Consumer panel and industry panelists

A consumer panel is a great tool when developing new products and investigating the acceptance they will have both in the market and among users. In this article we explain what consumer panels are, their applications and the industrial benefits of using panelists.

What is a consumer panel?

A consumer panel is a representative group of people selected to give their opinion on a product. They are called panelists and can be representative members of the general population or of a specific target group.

The objective of the panelists is to provide information related to the testing of products, prototypes, innovative materials, as well as the development of new flavors and textures by encouraging research into consumer behavior, product acceptance and the modifications that need to be applied to improve the product before it is launched on the market. Thus, for example, panelists can be trained to conduct a food tasting and become familiar with the properties of the product and then analyze its sensory characteristics.

A consumer panel can be considered a common data collection technique used as part of market research. Most of these panels are made up of groups of between 10 and 20 people who, on many occasions, gather in a room to discuss their opinion of a product.

The main reason why consumer panels are used instead of taking general representatives to get user feedback is because of the specialized knowledge and opinions they bring to the table. Thus, a consumer panel turns out to be a good sample of the entire population and is made up of people from all demographic groups but the target audience.

Advantages of using a consumer panel

Every industry needs to measure and understand the desires of its consumers, therefore, understanding how users behave will encourage product design development from an interdisciplinary approach.

Checking consumer feedback prior to market launch can help us understand what is missing and what can be done to improve the product, solve strategic design and prototyping problems and identify opportunities for growth in the market.

The main advantages provided by a consumer panel are as follows:

  • Getting immediate feedback from the panel about a design or product.
  • The input of innovative thinking from the panelists by suggesting actionable solutions.
  • The actual testing of a product or prototype before it is released.
  • Gathering relevant information about the product.
  • Understanding consumer behavior in relation to the product.

Types of consumer panels that exist

  • Trend-setting consumer panels

These panels are made up of trendsetters and are therefore early adopters of products and ideas. Industries use these panels to assess how customers will react to or accept a product or service.

  • Generic panels

Researchers choose participants randomly based on product or service usage.

  • Creative consumer panel

The objective of this panel is to assist in product innovation and improvement. These panelists have the skills and knowledge to identify problems and help solve them.

  • Brand-loving panelists

In certain circumstances there are people who join a consumer panel because of the high degree of loyalty they have to a brand.

How to conduct a consumer panel?

To conduct and organize a consumer panel, any industry or research team should follow the following steps:

  1. Define the product to be analyzed with the consumer panel.
  2. Establish the format and the necessary size of panelists.
  3. Recruit and select consumers who represent the target group.
  4. Collect information and analyze the data.
  5. Interpret the results and think about how you can improve on what you learned from the consumer panel.

At Infinitia Research we help you develop your product and analyze its behavior in the market. Contact us and tell us about your case.