The most common way that Belgian consumers find out about new products is by seeing them on store shelves (63%)—far above the global (48%) and European (56%) averages according to Nielsen’s New Product Innovation report.
The importance of the distribution pipeline to new product success cannot be overstated. After all, consumers can’t buy products if they can’t find them. Just getting your product on store shelves isn’t enough, however. You need the right kind of distribution. Incremental distribution is the way to additive, non-cannibalistic growth, which can be achieved by ensuring product placement where core consumers shop. Optimal shelf placement and properly placed displays are other important considerations when developing in-store strategies, particularly in Belgium, where consumers are less likely (35%) than their European counterparts (44%) to have purchased a new product during their last trip to the grocery store.
BRAND COMPETTION IS INTENSE GLOBALLY
Brand competition is intense and shelves are crowded. The vast majority of new product introductions are taken out of distribution before the end of their launch year. “New product failure rates are extremely high, but success is no fluke,” said Johan Sjöstrand, senior vice president and managing director of Nielsen Innovation in Europe. “Success is not simply the result of luck or even genius. Rather, successful product launches are the culmination of organizational focus and commitment to product development, creative marketing, smart leadership and, above all else, an in-depth understanding of what drives consumer preferences.”
WHAT RESONATES WITH CONSUMERS WHEN LAUNCHING A NEW PRODUCT?
Locally, a few new product attributes resonate particularly strong across all age groups. The ability to indulge oneself was ranked as the top reason why Belgian consumers bought a new product (24%), followed by it being tailored to a very specific need (22%), and affordability (19%). When it comes to the types of products Belgian consumers wish were on the market but are not readily available, affordability (42%) topped the list, followed by products that help make a consumer’s life easier (25%).
Sampling is another key driver of awareness and trial. Nearly one third of global respondents (31%) say a free sample is among their top five sources of new product information. However, it’s more commonly cited in North America (44%), Europe (38%) and Latin America (34%) than in Africa/Middle East (30%) and Asia-Pacific (25%). Receiving a free sample ranked higher in importance than the global average in the Belgian market, where 53% of consumers heard about new products via free samples.
“When instituting a sampling program, be creative and look beyond traditional in-store or direct mail approaches,” said Rob Wengel, senior vice president and managing director of Nielsen Innovation in the U.S. “For example, leverage the growing influence of earned media sources by providing samples to key influencers who can share their product experiences with their network of fans or followers. Similarly, encourage repurchase and measure return on investment by giving consumers a unique coupon code with their sample.”
For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global New Product Innovation Report.
The Nielsen Global New Product Innovation Survey was conducted between Feb. 23 - March 13, 2015, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.