“There is not a clear recipe for success,” said Rob Wengel, senior vice president of the Nielsen Innovation Practice. “Consumers are the judge of what’s an innovation and what’s not.”
In fact, only about 15 percent of new consumer products are successful enough to stick around for two years, Wengel said, referring to products in consumer categories such as food, beverages, household and personal products and pet food.
Of 3,463 products launched in 2012, only 14 – or less than 0.5 percent -- met Nielsen’s criteria for distinctiveness, relevance and endurance. Criteria include generating a minimum of $50 million in U.S. sales in the first year and hitting at least 90 percent of the first year’s sales level in the second year.
Breakthrough products often come with higher prices, which help lift revenue for manufacturers and retailers. Two-thirds of the 2014 winners were commanded premium prices, according to Nielsen. The products likely found and filled a consumer need in a way that topped products already out in the market, the firm said. Successful products also often had big launch campaigns including sampling and in-store marketing to help people find the new items.
“Breakthrough Leaders are looking at the same consumers and the same markets, but the way they look enables them to see things that others miss,” Nielsen said in its report.
This is the third time Nielsen has issued a list of Breakthrough Innovation products. Many of the companies on this year’s list are repeat winners. Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest household products maker, leads the pack with nine winners, including three in this year’s list.