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Applying lead user theory to young adults

Oosterloo, Nastasja; Kratzer, Jan; Achterkamp, Marjolein C.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify lead users within social networks of young adults between 14 and 17 years of age. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire and the SAGS-method were used to collect data within seven high schools in the north of The Netherlands. These data were used to empirically test five hypotheses using the variables which could enable the identification of lead users. A multiple regression analysis was used to test the predictive value of the variables. The analysis was complemented with a qualitative analysis of the collected data. Findings – The main characteristics which identify lead users among adults can also be used with young adults. Those young adults who are more likely to be a lead user, are more ahead of a trend and have a higher amount of expected benefit. They also display more expertise than other young adults. Research limitations/implications – The variable of perceived information benefits could complement the variables used for identifying lead users among young adults, but further research is necessary. Because the focus is on only one specific product, the generalizability of the results from this research is limited. Further research should include different products or services in different domains of interest. The variables of perceived information benefits and efficiency did not have a significant positive relation with lead userness, but further research is needed. Practical implications – The identification of lead users could be valuable to organizations that focus on young adults in the age range 14 to 17 years and could lead to significant commercial benefits. Young adults are a large potential market and the identification of lead users within this target group could help organizations Originality/value – Research on lead user theory ismainly focused on adults or organizations. This article tries to fill this research gap by focusing on young adults. It is an extension of the research of Kratzer and Lettl, Kunst and Kratzer and Molenmaker et al. who focused on children from 8 to 12 years old.
Published in: Young consumers, 10.1108/17473611011025975, Emerald
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  • This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.