Utilizing Market Research To Validate Product Development

More than 25% of all workplace accidents involve hand and finger injuries costing as much as $16,000. Such injuries include cuts, burns, infections and broken bones, as well as skin problems such as dermatitis or even cancer, which can occur when toxic chemicals in the likes of gasoline, solvents or paints come into contact with the skin. Whatever the nature or cause of the injury, many accidents could be avoided by the use of the correct type of hand protection.

It is undoubtedly challenging to create a protective glove that suits the broad range of applications and hazards in the multitude of industries across the world, as well as that fits every size and shape of hand.

One company that understands the market for hand protection well is Ansell Healthcare, the world’s largest manufacturer of protective gloves and clothing. With over 1,200 different glove styles in its online catalog, it is clear that Ansell has a wealth of expertise in the PPE industry. In spite of its impressive portfolio, Ansell is constantly investigating not only new product development opportunities, but also how its existing products can be improved.

Indeed 90% of market research on new products is focused on product additions and modifications rather than on new product concepts. Product improvements are obvious developments and are much more easily accepted than conceptually new products.

Within its product offering is the Ansell HyFlex® range. These are premium, precision handling gloves which are ergonomically designed to provide a balance of comfort, protection and dexterity. Included in this brand category is Ansell’s most successful glove product worldwide: the HyFlex® 11-800 glove, which is ten years old and was the first product manufactured under the Ansell brand.

Recognizing that every product has a life cycle, Ansell invested in research and development to improve its HyFlex® 11-800 glove offering. In doing so, it created an advanced version of this glove, the new HyFlex® 11-830 glove, which it then tested through independent market research involving placement tests.

Leading business-to-business market research specialists B2B International designed and conducted the research program. The test gloves were trialed by large companies in the manufacturing, metal fabrication and automotive industries among both Ansell glove wearers as well as wearers of competing products. The wearers were asked to rate their current gloves and the test gloves on eighteen glove features, including fit, comfort, durability, flexibility, tactility, grip, and more. The test glove outperformed current gloves on all eighteen features examined. Furthermore, Health & Safety Managers and Purchasing Managers in the study rated the test glove with a very high overall satisfaction score of 9 out of 10.

B2B International’s Research Manager, Julia Cupman, commented, “It is extremely rare to obtain consistently outstanding feedback in product development research. What’s more, our research has shown that quality is the key driver in the choice of glove, followed by price, thus indicating that in spite of price consciousness in the current economic environment, the quality of health and safety protection is not compromised. The superior quality of the HyFlex 11-830 test glove was confirmed in this study and the research will lead to a high return on investment.”

The HyFlex® 11-830 glove will be available to purchase in the USA after April 2010.

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