of Schrank (1973)’s clothing interest inventory. Five items measured the extent to which the respondent was interested in clothing on a 5-point scale.

ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

A total of 294 respondents (56%) selected separate items of shirt/blouse/T-shirt/sweater and pants/shorts/skirt, and 227 respondents (44%) selected heavy items of dress/suit/two-piece outfit and jacket/blazer/vest/coat. Further analysis was done separately by product type. The alpha coefficients estimated for product interest, usage frequency, post-adoption evaluation and use innovative behavior were 0.87, 0.85, 0.94 and 0.92, respectively.

Path coefficients were estimated to test the post-adoption use innovative behavior model. Table 1 and Table 2 show the correlation matrix of the variables by product type. The following equations were used to see the relationships among the variables.

Usage Frequency=f (Product Interest, Adoption)

Post-Adoption Evaluation= f (Product Interest, Adoption, Usage Frequency)

Use Innovative Behavior=f (Product Interest, Adoption, Usage Frequency, Post-Adoption Evaluation )

For separate items, two variables of product interest and adoption very slightly explained usage frequency (R2=.06, p<.0001) as shown in Table 3. Adoption did not have a ignificant effect on usage frequency, and product interest negatively affected usage frequency (Beta=-.22, p<.0001). Product interest, adoption, and usage frequency had a small effect on post-adoption evaluation (R2=.04, p<.01). Adoption affected post-adoption evaluation in a small magnitude (Beta=.14, p<.05), but product interest and usage frequency did not have a significant effect. All these variables including product interest, adoption, usage frequency and post-adoption evaluation explained 16% of use innovative behavior (R2=.16, p<.0001). Product interest had the highest effect on use innovative behavior (Beta=.30, p<.0001). Adoption showed a significant effect on use innovative behavior (Beta=.21, p<.0001). Usage frequency and post-adoption evaluation did not affect use innovative behavior.

TABLE 1

CORRELATION MATRIX (FOR SEPARATE ITEMS)

TABLE 2

CORRELATION MATRIX (FOR HEAVY ITEMS)

For heavy items, product interest and adoption did not have a significant effect on usage frequency as shown in Table 4. Product interest, adoption, and usage frequency did not have a significant effect on post-adoption evaluation either. Product interest and adoption affected use innovative behavior (Beta=.31, p<.0001, Beta=.24, p<.0001, respectively) even though usage frequency and post-adoption evaluation did not affect use innovative behavior. These four variables explained 19% of use innovative behavior (R2=.19, p<.0001).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

This study examined use innovative behavior in the post-adoption process. The relationships among an adoption, post-adoption variables and use innovative behavior were examined with product interest toward clothing fashion products. Clothing types were categorized into separate items of shirt/blouse/t-shirt/sweater and pants/shorts/skirt and heavy items of dress/suit/two-piece outfit and jacket/blazer/coat.

For both product types, product interest and adoption were direct predictors of use innovative behavior. Product interest had a higher predictability than did adoption. The results supported the direct relationship of an adoption to use innovative behavior. That is, two innovative behaviors originated from the same trait of novelty seeking (Hirschman 1980) had a sequential order in that the adoption affected post-adoption use innovative behavior.

The findings that post-adoption variables did not affect use innovative behavior was different from past research findings that used consumer durables. Clothing use behavior mostly requires the combination of multiple items (such as a shirt, a pair of pants, a jacket, a pair of shoes, etc. for a complete outfit), and an individual already owns an extensive inventory of available choices. Hence, one new product adopted may not be used frequently, and use frequency does not necessarily lead to use innovative behavior. Also, the result indicates the more interest toward the product category, the less the respondent uses the selected product in case of less involved separate items. A consumer who is interested in clothing products probably owns a more extensive inventory and experiments a new way of item combination. Hence, it tends to result in low usage frequency of one new product.

Post-adoption evaluation, which referred to satisfaction with an individual item or with one event of purchase seemed less important to predict use innovative behavior. For separate items of shirt/blouse/t-shirt/sweater and pants/shorts/skirt, the effect of adoption on post-adoption evaluation indicated that the newness of such a less involved product type leaded to satisfaction even though it was not used more frequently. An insignificant effect of usage experience on post-adoption evaluation indicated that the product itself (such as its innovativeness) rather than direct use experience with the product could be a better predictor of satisfaction or dissatisfaction toward the product.

The result might not be generalized beyond the student group. A different result might be expected when th research is applied to other sample groups such as business men/women who have different use patterns in clothing types. But, the difference is not expected when the study is applied to student groups in different cultures.

Generally, the predictability of the model is low. This may be explained by the following: 1) Use innovative behavior is directly and indirectly influenced by a series of pre-adoption variables as well as post-adoption variables. However, the model that examines only with product interest does not incorporate pre-adoption variables such as product involvement, media exposure, and personal and social characteristics; 2) Depending on the respondents’ memories in measuring the post-adoption variables might have caused some measurement biases. When the respondents were asked to select one product, they might have selected a highly satisfying product to avoid conflicts caused by dissatisfied memories; and 3) Clothing purchases occur frequently, and an individual faces tremendous combinations of potential choices from many styles in the individual’s inventory. Therefore, examining use behavior using one particular item limits its understanding. It is necessary to develop a model of use innovative behavior for the symbolic product that is different from consumer durable products.

TABLE 3

PATH COEFFICIENTS FOR USE INNOVATIVE BEHAVIOR (FOR SEPARATE ITEMS)

TABLE 4

PATH COEFFICIENTS FOR USE INNOVATIVE BEHAVIOR (FOR HEAVY ITEMS)

Nevertheless, this study contributes to the understanding of the relationships among adoption, post-adoption variables and use behavior in the post-adoption process. Use innovative behavior is a strong visible communication tool to promote the new product and stimulate the diffusion process. As an adoption tends to lead to use innovative behavior, traditional marketing programs focusing on early adopters at the early stage of diffusion are appropriate. Future study needs to examine the effects of product types on post-adoption variables and use innovative behavior and the effects of socio-psychological and behavioral variables on use innovative behavior.

REFERENCES

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Authors

Kyungae Park, Yeungnam University, South Korea



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3 | 1998



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