Best in Consumer Insights: the Swiffer
In developing their breakthrough new product, the Swiffer, Proctor & Gamble and their design team did ethnographic research that observed consumers doing something they truly disliked, which was cleaning their floors.
The surface insight that wet mopping a floor was drudgery was obvious. What wasn’t as obvious was the fact that using water wasn’t really an efficient way to clean your floors, since most of the dirt on the floor was actually dust, which just clotted together in water and became a form of mud.
This insight led to the devlopment of the electrostatic Swiffer sheet, which did a much better job on floor dust and dirt than water, and was also much easier to use.
And from a business standpoint, having consumers come back to buy the proprietary Swiffer sheets, led to a sustainable, business hit that generated $200 million in sales in year one alone.