Stuart Sankey
Stuart Sankey 21 March 2016

How Do Consumers Discover New Products?

It used to be the case that consumers discovered new products via traditional advertising sources, or paid media as it is sometimes referred to. As recently as 2013 traditional advertising on TV, press, billboards and magazines were still the most common routes to new product discovery for consumers.

However, a report published by Nielsen confirms that this is no longer the case. With media fragmentation, and the growing importance of social media in people’s lives, brands need a rethink.

What Is Now The Most Popular Route To New Product Discovery?

The most popular route to new product discovery is now Friends and Family rather than TV. Consumers across all age ranges are looking to their families and their peers to help them make purchase decisions, and are not as reliant on traditional media as they once were. For example, TV has seen an 11% decline as a source of discovery for new products; it still has a role to play – but the customer journey is not as straightforward as it used to be.

Where Are Consumers Getting Their New Product Information?

Social Media postings (part of what is referred to as ‘Earned Media’) and active internet searching are the two sources of new product information that are growing most significantly.  Consumers are more active in a phase of the customer journey described as pre- shopping. For more about pre-shopping click ‘here’.

Brand Action Plan: What Should FMCG Brands Do?

Earned Media

Brands need to benefit more from Earned Media. According to Nielsen,  they should be “leveraging the growing influence of earned media sources by providing samples to key influencers who can share their product experiences with their network of fans or followers”.

They can do this by delivering product samples via social media, known as ‘Social Sampling’ (see how Soreen malt loaves did this here), and then asking consumers to create reviews and recommendations of their product(s) on third party websites.

As an example, consider the influence the website has on the mother and baby sector, particularly here in the UK. Collecting positive reviews on authority sites like Mumsnet can do wonders for the discoverability of new products relevant for the mother and baby sector.

In Store

If brands are going to get their products picked from the shelf, they should bear in mind that the influence of digital on purchase decisions is growing – and that trade promotions are becoming increasingly ineffective (according to Nielsen).  Again, any social or digital sampling campaigns that you can run through your Earned, Paid or Owned channels should drive awareness, and purchase decisions, before the store.

Quotient Technology (formerly has recently launched Shopmium in the UK, a mobile-first proposition that enables FMCG brands to win on mobile. For more information, contact me at

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