Is it a bad thing that 80% of new products fail?

Posted by Ray Poynter, March 2013 In a recent LinkedIn discussion, one contributor suggested that 80% of new product launches fail. This sort of statistic occurs in marketing discussions on a regular basis, with varying definitions of failing and various values being quoted, sometimes as high as 95% sometimes as low as 75%. But I feel that these discussions are often addressing the wrong issue. When they discuss ‘Why is market research concept testing so bad?’ Whenever I hear stats like ‘80% of product launches fail’, I ask myself, what percentage of new launches should fail? I think that we need to move the question away from percentages and ask ‘How many product launches, in absolute terms, could be successful?’ As people like Mark Earls (author of Herd) have shown, we are creatures of habit and we mostly copy behaviour. As an individual most of us are only going to fully adopt a handful of new products each year, and we are more likely to adopt a product if others do. So, I would contend that within any specific market, there is a limit to the absolute number of new products that can be successful. In my 35 years in […]