Marketing and Merchandising: What makes a new product a top seller?

new product sticker over peanut butter background

Consumers have an appetite for new products, demanding and expecting more choices in the aisles, and praising companies that embrace innovation. Nielsen’s research finds that more than half of respondents (57%) say they purchased a new product during their last grocery-shopping trip. However, companies looking to introduce new products may face a stark reality: the battle for “share of shelf”, shrinking budgets and fragmented retail channels – compounded with the rate of new product failures.

So, why do consumers opt for one product and not another? Are there attributes and selling features that will make a new product a standout over others? Below, we look at the top purchase drivers and desires from the study, exploring the “why” behind the buy:

Dollars and cents - In North America, affordability was ranked as the second highest reason why consumers purchased a new product (just behind novelty). With the climb in grocery prices and the declining dollar, many Canadians are keeping a close eye on their carts – and their grocery bills. Tight budgets may discourage consumers from trying new products (four in 10 agree globally), opting instead for the tried and true. Shelled USA-grown peanuts are considered Canada’s best and healthiest snack food from a value standpoint, whether measured on a pound-for-pound or nutritional basis. As the quickest growing segment in the snack nut category (+14% on dollars), they also saw lower inflation (4%) than all other nut types. Product development teams may consider looking at low-cost, high-value ingredients with mass appetite appeal (like peanuts) for their next new product.

Convenience is king – Busy consumers may find that convenience outweighs price, favouring seconds over cents. Twenty one percent of North Americans say they wish there were more products that made life easier, and another 23% crave convenient-to-use items. “All in one” products are trending across many aisles, from laundry detergent-stain remover combinations to seasoning and sauce mixtures. New formats of familiar products – like Reese peanut butter and cracker dippers – are a means to get on-the-go consumers to continue their product love affair on their own terms.

Healthy fits - Globally, almost one-third (29%) say they wish more nutritional products were on the market, and all-natural ingredients are something they are keen to try in new products. It’s no doubt why national and private label peanut butter brands have expanded their product lines to include organic or all-natural offerings to satisfy this craving.

By coupling trends – like convenience and nutrition-savvy – manufacturers may have a winning combination to win consumers’ hearts and wallets.


Sources: Nielsen's Global New Product Innovation Survey, Nielsen Canada's 2015 Nut and Peanut Butter Reports