In a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, researchers identified particular kinds of consumers whose preferences can predict products that will flop, calling those folks "harbingers of failure."
"Certain customers systematically purchase new products that prove unsuccessful," wrote the study authors. "Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail."
The researchers looked at retail purchases made by about 130,000 consumers at a national convenience store chain. Exactly 13 per cent of them had buying habits that predicted failure of a new product – or one that didn't surviving more than three years.
Apparently these 13 per cent found that half or more of the products they bought were doomed to die before they had a chance to make it big.
These people were the early adopters of Zune, betamax, and are probably writing cheques for the iWatch as we speak.
The researchers said that the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed.
It is not because these 13 per cent are particularly dumb. It is just that they are consistently buying things that other customers won't, for whatever reason.
This means that researchers looking at market buying should not look so much at the numbers, but really who is buying their products.
If only the 13 per cent are buying then you are doomed.