New Products Set the Pace in HBC/GM
By George Anderson
It’s long been said that new products are the lifeblood of the retail business and 2006 was no exception. A host of innovative, high quality products were rolled out to meet specific consumer needs in health and beauty care (HBC) as well as general merchandise (GM) categories.
According to IRI’s 2006 New Product Pacesetters report, “customized beauty and personal care was a big theme” among items introduced to the market. The categories that saw the most activity in terms of customized solutions were cosmetics, shampoo, hair conditioner, dog food, soap, skin care, hair styling gel/mousse, toothbrushes and related dental items, hand and body lotions and hair spray.
For consumers, enhanced performance and customize solutions went hand-in-hand as is evident when looking at IRI’s top pacesetters for last year. According to IRI, two-thirds of the products that it identified as pacesetters offered “enhanced consumer experiences through new technologies or improved effectiveness.”
Gillette had two items on the list, Fusion and Venus brand products, coming in at number one and number 10.
Other enhanced products making the list were Zantac 150 (quicker acting antacid tablets), Tide with Febreze (removes odors), Tide Coldwater (reduces energy costs) and Huggies Pull-Ups with Wetness Liner (to assist in potty training).
This last item points to an opportunity for retailers. According to the Pacesetters report, “expect to see more innovation around baby and toddler care as the country is in the midst of a new baby boom.”
recommends retailers take a number of actions to more effectively capture new
product opportunities including:
- Establishing a system to identify emerging
- Identifying consumer markets/niches that offer a high potential
- Evaluating if there is a fit between a new product and the consumers
served by a retailer;
- Benchmarking rollouts against historical successes and
- Identifying sourcing opportunities to bring in branded and private
label items not carried in competitors’ stores;
- Determining assortments on
a localized basis;
- Supporting rollout with in-store media;
- Erecting multiple displays and leveraging
sampling to induce trial;
- Measuring performance including the impact on the
rest of the category.
Discussion Questions: What consumer-need opportunities do you see opening up and what does that mean for HBC/GM manufacturers and retailers? What recommendations do you have for retailers looking to leverage the power of new product introductions?