Consumers Consider Innovation in Purchasing Process

CHICAGO — When it comes to buying decisions, consumers favor innovation and are willing to pay a premium for it.

According to the new Lab42 Innovation Survey, 84 percent of consumers said it is somewhat or very important that the company they buy from is innovative.

In addition, innovation is seen as vital in driving purchasing and enhancing the customer’s self-image. Slightly more than half of respondents said they have bought a product without fully understanding what it did or how it worked because they felt or heard it was "cool." Furthermore, 34 percent agree they like owning products that make them look innovative to others.

Lab42, a market research company, also found that nearly two-thirds of respondents have purchased a "first-generation" product at least once. 

Although consumers have a willingness to buy new products, they don’t necessarily want to be guinea pigs for the products. Twenty-one percent of respondents buy new products as soon as they come out, compared to 63 percent who prefer to buy them once they have been out for a while.

The survey revealed demographic differences in those consumers who want to be early adopters. Notably, of the consumers who purchase products as soon as they come out, 65 percent are men. Of the consumers who are more likely to purchase a product once it has been out for a long time, 59 percent are women.

The allure of innovation also appears to wear off somewhat with age. According the survey results, only 6 percent of older people (aged 55-plus) buy first-generation products. However, nearly half of 35- to 54-year-olds buy new products as soon as they come out, compared to 45 percent of millennials.

While customers weigh innovation most heavily when it comes to electronics and the automotive industry, 67 percent of consumers will pay a premium for grocery store items they consider to be innovative.  

Even in "dull" categories such as insurance and gas, the data shows an innovation premium uplift, with 54 percent and 52 percent willing to pay more respectively.

According to Lab42, inventing, reinventing and listening to the customer are factors in making a company innovative. More than two-thirds of those who took part in the survey said they believe companies are more innovative than they were five years ago.  

Research is also seen as making important contributions to innovation, with 69 percent of respondents agreeing it is needed to create innovative products.

The Lab42 Innovation Survey is based on 1,000 interviews conducted online April 5-9. 

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