Despite a challenging economic environment, certain brands continued to innovate in the local market over the past twelve months and were deservedly recognised for their dynamism at the prestigious annual Product of the Year awards ceremony.   
“It was a tough year for brands, particularly those in the retail sector,” affirms Preetesh Sewraj, CEO and Chief Innovation Analyst at Product of the Year South Africa. “The year started with a sense of optimism as South Africa enjoyed a large fuel cut and political confidence was on the rise. This confidence started to slowly be reflected in consumer spending patterns which excited the market.” 

Unfortunately, the reality of the country’s economic situation subsequently set in as the financial pressure on consumers mounted due to rising living costs and increased taxation. 
“As a result, consumer sentiment turned, which is a major driver of spending. In response, many brands chose to scale down their innovation pipelines to offset dwindling sales and rising input and production costs,” adds Sewraj. 
There were, however, several brands that used the opportunity to introduce new innovations in their quest to attract new business amid tougher market conditions. 
“Leading global information and measurement company, Nielsen once again conducted South Africa’s largest independent consumer-voted survey. After trying and testing a range of products, 4,000 consumer households were surveyed and it was clear from the results which brands chose to forge ahead with their innovation cycle,” continues Sewraj. 
These brands were duly rewarded with recognition for their continued commitment to quality and innovation at the 11th annual Product of the Year awards gala event, held at Hyde Park on Thursday, 14 March 2019.
“Based on the research Nielsen conducted in 2018 and early 2019, the local market benefited from product innovations across a number of categories, including food, DIY, healthcare and home cleaning,” says Sewraj.   
A new efficacy category was also introduced in 2018 to recognise brands that improve consumers’ home, surroundings or lifestyles. 
“We continue to broaden the scope of our third-party endorsement programme to celebrate and reward brand innovation and boost awareness. This platform, therefore, guides consumers, helping them to find the best new products and services that can positively impact on their lifestyles and their pockets by delivering greater value for money,” concludes Sewraj.
The full list of category winners includes:

Visit for more information on the Product of the Year category winners