Nielsen-Consumer-Sources-New-Product-Awareness-Jul2015Consumers’ top purchase influencers are also their top sources of new product awareness, according to results from a recent Nielsen report [download page]. The study, based on a survey of 30,000 consumers across 60 countries, found that friends and family (56%) and TV ads (52%) are the leading sources of information about new products for consumers. These are also consumers’ top purchase influencers, according to studies by MarketingCharts and by Deloitte.

Still, the Nielsen survey results indicate that fewer consumers rely on these sources than did 3 years ago, with this particularly the case for TV ads. (It’s worth noting that a 2013 survey from Ipsos found TV ads and word-of-mouth to be the leading sources of new product and brand discovery for US consumers, while the global average placed the internet at the top of the heap, followed by TV ads.)

Nielsen’s latest survey segments the results into earned, paid, and owned media, noting that for the purposes of the study, a new product is defined as any item that the consumer has never purchased in the past. The results indicate that for product awareness:

  • Among earned media, “active internet searching” (44%, up from 39% in 2012) and social media postings (26%, up from 15%) are rising forces;
  • There has been very little positive movement over the years in paid media, with TV ads and print declining as sources of product discovery, while other paid media remain generally flat; and
  • Almost half of the respondents find new products by seeing them in-store, steady from 2012, although fewer than one-third (31%) attribute product discovery to receiving a free sample (down from 56% in 2012).

The report notes that traditional media still are effective sources for introducing youth to new products, demonstrating that TV in particular still have reach among Generation Z (15-20) and Millennials (21-34). This is supported by MarketingCharts research, which similarly found that Millennials in the US attribute significant purchase influence to TV ads, even as they outweigh other generations in their stated response to digital ads.

Indeed, the Nielsen results find youth far more likely to have learned of new products from internet ads and video-sharing websites, while being less likely to have done so through outdoor ads, or direct mail. Meanwhile, radio is another medium that continues to reach Millennials, according to results from both studies. (See here for more on the MarketingCharts study, which analyzes attention to advertisers and purchase influence across a host of channels, segmented by generation, gender and household income.)

In other interesting results from the Nielsen survey:

  • Affordability and convenience are the top drivers behind new product purchases, followed by brand recognition and novelty, with affordability playing a stronger role among older than younger generations;
  • 4 in 10 respondents in Latin America said they wish more products fitting a healthy lifestyle were on the market, though that figure drops to 19% in North America;
  • One-quarter of respondents in North America said that they had bought a new product because it was from a brand they like, and 18% said they had done so because it was from a well-known or popular brand, with brand-name recognition again more important to older consumers;
  • Some 26% of respondents globally said they wish more ecologically friendly products were available on the market and 16% wish more products were committed to positive social impact, though only 10% said they have purchased a new product because it was from a brand that cares about the environment and just 7% due to the brand’s corporate social responsibility; and
  • Although youth – Gen Z (62%) and Millennials (66%) – were the most likely to say they had purchased a new product on their most recent grocery shopping trip, almost half of Baby Boomers (ages 50-64) and one-quarter of respondents from the Silent Generation (65+) said the same.

Overall, while Gen Z (62%) and Millennial (66%) respondents were the most likely to say they had purchased a new product during their last grocery-shopping trip, more than 4 in 10 Baby Boomers (50-64) and one-quarter of respondents from the Silent Generation (65+) agreed.

About the Data: Nielsen describes its methodology in part as follows:

“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. It’s important to note that in the eyes of the consumer, not every product that’s new to them is new to the market. As such, for the purposes of this study, we define a new product as any item a consumer has never purchased in the past.”

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