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Word of Mouth can be the Best New Product Communications Tool in Taiwan

A new Nielsen Global Survey on new product innovation finds consumers in developing markets to be the most inclined to try new products. More than half of respondents in Asia-Pacific (69%), Africa/Middle East (57%) and Latin America (56%) say they purchased a new product during their last grocery shopping trip, compared to 44% of European and 31% of North American respondents. Though lower than the Asia Pacific total average, the percentage of trying new products for Taiwan consumers is relatively high with its 55 percent comparing to Asia Pacific developed markets.

What are the most important reasons to attract Taiwan consumers to purchase a new product? Products that are there “to meet specific needs” — more than a third (36%) of Taiwanese respondents recall that the last time they purchased a new product was because the product addressed “a specific need” was addressed in a product, displaying hopes for new products to hit the market. Nearly one-third (32%) of respondents would like future new products “to meet specific needs.”

Prices and convenience remain the key values for Taiwanese consumers upon looking to buy new products, and are considered the top two aspects of new products. 23% of respondents recall that the reason behind their last purchase of a product was because “compared to the daily living products, the prices of the new products are much cheaper”; moreover, more than 50% respondents express hopes for cheaper prices for new products in the near future.

“Convenience” (20%) and “Making life simpler” (18%) are cited as the main reasons for the latest purchases of Taiwanese consumers. 42% of respondents hope to have more “products that make daily life activities simpler,” placing Taiwan only behind Turkey (48%) and Brazil (46%) in respect to the world. Approximately 35% of respondents hope to have more convenient products, which ties both Taiwan with Vietnam for the 10th place in the world in terms of valuing convenience.

Additionally, “new products” (29%) – or for the sake of novelty – remains the second biggest reason for Taiwanese consumers to purchase new products.

The most commonly used source to learn about new products for Taiwanese consumers is reliance on friends and family, cited by 60% of Taiwan respondents, followed by seeing it in a store (47%), using active internet search (45%), viewing TV ads (52%) and browsing internet forum/message boards, as well as receiving a free sample (both 31%). In fact, Internet-related platforms are half of the top ten sources cited for new product discoveries: in addition to active internet searching and internet forum/message board browsing, social media posting, internet ads (26%), and articles/ contents on frequently visited news or lifestyle websites (all 27%) are the other three sources—these are all other top sources cited, and the percentages are more than newspaper/magazines (25%) and professional/expert’s words (23%).

While the top list of sources combines a mix of paid, owned and earned media options, reliance on social media showed the largest potential. However, traditional marketing platforms, such as distribution (see in the store) and free sampling remain critical for new product communications in Taiwan.

Over half Taiwan consumers would try new products; however, two-third of them would still wait until a new innovation has proven itself before purchasing. “This means new products are required to convince consumers that ‘they are new’ and also to provide ‘reasons to buy’. However, new trials are just the very first step. In order to continue the sales performance of new products, fitting specific needs for consumers with convenience in affordable prices, and communicating to the consumers via mass media together with some targeting digital media are needed,” said Seren Su, the senior director of Consumer Insights, Nielsen Taiwan.

Brand competition is intense, and shelves are crowded. The vast majority of new product introductions are brought to distributions before the end of their launch year. Indeed, less than 10 percent of new products among 25,000 new items in 2014 in Taiwan remained its good sales performance in three months afterwards, according to Nielsen Retail Measurement Services.

“New product failure rates are extremely high, but the success is no fluke,” said Su. “Success is not simply the result of luck or even genius. Rather, successful product launches are the culmination of organizational focus and commitments to product developments, creative marketing; smart leadership and, above all else, an in-depth understanding of what drives consumer preferences.”

As for the globe, the most commonly used source to learn about new products is reliance on friends and family, cited by 56% of global respondents, followed by viewing TV ads (52%), seeing it in a store (48%), and using active internet search (44%).
Affordability (23%), convenience (22%), brand recognition (21%) and novelty (20%) are top reasons for purchases. When it comes to the types of products consumers wish were on the market but are not readily available, affordability (43%) and convenience (27%) again top the list, and are followed by health and wellness (28%) before environmentally friendly (26%) attributes.

The study found that nine of the 11 markets with the highest percentage of early adopters (based on new product purchase sentiments) are developing countries: Brazil (39%), Peru (30%), Israel (30%), Colombia (28%), India (28%), Latvia (28%), South Africa (28%), Bulgaria (27%), Serbia (27%), Croatia (26%) and Romania (26%).

“Developing countries can be attractive markets for new product expansion efforts due to their younger demographic composition, rising middle class population, and strong appetite for ‘affordable luxuries,’” said Rob Wengel, senior vice president and managing director of Nielsen Innovation in the U.S. “But developing-market consumer needs, standards and expectations can vary dramatically from those in more mature markets, and finding the right mix takes a market-by-market approach.”

The Nielsen Global New Product Innovation Survey polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to understand consumer attitudes and sentiments about the drivers behind new product purchase intent. For the purposes of this study, we define a new product as any item a consumer has never purchased in the past. The study uncovers the reasons for making a new product purchase, identifies the types of products consumers want but can’t find, and details the sources consumers use to learn about them.

Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit