We all have friends and family members who are the first people to buy any new piece of technology… smart phones, iPods, GPS systems, tablets, flat screen TVs and so on. In a world where someone you work with or your best friend has the newest and latest gadget, it's easy to get caught up in the "I need that" cycle. Victim to this cycle, my first smartphone was great for about a year until it began sending text messages to the wrong people and labeling those messages under the wrong name. In a phonebook containing bosses, ex-boyfriends and grandparents, that's a dangerous variable to live with.
Recently, my Mom bought her first smartphone and has been loving entering the world of apps, group messaging and great picture quality. A woman of patience, she has never been one to give in to the latest trends. She much prefers what she's comfortable with until the rest of us work out all the kinks and eventually cause the prices of things to decrease. Then, she pops up and buys the smartphone that's reliable, predictable and does not accidentally send a text intended for your best friend to your landlord.
My Mom's recent adoption of this technology got me thinking about the science behind this process and how companies are using the "hype cycle" to predict what we will all wait in line for 2 days to buy next year and the next 10 years after that. Gartner, Inc. is already way ahead in dissecting and reporting these trends.
It's always an interesting revelation when our purchasing habits and trends are broken down into this much psychological detail and intention. We make these decisions often times quickly and excitedly without having any idea that there is a hype cyle to which we are a part of. While I will probably still upgrade my phone as soon as my 2 year contract allows me, there's a solid chance my Mom will have her new phone for the next 5 years – or until the next best thing reaches the plateu of productivity.
Sarah Fisher is an account executive at Theory House shopper marketing agency in Charlotte, NC