By Daniel Hunter

When it comes to new product launches, UK consumers (with internet access) are more willing to consider switching to a new brand (59%) than consumers globally (50%), according to a new study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

The Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment — which surveyed more than 29,000 internet respondents in 58 countries — shows that over half (52%) of UK consumers say they won’t purchase an innovative new product until it has proven itself. Britons are less cautious about needing this proof-of-concept than consumers globally (60%) and across Europe (58%). Forty percent of Britons say they prefer to buy from a UK brand rather than a large global one.

“Innovating on established brands that are already trusted by consumers can be a powerful strategy,” said Johan Sjöstrand, European managing director of Nielsen BASES, which helps clients grow through innovation. “Companies spend millions on new product innovation, yet two-thirds of them won’t survive beyond three years.”

According to Nielsen’s survey, 59 percent of UK respondents say they would consider ‘value’ or ‘store-brand’ options - fewer than across both Europe (66%) and globally (64%). Furthermore, 40 percent of Britons report that challenging economic conditions make them less likely to try a new product and only 25 percent are willing to pay a premium price, whereas 29 percent of Europeans and 39 percent of consumers globally are willing to do so.

“Consumers are willing to adopt new product and brand innovations provided there is a strongly perceived value proposition. Without this, any product innovation will face an uphill challenge to stay on the shelf, especially given the tough economic climate” said Sjöstrand. “In order for consumers to adopt new brands, marketers need to launch very strong awareness and trial-building campaigns, supported by a positive product experience.”

TV ads are the single most important source of information on new products, cited by one quarter (25%) of UK respondents, followed by free samples (21%), internet searching (19%), friends/family (16%) and in-store information (12%). However, across Europe as a whole, TV ads (29%) and free samples (24%) are a little more likely to be the single most important source of information, whilst internet searching (12%), friends/family (12%) and in-store (9%) are a little less likely to be respondents’ main source.

Nielsen’s review of 21 different ways that consumers learn about new products shows that friends/family have the greatest impact on potential purchasing: 68 percent of UK respondents say this way would make them more likely to buy a new product, compared to 77 percent of respondents globally. Two-thirds (66%) said seeing it in a shop would make them more likely to buy, followed by getting a free sample (59%), internet searching (53%) and TV ads (49%). TV ads are much more influential globally (cited by 59% of respondents).

The internet has the greatest influence on purchases of new electronics products — 70 percent of UK respondents say it is very or somewhat important when deciding to buy a new electronics product. Almost two-thirds (64%) cite the influence of the internet for new appliance products, followed by books (60%), music (55%) and cars/automotive (51%). The internet has more influence in Europe and globally across all these new product types than it does amongst UK consumers — particularly with music and automotive purchases.

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