NPD: bringing excitement

New products

2020 was a relatively slow year in terms of NPD as manufacturers – and retailers – rationalised ranges to focus on the tried and tested big sellers, so will 2021 see NPD back with a bang?


NPD is an interesting phenomenon in local retailing. Over the last decade, launching new products has become a core part of what most brands do, big and small, and both customers and retailers have grown to love the excitement that comes with a new product to try. Historically, of course, the vast majority of NPD fails. The top 20 products in convenience of 20 years ago would look remarkably similar to today’s Top 20, but that doesn’t stop brands persevering in their search for that rare new product, the one that sticks and becomes a core product long into future.

Launching NPD is a costly business for suppliers, often involving expensive new machinery and production processes alongside equally expensive media campaigns – so a product that sticks is worth a dozen that don’t.

For retailers, however, engaging and exciting new products are the lifeblood of the local retailing industry, which is why SLR recently launched its new Product of the Year Awards 2020.

There’s no question that 2020 was a slower year on the NPD front as both suppliers and retailers rationalised their ranges to drive operational efficiencies by devoting their energies to the big sellers – but there was still plenty to get excited about all the same.

All local retailers know the vital role that new products play in helping generate excitement among customers in-store and on social media, as well as driving footfall, sales and profits. Last year, more than ever, retailers were actively seeking out innovative, engaging and attention-grabbing new products – and the big brands didn’t let them down.

From Orange Twirls to Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon, from Au Vodka launches to a raft of new hard seltzers, there’s been enough coming through to allow retailers to generate that passion and excitement among consumers that keeps them coming to the store and checking their Facebook pages.

What will 2021 hold, then? It’s likely to be a slow first quarter although several major suppliers have already announced plans to launch new lines – but there’s a chance that towards the back half of the year we’ll see a glut of NPD as suppliers rejoin the battle for attention and shelf space.


Look out for the winners of the SLR Products of the Year 2020 Awards this month in The Week In Retail! Email mailinglist@55north.com to receive it direct to your inbox.

STG July 2021