Eye-Tracking Sees Growth in Hyper-Competitive Market


In the process of priming Febreze Sport’s launch, Procter &  Gamble tested the product to see if it caught consumers’ eyes—literally.

In that case, P&G was using technology from a firm called Tobii that tracks the eye movements as it responds to virtual shopping environments. The product and its simulated store shelves weren’t real, but the test subjects’ reaction to it was.

Last week, P&G named Tobii as one of its “preferred partners.” The two had been working together since 2005, but the new deal takes things one step further: Tobii, the largest company in the eye-tracking virtual market research space, can now test new products and solutions on P&G’s brands. P&G, in turn, can roll out new packaging and designs much quicker while ensuring these changes pop out on shelves.

P&G, which declined to provide further details on the partnership citing that it was still in its “very early stages,” said the move stemmed from a need to reduce “speed time to market and to incorporate consumer feedback more efficiently through the design process, enabling our brands to deliver a product and shopping experience that delights [consumers],” wrote rep Julie Desylva in an e-mail. “With virtualization, design iterations can be reduced from weeks to days.”

Eye tracking has been used for some time now. (One of the earliest examples dates back to French ophthalmologist Louis Émile Javal’s observations of the human eye while reading in the 19th century.) But the last two years have seen a surge in the latter’s application, particularly among the consumer-goods industry. Unilever, Kimberly-Clark, ConAgra, Heinz and Kellogg, for instance, all use it.Unknown Object

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