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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

The Role of Age in New Product Adoption

Published: May 28, 2019


Dominik Hettich, Goethe University Frankfurt; Stefan Hattula, Goethe University Frankfurt; Torsten Bornemann, Goethe University Frankfurt


Innovation adoption; Aging; Information processing


This research investigates how consumer age impacts new product adoption. Following socioemotional selectivity theory (SST), we argue and empirically show in four studies—one eye-tracking in the laboratory, two field, and one online—that reduced product-related information processing can explain innovation resistance of older (as compared to younger) consumers. Our research further reveals that efficient and easy to implement adaptations in the communication strategy can effectively tackle older consumers’ reduced innovation adoption. Specifically, framing product claims as prevention-focused enhances their product-related information processing and therefore new product choice. The results have important implications for researchers and managers as they refine our understanding about the reasons for older peoples’ unwillingness to accept new products that might have the potential to improve their quality of life.