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  • GfK releases new maps for Russia
    • 09/18/17
    • Press
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Global
    • English

    GfK releases new maps for Russia

    GfK recently updated its digital maps of Russia. The maps offer up-to-date coverage of the boundaries of Russia's administrative and postal regions. As such, they provide a reliable foundation for geographic analyses of market and company operations across all industries.

    • 09/15/17
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumers are stressed, but confident: Surprising results from our Mood of the World 2017 study

    “I read the news today, oh boy”, John Lennon wrote this in 1967, but it seems every more appropriate today.  The news alert goes off on your mobile, and you think – what has happened now?  Terrorism?  Natural disaster?  North Korea?  Do you wonder how this seemingly constant barrage of anxiety-producing news is impacting people around the world?

    At GfK Consumer Life, every year since 1997, we conduct a survey of people all around the globe.  Many of the questions we ask have been asked for the past 20 years.  This gives us a unique perspective on how people are feeling today and reacting to the world around them.  These insights are used by global businesses and organizations to help them understand how their target markets are evolving, help them develop new products and services, and create more effective and relevant messaging.

    Our 2017 study is just out of the field and we’ve learned some interesting things about how people are reacting and adapting to the world around them.

    Consumers feeling stressed

    One of the things we’ve found is that people are reporting higher levels of stress.  This probably isn’t all that surprising, but the magnitude of the increase is nonetheless pretty startling.  91% of global respondents in our study report they find at least one of 14 problems to be a cause of stress in their life, and that number is up 20 points since 2015.  But it is not just the problems of the outside world that are stressing us out.  Stress is also coming from the pressure we are putting on ourselves, our health and day-to-day finances.

    Confidence still high

    Yet what is interesting about this stress is that it doesn’t appear to be dimming global consumer confidence.  Seven out of ten global consumers feel that they will be better off financially in the next 12 months – a number that has been quite steady globally since 2014 (and indeed, just a little bit better than where we were in 2016).

    Perhaps this is because despite all the talk about division and polarization, in many ways, people around the world are more alike than they have ever been.  Proliferation of mobile devices enables similar, on-the-go lifestyles.  Globally, our data shows that people feel less constrained by societal expectations related to gender and age.  Increasing global urbanization means that there are converging urban lifestyles.  Let’s face it, being late for work because you got stuck in traffic is just as frustrating whether that traffic is in Mexico City, Shanghai, or New York.

    Conclusion

    Expectations, or more specifically, rising expectations – that people have of themselves, of the products they use and the brands they buy – are contributing to both increased stress levels and sustained consumer confidence.  The fact that these two dynamics are happening at the same time is truly new news.

    Kathy Sheehan is Executive Vice President and General Manager of GfK’s Consumer Trends team. She can be reached at kathy.sheehan@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • GfK researcher Alexandra Chirilov wins ESOMAR award for VR approach
    • 09/14/17
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    GfK researcher Alexandra Chirilov wins ESOMAR award for VR approach

    GfK has won this year's ESOMAR Corporate Young Professional Award. 

    • 09/14/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Global
    • English

    A rising SVOD tide may not raise subscription prices

    With the number of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services growing, and existing ones getting frequent enhancements, media stakeholders have to wonder when “enough” will become “too much”. How many of these services will consumers subscribe to, and how much will they pay? Is there a road to profitability for market leaders who are investing millions in original content and exclusive licensing?

    Movement in the marketplace

    In the past year, signs of the SVOD market’s vitality have been easy to spot. There are new offerings – some smaller (Britbox) and some larger (Sling TV). A recent entrant, CBS All Access, is finally readying for its likely reason for being – the launch this fall of the streaming-only Star Trek: Discovery series.

    Among the Big 3 SVOD services, we’ve seen enhancements by Hulu, which added ad-free and live-TV subscription options. Amazon expanded its originals and will offer streaming of NFL games in the coming season. Market-leader Netflix seems to have scaled back its ambitions, opting for more curation and showing a willingness to cut ties with expensive but less-successful originals (The Get Down and Sense8).

    And the big recent news hanging over this entire market is Disney’s announcement that it will launch its own SVOD service and pull back its licensed content from other SVOD players – a double whammy for established players in the space.

    How much are subscribers willing to pay?

    We can gain some insight into the SVOD marketplace – at least for the Big 3 SVOD services – by looking at the eighth annual Over-the-Top TV report from GfK’s The Home Technology Monitor™.

    First, we see that the proportion of Netflix subscribers who also subscribe to either Amazon Prime Video or to Hulu – those that are multiple subscribers – has doubled in the past three years, from 10 percent in 2014 to 21 percent in 2017. The good news: We have proof that consumers are open to having more than one paid streaming service. But, on the downside, this may squeeze the amount they are willing to pay for each.

    The most interesting insight comes from our tracking since 2014 of perceived value for each of the Big 3 services. Measured in 2014, 2016, and 2017, we asked regular users of each service what was the maximum they would pay per month for that service.

     

    As we noted in 2016, and now see again in this year’s data, there is very strong indication for a “natural limit” of about $11 per month for any SVOD service. With standard service currently costing $9.99 a month for Netflix, $7.99 ($11.99 ad-free) for Hulu, and $8.25 for Amazon, we can again see there is good news (all are valued higher than their actual costs) mixed with bad (there is little room for additional subscription price increases).

    In particular, Netflix appears most vulnerable. Their standard service is already priced at 92 percent of the maximum price (compared with Amazon at 86% and Hulu at 79%). Also, Netflix’s perceived value showed no change in the past 16 months, while Amazon and Hulu scored positive (albeit small) momentum. Add in the consumer budget squeeze from the increase in multiple SVOD subscriptions, and the days of being able to easily run up revenues through subscription increases may be over.

    Altering the business model?

    While Hulu has advertising as a second revenue stream, Amazon has both very deep pockets and a raft of additional benefits from being a Prime member (shipping, music, e-books, etc.) – perks that Netflix lacks. Netflix’s ability to offset an increasing mountain of debt[1] may be limited by its current business model; it may, at some point, need to consider advertising, program sponsorships, or other streams of revenue in order to make Wall Street happy.

    Pricing aside, many other aspects of SVOD services need to be explored in the future as these services proliferate. What is the total budget for streaming and/or pay TV? How does the wide choice of services fit together? How can services avoid monthly, seasonal, or program-related churn? And, perhaps most importantly, how can consumers easily find their way to the content they want to watch across these multiple platforms? We look forward to partnering with our clients to further explore this space and help drive successful business outcomes.

    Get similar insights – and many more – as soon as they get published by subscribing to The Home Technology Monitor™ in 2017. Aside from the Over-the-Top TV 2017 report, our reports this year include our annual Ownership and Trend Report, Commanding Media (voice commands), TV Everywhere, and SVOD Digital Journey.

    [1] “Netflix is on the hook for $20 billion. Can it keep spending its way to success?”, Los Angeles Times, July 29 2017. www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-netflix-debt-spending-20170729-story.html

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Global smart MDA market almost triples in size in 12 months
    • 09/14/17
    • Home Appliances
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    Global smart MDA market almost triples in size in 12 months

    Chinese consumers are driving global adoption of smart major domestic appliances. Discover more.

    • 09/13/17
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Game of consumers: Why brands should tap into our childhood passions

    One of my strongest childhood memories is the thrill of collecting World Cup soccer stickers. I loved to feel the full pages in my sticker albums, to see the faces of all the players and pretend that I knew them.

    This collecting also became a social activity; it would go down something like this – we would sit in a circle, and one person would start to swipe through his or her deck of stickers very quickly. Suddenly, another friend would shout, “Nola!” – Peruvian ’90s card-collector slang for “I don’t have it!” That person would have the first chance to trade for the sticker; then he (or she) would start the same fast swiping.

    These were simple, fun times – my excitement and sense of belonging have probably never been greater.

    The appeal of gaming dynamics

    Why did I love my stickers so much? Science shows that gaming dynamics shoot dopamine into our brains; the neurotransmitters in charge of our body’s reward system also play an essential role in attention and learning. Considering the neurological cocktail that we are enjoying whenever we play, it is not surprising that more and more companies are starting to use gamification as a very efficient loyalty tool.

    Recently, I worked on a research project about a retail promotion – one that evoked my childhood collector memories. Customers would get a sticker for buying specific products and save them on a card; when you completed the card, you could exchange it for a prize: dishes, pots, a set of knives, or some other fancy kitchen tools.

    It was the second year of the campaign, and the retailer was worried that people might become bored with the game, making it meaningless to the buyers. So we sat down with the client’s customers, and what they told us was a big surprise – the complete opposite of what the retailer was thinking. People participating in the promo (mainly women with families) said it reminded them of the ineffable collections of childhood. The promotion card was their sticker album.

    Interacting with consumers through games

    Think about the Samsung Look-a-Galaxy-for-an-Hour challenge, or the “Chock-Chock” Coca Cola campaign in Hong Kong – smart brands make us interact with them through games. They invite us to play to alleviate a little of our everyday stress, and to build stronger relationships with consumers. I still vividly remember Panini, the sponsor of my World Cup stickers from then to nowadays, and the constant excitement of fulfilling my album… I still belong to a group of friends who exchange stickers every 4 years, for every World Cup.

    Playing is better done in groups, and even better when we can do it anywhere, anytime. Nowadays consumers expect their brands to give a satisfactory and involving experience on whichever channel they choose to use. We have to take into account that the consumer does not stop being a consumer when leaving the retail environment – just as a gamer does not stop being a gamer when the console is turned off. The consumer takes the retail brand along – in a pocket, on a screen – and it is in these experiences (both physical and digital) that the opportunity rests. Retailers can play and truly engage with consumers’ decision making and take advantage of omnichannel consumers to connect with them in both the present and future.

    Maybe it is time to start questioning our own loyalty strategies, and ask if we can play a little more. How can we make our brands fun (and memorable) for consumers? Along the way, we may bring up some powerful childhood memories, happy times etched in people’s minds. After all, doesn’t everybody want to be a kid again?

    Carlos Galvez is a Senior Analyst at GfK. To share your thoughts, leave a comment below or email carlos.galvez@gfk.com.

    • 09/12/17
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Global
    • English

    3 basic mistakes that can ruin your customer experience survey

    The make-or-break for a customer experience survey is that it delivers a great experience in itself.  The customer has to be left feeling that their time spent in completing the survey is ultimately of direct benefit to themselves, not a wearisome sacrifice of time to benefit the company.

    I was recently sent a survey invitation asking me to give my feedback on a flight.  I decided to give it a go, but it turned out that the survey was longer than the flight (or at least that is how it felt).

    I do think it’s laudable that businesses ask for my feedback, but, while most surveys claim that the feedback will be ‘valued’, many survey experiences don’t make me feel valued. They fall into the three basic mistakes:

       

    • They are often far too long – compared to many people, I have a lot of motivation to complete surveys, but I sometimes give up due to the sheer length and, if I do make it to the end, I know that my last few answers to the endless grid style questions are pretty random.
    • Hygiene factors versus value-adds. I find the premise of some questions a bit odd – I understand that recommendation is a good thing for businesses, but I’m really not going to recommend my bank on the basis that I was able to withdraw my money easily, or it wasn’t a big effort to change a direct debit – some levels of service should be acknowledged as basic essentials, not value-adds.
    • Company-centric, not customer-centric. When I’m asked to give my comments, it’s often worded as wanting to find out why I gave a certain score (again mainly for recommendation). I might by cynical, but this makes me think that increasing the score is what matters to the company, rather than truly improving my experience. The survey questions must be worded from the customers’ viewpoint, encouraging them to give the information that matters to them, not just what matters to the company.
    •  

    It seems to me that for many businesses the customer survey has become just another management tool – to measure every single part of the customer journey with a ‘customer score’ – rather than a way to listen to the actual voice of the customer.  And it can’t be customer centric to get customers only to answer questions that the company wants to ask and, at the same time, dictate how they can answer (“please tick one box only”).

    What businesses need to capture are the experiences that are relevant and memorable to the customer, at the most appropriate point in time.  In order for feedback surveys to be both better experiences for the customer and ultimately more useful to the company, businesses need to be much smarter about what they ask, how they get more from less and how they connect the customer feedback to the other data they have in their business and across teams.

    4 tips for better customer experience surveys

       

    • If you need a score, then make the question relevant to the experience. Don’t use recommendation everywhere just because it makes your life easier to have consistency. Perhaps the customer just wants to feel happy?
    • Ask customers to describe their experience in their words – what a customer chooses to tell you is what is you need to know, because what is memorable will drive their future behaviour.
    • Let technology take the strain. Use text and voice analytics to understand not just what customers say, but also how they say it. This uncovers the root cause of their problems and the actions you need take.
    • Get everyone involved in understanding the results. Finding solutions to customer pain points shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of customer services.
    •  

    Summary

    Customer feedback needs to be treated as an energy source: it will be renewable and powerful, so long as you respect customers’ time and intelligence, design your questionnaire to be honestly customer-centric and use the results to build better experiences.

    For more information, please contact John Banerji at john.banerji@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 09/11/17
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Ecommerce: What’s the secret to attracting consumers to online retail sites?

    With an overwhelming amount of content, intense competition and multiple channels, we all know today’s online retail environment is a particularly challenging one for companies looking to maximize sales. Ecommerce players are under no illusion that they face a tough battle to attract consumers to their online stores but many are struggling to identify exactly what it is they must do to succeed.

    The explosion of mobile has already impacted ecommerce as many players have heavily invested in optimizing their interfaces for mobile usage. It definitely seems like this is the smart thing to do – in Indonesia for example, the time consumers spend on ecommerce apps has grown by a remarkable 188% over the last 12 months. And in Germany, Millennials visit ecommerce sites and apps 53 times per month [GfK Crossmedia Visualizer, July 2017].

    However, mobile is only the first step towards developing the right business strategies. There are many more opportunities out there – so let’s take a look at what they are.

    Understand consumers in order to target the right audiences

    It’s a no-brainer, but to land more business, it’s essential that companies connect the right e-shoppers with the offers that match what they are interested in. Retailers often deploy segmentations and consumer portfolios to improve their ability to target consumers. However, bringing segmentations into play for marketing purposes is all but easy given a simple fact: segmentations are often siloed from media behavior.

    To target the right consumers, companies need to better understand their media usage and cross-device behavior. Businesses can do this by enriching their current segmentations and in-house databases with key behavioral data based on variables such as media consumption habits, cross-device usage and visit frequency and duration. Secondly, they can build new online and mobile segments based on measured behavior to get a 360° view of consumers – from their gender, income and travel activities, to device usage, search habits and what markets they are interested in.

    Influence the consumer journey with a smart touchpoint strategy

    If there’s just one thing we know for certain about the connected consumer’s shopping journey, it’s that it is non-linear and easy to disrupt.

    It is therefore crucial for online retailers to know which touchpoints they need to activate in order to maximize their sales.

    Just as an example, when compared to offline shoppers, fashion e-shoppers in the Netherlands are 88% more likely to look for inspiration on Facebook and Instagram.

    Obtaining insights based on single source behavioral data that links purchase acts with media consumption and cross-device behavior is a key enabler for e-retail businesses. Not only does it help to identify the touchpoints and content that are most important for converting browsers to buyers, but it also helps companies gain a competitive advantage by activating the major disruption points on the purchase journey.

    Optimize your media mix to drive more traffic towards your ecommerce offering

    Relying solely on online targeting and digital channels alone will not do the job of increasing revenues to the maximum level. Advertising via offline channels and TV in particular, will still be an important contributor to the flow of shoppers visiting e-retail sites or apps. While this certainly isn’t the big news, answering the crucial question of how to successfully measure the ROI of crossmedia campaigns for ecommerce businesses remains a challenge.

    Properly tracking performance via agency provided KPIs and web analytics tools is a given, but it will likely lead to the trap of an isolated view on digital, TV and other offline media. To overcome this, campaign measurement needs to be based on single source data streams and businesses must use KPI assessments (e.g. net reach, incremental reach and target group attainment) wisely. This will allow them to plan successful future campaigns, know where to focus based on ROI and identify the optimal channels to drive traffic towards an online inventory.

    Time to think globally but respect local diversities

    Accurate behavioral and crossmedia data partnered with asking all the right questions is what’s behind developing the right ecommerce strategy. But on top of that, it’s essential to be aware of consumer preferences across different countries.

    Comparing multi-country ecommerce leaders across a range of markets, it’s becoming clear that retail is a predominately local business, with consumers mainly purchasing from big local names. For example, in Poland we see that Allegro is the major player while in Indonesia, Lazda is on top. But, this may not always be the case. In the last 6 months, Amazon has registered 6.8 million more unique users in Mexico, which signals a potential challenge for the popular local retailer Mercado Libre [GfK Crossmedia Visualizer, July 2017].

    Therefore, it’s also becoming clear that to compete and succeed in this ecommerce world, companies need a constant 360° view of what their consumers are doing online – and where.

    Learn about GfK’s Crossmedia Visualizer and sign up for a test of our innovative dashboard. This provides an in depth look at the ecommerce landscape in Indonesia – which, with a population of 260 million and a rapidly growing buying power, is certainly a key market for any ecommerce business.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Map of the month: Purchasing power for home improvement products, Germany 2017
    • 09/11/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • RegioGraph
    • Geodata
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the month: Purchasing power for home improvement products, Germany 2017

    Retailers and manufacturers face the continual challenge of positioning their products in the market regions where they are most wanted. Our 2017 data on retail purchasing power illuminates the areas of Germany with the highest spending potential for various product lines. As an example, our map of the month shows the hotspots for home improvement products in Germany, including Hamburg, Frankfurt, and areas in the federal states of Bavaria, Saarland, and Rhineland-Palatinate. Retailers and manufacturers of home improvement products can use these insights to tap more market potential.

    • 09/06/17
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    #Decade: What ten years of hashtags tells us about consumers today

    On August 23, the hashtag turned 10 years old.  Before achieving internet fame, it was previously known by most as the pound sign, a symbol used primarily to complete requests on customer service phone calls.  But a decade ago, everything changed thanks to an entrepreneur named Chris Messina who was looking for a way to organize conversations among different groups on Twitter.

    Even if you’re not that active on social media, it’s likely that hashtags are a part of your life – they’ve worked their way into everything from news articles to our daily slang to, as of 2014, our dictionary.  It’s estimated that around 125 million hashtags are shared each day on Twitter alone, with other social networks like Instagram and Facebook adopting them en masse as well.

    Hashtags clearly aren’t going anywhere.  What can the rise, and continued cultural dominance, of this symbol tell us about where consumers, and brands, are headed?

       

    • Simplify the experience. At its core, the hashtag is a method of organization – an easy way to filter through endless social media posts to find the content most relevant to you.  Our GfK Consumer Life findings consistently show that consumers want more streamlined experiences in every aspect of their lives.  The personal value of simplicity (keeping your life and mind as uncluttered as possible) has risen four ranks in importance since 2011, and nearly one in three (32%) Americans today are willing to pay more for products that make their lives easier.  As this trend continues to dominate, brands that offer more efficient solutions will thrive.
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    • Support the search for like-minded peers. The advent of social media has made it easier than ever to find a group, or multiple groups, where we can feel that we belong.  According to recent research from GfK Consumer Life, nearly three in ten (27%) Americans go so far to say that belonging to groups that share their interests or beliefs is essential to their well-being – almost as many (25%) feel that the groups they belong to say a lot about them.  Hashtags have made it easier than ever to “find your tribe” and communicate with them easily – no simple feat given the pace at which our social media feeds are multiplying.  Whether you’re catching up on “Game of Thrones” reactions or mobilizing for social change, hashtags connect you to the right people.
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    • Let consumer input drive the future of your brand. Perhaps one of the most interesting details about the hashtag’s origin story is that the idea came from a user of Twitter, not from its executives or developers.  In fact, many other features that are now core Twitter elements originated outside of the company’s four walls, including the word “tweet” and the brand’s signature bird icon.  Enabled by social media and other innovations, the past ten years have seen consumers get far more involved in shaping a brand’s offerings, communications, and so much more.  As GfK Consumer Life data demonstrates, most (82%) Americans tend to trust one brand over another when the company listens and responds to customer needs, complaints, and feedback; another 68 percent say that brands who prioritize customer needs over profits are more likely to earn their trust.  It’s reasonable to anticipate that these brand expectations will continue to dominate consumer mindsets as time goes on.
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    • Carefully develop your brand’s voice. Having a social media presence allows brands to communicate directly with consumers and many other audiences.  It also gives them a real-time channel for timely announcements, responses to current events, and updates associated with ongoing campaigns.  But as they join the online conversation with hashtags and the like, brands must be cautious – or they’ll immediately face social media backlash.  Whether they find themselves unintentionally soliciting negative feedback, or appearing unconcerned with larger social issues, the damage can be instant – and dramatic.
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    Not only do hashtags tell us a lot about the brands, news, trends, and pop culture that people care about, the mere usage of this symbol online gives us a deeper picture of evolving consumer priorities and behaviors.  As social media continues to grow and play an even larger role in our lives, it’s likely that the next ten years of the hashtag will be as important as the first ten.

    Rachel Bonsignore is a Senior Consultant on the Consumer Life team at GfK. She can be reached at rachel.bonsignore@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • The mood of the world today – what are people thinking?
    • 09/06/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Home Appliances
    • Financial Services
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Home and Living
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Consumer Life
    • Global
    • English

    The mood of the world today – what are people thinking?

    In this free on-demand webinar, our experts dive into current consumer confidence and other key indicators of the consumer mindset and what it means for individual markets and brands.

  • Assessing fresh pasta concepts for the US market
    • 09/05/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Global
    • English

    Assessing fresh pasta concepts for the US market

    We helped a multinational FMCG company optimize two new product ideas for an existing pasta brand.

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