Photo - Richard Hall, MD, Nielsen Malaysia.
One quarter (25 percent) of online Malaysian consumers believe they are fast adopters of new products, which is behind the Asia Pacific (38 percent) and global (34 percent) average, according to the latest Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment.
Nielsen Malaysia managing director Richard Hall said nearly two-thirds will wait for new products to be proven before purchasing. "When it comes to priority in brands, 65 percent of online Malaysian consumers prefer to buy new products from a familiar brand, higher than the Asia Pacific's average of 55 percent and surpassing the percentage of respondents (55 percent) who are generally willing to switch to a new brand."
"As much as consumers generally like to see new products produced and welcome innovation for a change, when it comes to firsthand buying behaviour, consumers often have their reservations on what could happen to the product and its after sales services in the short and mid-term," said Hall.
"Although the confidence towards familiar, established and trusted brands does help to ignite the excitement when a brand launches an innovative product, the wait and see attitude adopted by Malaysians is still very much the norm when it comes to actual purchase and usage," he said. "Importantly, the price to value equation remains a key factor in new product success, as does users' positive personal experience on distinctive demand-driven elements displayed by products at the right place and right time, inclusive of word-of-mouth endorsement."
Hall added that the Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment, which surveyed more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries, showed that proof-of-concept heavily influenced consumers' purchasing decisions related to innovation.
"Nielsen's survey reveals that almost half (49 percent) of Malaysian consumers are likely to tell others about the products they have purchased compared to 64 percent in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.
Established in 2005, the Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment was conducted between 10 August and 7 September 2012, and polled more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6 percent.
The importance of 'word-of-mouth' and traditional adverts
Hall said Nielsen's review of 21 methods to reach consumers across various media and advertising platforms, ranging from traditional advertising to word-of-mouth communication and from Internet communications to mobile, showed that traditional advertising and word-of-mouth communications are still the most persuasive ways driving awareness of new products or innovative executions in Malaysia.
"Sixty-nine (69) percent of online Malaysian consumers who use free samples are likely to purchase the new product," he said. "This is followed closely by two other most persuasive awareness drivers under the category of word-of-mouth communications. Listening to advice from family and friends (69 percent) as well as professionals and experts (67 percent) are among the top three methods. Seeing products in stores (67 percent) and in TV ads (56 percent) remain influential while active Internet searching (56 percent) are seen to be as persuasive as TV ads."
"While conventional marketing vehicles such as in-store presence and TV advertising continue to be the largest drivers of awareness, consumers are increasingly looking to the Internet for information when making purchasing decisions," said Hall. "The influence of the Internet on new product purchase decisions is significant across a wide variety of product categories, considering the results are based on online respondents. Overall, online consumers surveyed indicated that the Internet is very or somewhat important when making a new product purchase decision for electronics (82 percent), books (78 percent), food and beverage (78 percent), and car or auto (76 percent) categories."
"Influencing demand can be a challenge for manufacturers who are marketing a compelling new product," he said. "Targeting the unmet needs and combining benefits from often-unrelated categories to create a new value proposition with distinctive solutions, while making benefits more affordable and accessible to a broader market, would be some key approaches to surmount these challenges. Developing a market-ready offer by leveraging on existing brand platforms can also convert a market opportunity into a winning demand-driven new product."
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