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Smart insights: Retail

The pace of change in the retail industry is driven by digital advancements: more touchpoints, more product reviews and comparisons for consumers to access anytime, anywhere. And more variety in the path to purchase of shoppers.

To stay competitive and relevant, retail businesses need to understand evolving shopping behaviors and target group demands. They need to apply this knowledge to create differentiated experiences across both digital and physical environments.

Our retail industry research experts provide the insights to support you at every stage: from measuring your shoppers’ experiences and paths to purchase, to monitoring retail performance and trends.

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    • 12/15/15
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • South Africa
    • English

    Purchasing power: All-rounder among market indicators

    There’s no limit these days to the volume and type of data that companies use to improve their competitiveness. Much of this data is unique to the industry in question, but some market indicators such as purchasing power have nearly universal application. A measure of the population’s disposable income, purchasing power data is the primary benchmark for determining consumer potential. So why is this market indicator so valuable and versatile? Simply put, purchasing power shows companies and manufacturers where the population has sufficient disposable income to spend on retail purchases. And even more importantly, good purchasing power data shows how this disposable income varies throughout the entire market and at different regional levels such as municipalities and postcodes.

    Exploiting more potential through regional insights

    Let’s now look at how purchasing power data can help a consumer electronics retailer who sells products via chain stores throughout Europe. Optimally placing and managing these stores requires precise, up-to-date knowledge on how the product potential tracks across regional markets. The retailer happens to know that Europeans have roughly €9 trillion to spend in 2015, but this information alone is useless. This is where our purchasing power data comes into play. Our data offers a highly textured breakdown of the geographic distribution of this wealth. It’s not enough for our retailer to work with composite figures and rough averages, because actual purchasing power amounts fluctuate dramatically from country to country, municipality to municipality, and even postcode to postcode. So where does the retailer start? A good first step is to assess the relative wealth in the areas around the chain stores. This has a direct effect on how the retailer should optimize the product mix for each location. A quick look at the data reveals that Liechtenstein is a veritable purchasing power dynamo, with 4.5 times the average disposable income. Our retailer has two stores in this area, so a good move would be to offer a larger selection of high-end products at these locations. If the two stores are not fully tapping the available potential, the retailer can consider opening up some additional stores in this country, strategically positioning them in municipalities and postcodes with especially high purchasing power.

    Boosting turnover & market share with geomarketing

    The retailer also has stores in Central European markets, such as Poland, which has shown signs of rapid retail growth. But unfortunately the retailer’s stores in that country have not be able to capitalize on this trend. Another look at the data shows why: All of the retailer’s stores are in districts with below average purchasing power by Poland’s standards. The retailer now has several options. It can open stores in some of the districts with higher purchasing power, such as Sopot, Piaseczynski or Warsaw, the latter of which has almost 83 percent more purchasing power than the rest of the country. Alternatively, the retailer can adjust its product mix at the existing locations to better appeal to the surrounding demographic. Up until now, the retailer has been using the same or similar marketing campaigns for all of its stores. Using the purchasing power data, marketing campaigns and POS promotions can now be tailored on a store-by-store basis to the income level and purchase affinity of the nearby population. The retailer can also use the purchasing power data to more objectively measure the performance of its stores in each of its active countries and regions. Previously, the retailer had no way of gauging what a good result was for the markets where its stores are located. For example, the retailer knew its best-performing store in France was in Paris and its worst performing in Pas-de-Calais. But this knowledge was meaningless without insight into how these performances relate to the market potential in those areas. Using the purchasing power data, the retailer discovered that Paris has an average per-capita purchasing power of €29,433 (more than twice the European average), while Pas-de-Calais has just €15,688. Thanks to these precise, regionally sensitive numbers, the retailer can more accurately gauge both individual store performance and how those performances compare as a percentage of the total local market.

    About GfK Purchasing Power

    Purchasing power data is the ideal foundational market indicator for users across all industries, from retail and real estate to automotive and tourism. Users can easily supplement purchasing power with additional market indicators, such as retail turnover potential and purchasing power for specific product lines. GfK Purchasing Power Europe is calculated annually for 42 European countries and provides comprehensive coverage down to the level of municipalities and postcodes, as well as data on inhabitants and households. GfK’s Geomarketing solutions also include digital maps and other market data that fit seamlessly with the purchasing power data. For more information on GfK’s Geomarketing offering, visit
    • 07/31/14
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Consumer Goods
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • South Africa
    • English

    Additional African countries added to GfK Global consumer study

    GfK now offers insights specifically into African consumers within the ‘GfK Roper Reports Worldwide’ study. For global brands, this kind of information furthers a deeper under-standing that helps them retain relevance in the African market.
    • 12/20/16
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Remaster your trade marketing to create the perfect promotional tune

    Ensure your trade marketing delivers greater ROI. Our promotion and retail marketing expert Karsten Holdorf will show you how to use different sales drivers in our webinar recording.
    • 12/15/16
    • Retail
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    A new retail battleground: Pricing and the rise of smart shopping

    With more than a third (38%) of consumers globally concerned about having enough money to “live right” and pay the bills, and almost the same proportion (37%) worried about inflation and higher prices, it’s perhaps not surprising that saving money is a top priority for many shoppers.1 However, our FutureBuy 20162 study shows that this is particularly true for those who shop online compared to in-store (52% vs. 26%). If we look closer still, we see that searching for the best price online is common practice regardless of age group. It seems we’re all “smart shopping”, from Millennials to Baby Boomers.

    But are consumers only concerned with lower prices?

    Recent economic uncertainties have changed consumers’ definition of value. They’re reassessing and redefining what products and services justify a premium. Our most recent Roper Report study, which covers 27 countries, shows that almost a quarter (23%) of consumers would pay more for a product that makes their life easier, for example. But value is also associated with the actual process of shopping. By being shrewd, shoppers can obtain the best deal for a product. There is value in getting a deal, but there is also value in feeling like a savvy or “smart” shopper.

    Shoppers are increasingly savvy

    Our FutureBuy 2016 study shows that consumers are shopping smarter, with an increasing number of them indicating that they are checking store circulars for deals/coupons, comparing the prices of stores, and researching products online more than they did a year ago. A growing number of consumers are also using the internet to find and purchase products more than they did a year ago. Online channels bring transparency to the shopping experience, which could explain this trend. With a choice of online and offline shopping channels, almost two thirds (63%) of consumers indicate that they are learning how to shop more efficiently than before. And a similar proportion (62%) feel more in control than ever before when choosing the best products to buy.

    Online shopping heralds greater pricing transparency

    The transparency of online shopping has generated two phenomena and further challenges to retailers’ pricing strategies: showrooming (the act of checking out a product in a physical store and then buying it online from a different retailer) and webrooming (the act of checking out a product online and then buying it in-store). Although these previously growing trends (showrooming and webrooming) have stabilized in the past year, they are here to stay. One quarter of all respondents practice showrooming in their journey whilst equal number of respondents (ca. 25%) webroom. The impact of these trends on consumers’ shopping habits marks the death knell of dynamic pricing strategies, whereby near identical products are sold to different consumers at different prices. Today’s consumers, as we’ve identified, are price savvy. 61% (up from 58% in 2015) indicate that it’s important to them that the price of an item is the same whether they buy it online or in-store. Although some shoppers are prepared to pay more for convenience and to accept price differentials between channels on this basis, we don’t believe this will be the case in the future. And with the ability to air their dissatisfaction with a retailer via social media just a few clicks away for today’s Connected Consumer, woe betide any retailer who ignores such shifts in shoppers’ attitudes.

    In summary

    The picture painted by these findings makes clear the enormous challenges to retailers’ pricing strategies brought about by the convergence of offline and online shopping. The transparency created by the online shopping channel means that consumers simply won’t accept paying a different price for the same product based on where they buy it. Pricing intelligence is currently used more often by retailers to ensure competitiveness and it is proving effective, but it will never replace a well-thought-through pricing strategy and positioning. Indeed, with the rise of “smart shopping” we could see a new retail battleground emerging soon.

    What’s in store for the Future of Retail?

    Download the free report now 1GfK Roper Reports Worldwide Market Brief: Germany, 2015; 27 countries 2GfK FutureBuy 2016, an online survey with 20,000 consumers 18+ in 20 countries across key categories (FMCG, services, consumer durables, automotive, toys, apparel, home improvement, home and garden, furniture etc.)
  • Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brands are under pressure to develop emotional connections and relationships with consumers and business decision makers.  Brands need to respond in-the-moment, to enrich the customer experience – and develop strategies that influence ”moments of truth” throughout individual brand journeys.  

  • Consumer Panels

    Consumer Panels

    Your business is all about your consumers. So understanding them is essential in ensuring your products and services meet their needs, and in identifying opportunities for growth.

    Our international consumer panel data and research expertise provide you with smart customer insights into who your consumers are, their attitudes and behaviors, across channels.

  • Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    When consumers shop, search, communicate, gather information and engage with companies or brands online, they behave differently depending on which device or screen they are using. They expect a consistent experience regardless of the channel or device they are using.

  • Point of Sales Tracking

    Point of Sales Tracking

    Retailers and manufacturers are under pressure to develop products and services that maximize sales and profit and to keep customers coming back.

    Success relies on having the most up-to-date sales data, combined with robust analysis to understand which products and services are performing well in the market – and which are not. With this information, clients can set clear strategies for commercial growth and increase return on investment.

  • Shopper


    Digital continues to open up new paths to purchase, changing how and where people shop. More and more data becomes available every day, as shoppers embrace multi-channel brand experiences.

    To stay competitive in this big data, multi-channel environment, businesses need to identify and leverage the most relevant data along the entire path to purchase. With this, companies can optimize each step of the shopper journey. 

  • User Experience (UX)

    User Experience (UX)

    Our user experience (UX) research and design experts help our clients create and improve customer experiences for existing or new products and services

    Today’s consumer is bombarded with promises for compelling experiences. They are sophisticated and demanding.  To be successful, a new product or service needs to be intuitive, usable, engaging and desirable. The user experience needs to be emotional in order to be memorable.

  • Geomarketing


    Our geomarketing solutions and consultancy provide our clients with smart insights into location-specific factors that impact the success of business sites, shops, sales territories, target groups, as well as chain store and distribution networks.

  • Mystery Shopping

    Mystery Shopping

    Consumers face a complex array of brand touch points every day of their lives. To deliver a consistent brand experience, marketers need to know how consumers are actually experiencing their brand. Our mystery shoppers give you all the help you need to understand these experiences, and respond to them to maximize the return for your business.

Contact us
Molemo Moahloli
South Africa
+27 11 803 1300