Many forms of technology cycle models have been developed and utilized to identify new/convergent technologies and forecast social changes, and among these, the technology hype cycle introduced by Gartner has become established as an effective method that is widely utilized in the field. Despite the popularity of this commonly deployed model, however, the currently existing research literature fails to provide sufficient consideration of its theoretical frame or its empirical verification. This paper presents a new method for the empirical measurement of this hype cycle model. In particular, it presents a method for measuring the hype of the users rather than the hype cycle generated by research activities or by the media by means of analyzing the hype cycle using search traffic analysis. The analytical results derived from the case study of hybrid automobiles empirically demonstrated that following the introductory stage and the early growth stage of the life cycle, the positive hype curve and the negative hype curve, the representative figures of the hype cycle, were present in the bell curve for the users’ search behavior. Based on this finding, this paper proposes a new method for measuring the users’ expectation and suggests a new direction for future research that enables the forecasting of promising technologies and technological opportunities in linkage with the conventional technology life cycle model. In particular, by interpreting the empirical results using the consumer behavior model and the adoption model, this study empirically demonstrates that the characteristics of each user category can be identified through differences in the hype cycle in the process of the diffusion of new technological products discussed in the past.
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