New Products They Like, Flop
The assumption that a consumer focus group can be relied on to accurately predict a proposed new food product’s acceptance may be complicated by a new study which found that roughly one in every eight consumers is actually a "harbinger of failure," whose fondness for a new product is more kiss of death than blessing. The study, conducted by researchers from MIT and Northwestern and published in the Journal of Marketing Research, covered nearly 130,000 retail customers from 2003 to 2009 and concluded that about 13 percent of consumers "systematically purchase new products that prove unsuccessful. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that it will fail." And the more often these failure harbingers purchase an item, the more likely it will prove to be a sales dud.