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Knowing Your Gadget Buying Style

What type of gadget fan are you?

Every January Las Vegas is the center of the consumer electronics universe. It's the Consumer Electronics Show, and all the big and little players, with the exception of Apple who hosts their own events, gather to show off their products and concepts for the coming year. The hot technology of the just-passed holiday season become last-year’s models; what was cutting-edge is now old news.

So, how do you handle the pace of change? It depends on your own personal style.

The Early Adopter

These are the folks who need to have the slickest, fastest, smallest and newest technology otherwise they feel out of date. They pay top dollar and are willing to put up with products that may still need a bit of kink straightening. CES and Apple press conferences will be followed like pronouncements from a holy mountain and a pile of ready cash must be set aside to keep up with whatever trendy items emerge.

The Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur is always looking for tools that are reliable and that give them an edge. This pushes them to early adoption, but not if that means using unstable tools. Money is of course a consideration when they are their most important investor, but money spent on business tech is usually tax deductible.

The Comfy Consumer

If money isn’t tight, why not have nice things? The comfortable consumer works hard or is lucky enough to have the means and is not afraid to spend money on tech that entertains them. From the ‘it’ brand or the latest and greatest innovation, these consumers tend to have media rooms, noise-cancelling headphones and a car dashboard with more computing power than an Apollo mission.

The Student

Fashion is important, and students are in constant competition with their peers and have come to expect a tech solution to every question—if only they had the budget to buy it all. If they have supportive parents they can make the case for a tech purchase, often prioritizing gadgets ahead of cars, books or spring break trips.

The Frugal Hold Out

Tech is seen as a luxury but this skeptical consumer, being an educated shopper, can see the value in a tool that could save them money in the long run. When tech companies court their business, they need to explain the smartness of a purchase. Replacing the computer when it makes good sense will often mean weeks if not months of research and the cell phone  upgrade date is the beginning of the shopping process, despite the nudging of the provider to renew the contract term.

Being a tech fan involves a respect for both the scientific progress and the hits and misses of any invention. Do we need smart refrigerators? Or our scales tweeting our weight? Remember how silly camera phones seemed? We may not have flying cars but the ubiquitous computer seems well
on its way to becoming commonplace.

Candide08 January 18, 2012 at 04:19 PM
You forgot "The Luddite." These are people that actively swear off technology. They do not have email and still had rotary phones until the phone company stopped supporting them. Occasionally someone in this group will quantum-leap right into the Comfy Consumer or Entrepreneur group.
Jean Westcott January 18, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Ah, but then they wouldn't be a 'gadget fan'? There are a lot of us who hope to some day be a comfy consumer but are more of a 'waiting on the sidelines due to financial reality' group--but that isn't very fun to write about!

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