Are you a 'harbinger of failure?': Some consumers have an unerring knack for buying unpopular products -- ScienceDailyThey defined a failed product as one pulled from stores less than three years after its introduction; only about 40 percent of the new products survived that long. In a key part of the study, the researchers studied consumers whose purchases flop at least 50 percent of the time, and saw pronounced effects when these harbingers of failure buy products. When the percentage of total sales of a product accounted for by these consumers increases from 25 to 50 percent, the probability of success for that product decreases by 31 percent. And when the harbingers buy a product at least three times, it's really bad news: The probability of success for that product drops 56 percent.