Product Management

15 Reasons Why New Products Fail (And How to Avoid It)

95% of new products fail. Discover 15 crucial factors that can make or break your launch, from market research to pricing. Real-world examples + actionable tips inside!
Ayush Jangra
Ayush Jangra
Updated on
Learn 15 reasons why new products fail and get tips to avoid these issues and launch successfully.

Launching a new product is exciting, but it also comes with risks. Many new products don't succeed in the market, with some studies showing that 95% of them fail each year.

Why do so many products not succeed? In this guide, we'll discuss 15 common reasons for product failure and give you practical advice on how to avoid these problems. By learning about the causes of failure and using proven methods, you can improve your chances of launching a successful product that appeals to your target audience.

15 Reasons Why New Products Fail

With up to 95 percent of all new products introduced each year failing, it's crucial to understand the reasons behind product failure and take steps to mitigate these risks. Here are 16 common reasons why new products fail:

  1. Inadequate Market Research

  2. Launching too early or too late

  3. Not solving the right problems

  4. An Oversaturated Market

  5. Lack of Product-Market Fit

  6. Pricing your Product Wrong

  7. Underestimating the Competition

  8. Ignoring Customer Feedback

  9. Ineffective marketing and sales

  10. Poor User Experience (UX)

  11. Failing to Differentiate from Competitors

  12. Failure to Iterate Post-Launch

  13. Inadequate Distribution Channels

  14. Poor Customer Onboarding

  15. External Market Factors

1. Inadequate Market Research

Launching a product without understanding the target market, customer needs, and competition is likely to fail. Poor market research can result in the wrong product features and go-to-market plans. If you don't know your target customers and what they need, your product probably won't succeed. Research shows that 35% of products fail because there is no market need or the need is already being met by other solutions.


Crystal Pepsi, a clear cola introduced in the early 1990s, failed in part due to insufficient market research. While initial taste tests were positive, deeper research would have revealed that consumers were confused by the concept and didn't see a clear reason to switch from regular colas.

Tips to avoid inadequate market research

  • Invest time and resources into rigorous market research before and during product development

  • Use a mix of qualitative methods (e.g. interviews, focus groups) and quantitative methods (e.g. surveys, market sizing) to gain a comprehensive understanding of the market

  • Don't rely on assumptions - validate them with data

2. Launching too early or too late

Timing is everything when it comes to product launches. Releasing a product too early, before it's fully developed or tested, can result in a poor user experience and damage your brand reputation. On the other hand, launching too late can mean missing out on market opportunities and allowing competitors to gain a foothold.


The Coolest Cooler, a high-tech cooler with built-in features like a blender and Bluetooth speaker, faced significant delays in production and delivery. By the time it reached customers, many had lost interest or found alternatives.

Tips for timing your product launch

To time your product launch effectively:

  • Establish a clear product roadmap and set realistic timelines for development and launch

  • Continuously monitor market trends and competitor activities to identify the optimal launch window

  • Be prepared to adapt your plans if necessary based on changing market conditions or customer needs

  • Consider using a phased launch approach, starting with a soft launch or beta test to gather initial feedback before a full-scale release

3. Not solving the right problems

Another frequent cause of product failure is focusing on the wrong problems. Companies may invest significant resources into developing features or functionalities that don't align with their customer's most pressing needs or pain points. As a result, the product fails to provide meaningful value and struggles to attract users.


Google Wave, a collaboration tool launched in 2009, failed because it tried to solve too many problems at once. Its complex interface and unclear purpose left users confused and disengaged.

Tips for solving the right problems

Focus on understanding your target customers' most critical needs and challenges through user research and feedback.

Prioritize customer feedback and user research to identify the most critical problems your target audience faces. Focus on solving these core issues first, rather than getting distracted by less essential features.

4. An Oversaturated Market

Launching a product in a crowded market can be incredibly challenging. If there are already well-established competitors dominating the space, a new product may struggle to gain traction and secure a foothold.


The smartphone market is a prime example of an oversaturated space. Many new entrants, such as the Amazon Fire Phone and the Essential Phone, failed to capture significant market share despite offering unique features. The dominance of established players like Apple and Samsung made it difficult for these newcomers to gain a foothold, as consumers were already heavily invested in existing ecosystems and brand loyalties.

Tips for differentiating your product in a crowded market

To differentiate your product in a crowded market:

  • Conduct a thorough competitor analysis to understand the market landscape

  • Identify gaps and opportunities to set your product apart

  • Use secondary research and primary methods like brand awareness surveys to determine how to position your product as unique

  • Focus on developing features, benefits, or positioning that provides a compelling reason for customers to choose your offering over competitors

5. Lack of Product-Market Fit

One of the most common reasons for product failure is a lack of product-market fit. This occurs when a product fails to address a real need or solve a meaningful problem for its target audience. Without a strong product-market fit, even the most well-designed and marketed products will struggle to gain adoption.


One real-life example of a lack of product-market fit is the Google+ social networking platform. Launched in 2011, Google+ was intended to be a competitor to platforms like Facebook. However, despite Google's vast resources and user base, Google+ failed to gain significant traction and struggled to attract and retain active users.

Several factors contributed to Google+'s lack of product-market fit. Firstly, Google+ was introduced as a closed, invitation-only platform, which limited its initial reach and prevented organic growth. Additionally, Google+ faced challenges in differentiating itself from existing social media platforms. Users struggled to see the unique value proposition of Google+ compared to Facebook or Twitter.

Tips for ensuring product-market fit

To establish product-market fit:

  • Validate your assumptions through customer interviews, surveys, and market research before investing heavily in development

  • Conduct thorough market research to validate your product idea and ensure there is real demand for your solution

  • Engage with potential customers early on to gather feedback

  • Iterate based on customer needs and preferences

6. Pricing your Product Wrong

One of the biggest mistakes companies make, with potentially disastrous consequences, is pricing their product incorrectly. According to the Harvard Business Review, pricing is one of the top reasons new products fail. Even if your product itself is innovative and well-designed, if it's not priced right for the target market, it likely won't gain traction and could even lead to the demise of the product.


Take the Google Glass, for instance. This wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display was touted as a game-changer in the tech industry. However, it was priced at a staggering $1,500. Google Glass's high price tag contributed significantly to its failure, as it became inaccessible and unappealing to the majority of potential customers.

Tips for getting your pricing strategy right

To get your pricing strategy right:

  • Conduct market research to understand your target customers' willingness to pay

  • Analyze competitor pricing to see how your product compares

  • Consider using pricing strategies like:

    • Value-based pricing: Align your product's cost with its perceived value

    • Tiered pricing: Offer different pricing tiers based on features or usage levels

  • Continuously monitor and adjust your pricing based on market feedback and performance

7. Underestimating the Competition

Entering a market with established, well-funded competitors is always a risk. Underestimating their strengths, market share, and ability to respond to new threats can be fatal. Many startups fail because they don't take the time to thoroughly assess the competitive landscape and develop a plan to differentiate themselves.


The Google+ social network struggled to compete with Facebook despite Google's vast resources and user base. Google underestimated Facebook's network effects and first-mover advantage, and Google+ never gained the traction needed to be a serious rival.

Tips to avoid underestimating the competition

To avoid underestimating the competition:

  • Conduct a thorough competitive analysis to understand the landscape you're entering

  • Look for untapped niches or unique angles to differentiate your product

  • Be realistic about your ability to out-compete larger, more established players

  • Consider strategies like partnering or focusing on a specific vertical to gain a foothold

8. Ignoring Customer Feedback

Failing to listen to and act on customer feedback can be a death knell for new products. If companies don't take the time to understand their users' experiences and incorporate their insights, they risk developing products that don't meet customer needs or expectations.


Kodak, once a leader in the photography industry, failed to adapt to the digital revolution despite early warnings from customers and employees. By ignoring this feedback, the company missed out on crucial opportunities to innovate and stay relevant.

Tips to avoid ignoring customer feedback:

  • Establish clear channels for gathering and analyzing customer feedback, such as surveys, user testing, feedback portals, and social media monitoring.

  • Foster a culture of customer-centricity, where customer insights are valued and acted upon across the organization.

  • Regularly review and prioritize customer feedback to inform product roadmaps and development decisions.

9. Ineffective marketing and sales

Even the best products can fail if they're not effectively marketed and sold to the right audience. Poor messaging, targeting, or sales strategies can limit a product's reach and hinder its success. Investing in a strong go-to-market strategy is crucial for ensuring your product reaches its intended audience and generates sales.


The Microsoft Zune suffered from marketing that failed to differentiate it from the iPod or give consumers a reason to switch. The product and marketing teams were not in sync, resulting in muddled messaging.

Tips to avoid ineffective marketing and sales:

  • Develop a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy that communicates your product's value proposition and targets the right customer segments.

  • Leverage multiple channels, such as content marketing, social media, and influencer partnerships, to build awareness and drive adoption.

  • Ensure alignment between product development and marketing teams to create consistent messaging and positioning.

  • Continuously measure and optimize marketing and sales performance based on key metrics like lead generation, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs.

10. Poor User Experience (UX)

A subpar user experience can be a major barrier to product adoption and success. If users find a product confusing, frustrating, or inefficient to use, they may quickly abandon it in search of better alternatives.


Microsoft's Zune, an MP3 player, was launched in 2006 to compete with Apple's iPod, which was dominating the market at the time. However, Zune's clunky product design, limited features, and lack of intuitive user interface led to its failure. Consumers found it difficult to navigate the device, and it simply couldn't match the sleek design and user-friendly experience that Apple's iPod offered. As a result, Zune was unable to gain a significant market share and was eventually discontinued in 2011.

Tips for creating a user-friendly experience

  • Conduct user research, create user personas, and develop user journey maps to gain insights into how users interact with your product.

  • Use this information to guide your UX design decisions and create intuitive, streamlined interfaces that minimize friction and maximize user satisfaction.

  • Prioritize UX design throughout the product development process.

  • Conduct user testing and gather feedback to identify pain points and areas for improvement.

  • Focus on creating intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable user experiences that align with your target audience's needs and expectations.

11. Failing to Differentiate from Competitors

In crowded markets, products that fail to differentiate themselves from competitors can struggle to gain traction. If customers perceive a product as too similar to existing offerings, they may have little incentive to switch or try something new.


The Blackberry Playbook tablet failed to compete with the iPad and other Android tablets due to its lack of differentiation in terms of features, app ecosystem, and user experience.

Tips for Differentiating Your Product from Competitors

Conduct a thorough competitive analysis to identify gaps and opportunities in the market. Focus on developing unique features, benefits, or positioning that sets your product apart from rivals and provides a compelling reason for customers to choose your offering.

12. Failure to Iterate Post-Launch

Launching a product is just the beginning. Successful products continue to evolve and improve based on market feedback and changing customer needs. Failing to iterate post-launch is a missed opportunity. Many companies treat their product launch as the finish line, rather than the starting point of an ongoing process of learning and refinement.


The Segway personal transporter was hyped as a revolutionary product that would change cities. However, the company was slow to iterate on the design and find new use cases based on early customer feedback, and the product remained a niche curiosity.

Tips for iterating and improving your product after launch

  • Treat your product launch as a starting point, not the finish line

  • Have a plan in place for collecting and acting on post-launch customer feedback

  • Regularly review customer feedback, usage data, and market trends to identify areas for improvement

  • Prioritize updates and enhancements based on their potential impact and alignment with your product vision

  • Communicate updates and improvements to your customers to demonstrate your commitment to their success

13. Inadequate Distribution Channels

Even the most innovative products can fail if they don't reach their intended audience. Inadequate or misaligned distribution channels can limit a product's availability and visibility, hindering its success.


The Amazon Fire Phone failed partly due to its exclusive distribution through AT&T. This limited availability made it difficult for the phone to gain widespread adoption.

Tips for ensuring effective distribution

Develop a distribution strategy that aligns with your target customer's preferences and behaviors. Consider partnering with established retailers or distributors to expand your reach. Evaluate both online and offline channels to maximize accessibility.

14. Poor Customer Onboarding

A product's initial user experience is critical for engagement and retention. If the onboarding process is confusing, overwhelming, or doesn't quickly demonstrate value, users are likely to abandon the product.


Many enterprise software products suffer from complex, lengthy onboarding processes that require extensive training and support. This poor initial experience can lead to low adoption and high churn rates.

Tips for creating a smooth and effective onboarding experience

  • Invest in designing an onboarding process that is simple, intuitive, and focused on delivering quick wins for the user

  • Use progressive disclosure to avoid overwhelming new users with too many features at once

  • Continuously test and optimize the onboarding flow based on user feedback and behavioral data

15. External Market Factors

Finally, external market factors beyond a company's control can sometimes contribute to product failure. Economic downturns, shifts in consumer behavior, or disruptive technologies can all impact a product's chances of success, even if it's well-designed and marketed.


The Segway PT, while initially hyped as a revolutionary transportation device, failed to achieve widespread adoption due to a combination of factors, including high costs, regulatory hurdles, and limited practical applications.

Tips for navigating external market factors

While external factors can be difficult to predict or control, companies can take steps to mitigate their impact:

  • Regularly monitor market trends and consumer behavior to identify potential threats or opportunities

  • Build flexibility and adaptability into your product strategy to allow for pivots or course corrections if needed

  • Consider diversifying your product portfolio or target markets to spread risk and increase resilience


While there's no guaranteed formula for success, understanding and addressing these common pitfalls can significantly improve your odds of launching a product that resonates with customers and achieves long-term viability.

By investing in thorough market research, prioritizing customer feedback, and remaining agile in the face of changing market conditions, you can position your product for success from the start. It's also crucial to have a clear vision for your product, a well-defined target audience, and a differentiated value proposition that sets you apart from competitors.

Remember, launching a successful product is an iterative process that requires continuous learning, adaptation, and improvement. By staying attuned to your customers' evolving needs and preferences, and being willing to pivot when necessary, you can navigate the challenges of new product development and build something that truly delivers value to your users.


What is the most common reason for new product failure?

One of the most common reasons for new product failure is a lack of product-market fit. This occurs when a product fails to address a real need or solve a meaningful problem for its target audience.

Can a product fail because of too much innovation?

Yes, a product can fail due to too much innovation, especially if it's too complex, difficult to understand or use, or ahead of its time. Customers must be ready and willing to adopt new technology, making timing and audience familiarity key factors.

What role does strong competition play in product failures?

Strong competition can make it challenging for new products to capture market share. Established competitors with brand recognition, loyal customer bases, and established distribution channels can overshadow new product launches, impacting their success.

What role does product differentiation play in market success?

Product differentiation helps a product stand out in a crowded market by highlighting unique features or benefits. Without differentiation, products may be lost among competitors, leading to failure.

How can a company differentiate its product in a crowded market?

To differentiate a product in a crowded market, companies should conduct thorough competitive analysis to identify gaps and opportunities, develop unique features and benefits that set their product apart, and create compelling positioning that resonates with target customers.

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