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What Should You Know When Introducing A Product To Europe

Stefan Stremersch, a visiting associate professor of marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, has been working to demystify the takeoff of new products around the world.

In his latest paper The International Takeoff of New Products: The Role of Economics, Culture and Country Innovativeness, one of the most striking results, is the dramatic time-to-takeoff difference between geographic regions of Europe.

  • Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland) have the shortest time-to-takeoff at 4 years.
  • This number is almost half that for Mediterranean countries (France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), which have a mean time-to-takeoff of 7.4 years.
  • The time for the rest of Europe (UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland) is in the middle, at 6 years.
  • What’s more, time-to-takeoff varies substantially across countries and categories. It is four times shorter for entertainment products than for kitchen and laundry appliances. It is almost half as long in Scandinavian countries as in Mediterranean countries.

Many of the differences related to product takeoff, says Stremersch, can best be explained by culture as opposed to economics. Takeoff is slower in Greece, for instance, because culturally the most innovative people of Greece are much less innovative than the most innovative people in the Netherlands.

Segmenting international markets is clearly important therefore to achieving take-off sales.

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