The Law of Diffusion of Innovation

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The Law of Diffusion of Innovation

How long until the majority of the people are regular cannabis users?

Have you heard of the law of diffusion of innovation?

It sounds complicated, but it’s actually very simple.

The law of diffusion of innovation looks at what category people fall into for a new product or service.

In all industries, the studies and reports find:

2.5% of the population are the innovators.  Those are the guys who create something out of nothing.

13.5% of the population are early adapters.  Those are the first people to start using a product or gadget before anyone else has even heard of it.  We need early adapters, since they see the value before the rest of the population does.

Then, 34% are the early majority.  Those were the first group of people who all waited in line that wrapped around street corners for the iPhone 1.  Those guys are the ones who get the product into the hands of the general market.

From there, another 34% are the late majority.  The ones who finally “cave” because everyone else is doing it.  By this time, you are probably on version 4 or 5 from the initial release, but at least this market came around.

Finally, the remaining 16% are the laggards.  This group may or may not ever come around to your product or service, because by the time they do, it will no longer be popular.  This group still has landlines at home today that they may not even answer.

And that’s a great little tidbit of information to know, but it doesn’t quite put usable knowledge into your hands.

So to bring this info down to earth, where is the tipping point to getting your product into the hands of as many people as possible?

Most people say that 10% of the market is a tipping point.  But, you can trip over 10% of the market by accident.

The real tipping point for market penetration of your product is around the 15-18% range.  Once you capture this, you are solid.

Where is the market today regarding the tipping point for regular cannabis users?

Well, let’s take a quick look. 

From 2016 data, there are 323 million people in the united states, and 249 million of them are adults.  Based on a gallop poll from 2016, 43% of those surveyed stated they had used cannabis at some point and 12.5% reported being regular users.  That means there are more than 31 million people who are regularly using cannabis…. And admitting on a poll that they regularly use it, so that means there could actually be more.

With our historical data only dating back to 2002 and considering the true market tipping point is in the 15-18% range, then based on trends, it is very likely that the tipping point for regular cannabis users comes in around the year 2020.  At least according to our foggy crystal ball anyway.

Know where we think you can pick up a lot more regular users almost overnight?  The medical industry.  Not THC driven, but CBD driven.  For those users, it is a regimen, not recreation, and they will be your most devoted fans. 

If you are a small business owner, hang in there.  We can’t promise that the world will be easier in 2020, but there may be slightly less of a pushback from other industries about cannabis.  And who knows, that could be the year you plan to sell out to Anheuser-Busch or the big pharma industry. 

Need helping on planning the route to take?  We are good at talking strategy.  Give us a call at (206) 466-4020 or  We can help you find the way, if you can’t wait for the majority to come through.

Jennifer Hudson