Diffusion theory is well known in sociology, geography, medical sociology, cultural anthropology, industrial economics, communication, and consumer behavior. It is a mature theory, yet one which is still being researched and modified to better understand the dissemination of ideas, values, and products and services. Regarding financial services, however, research treating the adoption of innovations is quite limited and only of very recent interest.
A survey of 633 bank consumers was analyzed with the purpose of developing a profile of the adopter of financial services derived from demographic, behavioral, and psychographic variables. A multiple discriminant analysis model was constructed and consistent with diffusion theory it was found that a unique profile does exist for the adopter of financial services: relatively younger, more affluent, of higher occupational prestige, financially disciplined, an opinion leader, heavier user of credit, and less impulsive.
Exploratory research further suggested, in addition, that unique and more specific profiles might “nest” inside the larger service category, thus permitting profile design for individual heterogeneous innovations. In this study the adopter of the Home Equity Line of Credit was found to be relatively younger, more affluent, an opinion leader, more frequent financial services institution switcher, a deliberate decision maker, and one who selects financial institutions differently than nonadopters. Managerial applications of the model were suggested, with which to manage other financial services.