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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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    • 06/23/17
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • South Africa
    • English

    Targeting the Township

    Understand township consumers and what they value well enough to really add value to their lives through marketing efforts
    • 06/23/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • South Africa
    • English

    Centennials: Capturing tomorrow's opportunities

    Through unpacking Centennials we can not only predict the demands of the future but we can also understand the shifts in values which opens future untapped opportunity for innovation.
    • 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 http://www.gfk.com/solutions/geomarketing.
    • 07/24/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    5 takeaways from our consumer study on Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods

    *This blog post was co-authored by Wendy Wallner and Stephanie Scalice Just last month, Amazon announced its acquisition of Whole Foods Market for a whopping $13.4 billion.  As the various hot takes rolled in, we looked to US consumers for their reactions, conducting a survey of 1,000 US adults a week after the announcement.  We learned how many people currently shop with both retailers, what kinds of changes they expect from each company, and what they would and wouldn’t like to see in the future as shoppers. Here are five key takeaways from the study.

    Consumer reaction was mostly positive

    While shoppers are still not certain what the Amazon/Whole Foods merger means for them, the reaction among consumers ranged mostly from positive to neutral.  Of the thousand people surveyed, 23% had a positive reaction, while 38% of Whole Foods shoppers found the news to be positive, followed by 31% of Amazon shoppers (and 43% of both Whole Foods and Amazon shoppers).  Only 10% of consumers found the news to be negative. Optimistic shoppers hope that grocery prices will drop and that delivery fees will be waived for Amazon Prime members.  They would also like to see Amazon start to carry Whole Foods products online — and on the flip-side, see Whole Foods stores use new technology that will make in-store shopping more efficient. One of the bigger barriers to online grocery shopping is the fear that the quality and freshness of products are not as good as what is purchased in a physical store.  As a result, consumers are hesitant to trust the quality when someone else is selecting items for them.  This study shows the Whole Foods connection would give shoppers more confidence in ordering fresh products online.

    Whole Foods shoppers express fear about changes

    Whole Foods shoppers, who typically care more than the average consumer about their communities and causes that align with their own, expressed some concerns over the Amazon acquisition.  Specifically, they hope that their local Whole Foods store will remain open, and that employees will not be laid off or their morale affected.  They do not want their shopping experience to change nor do they want the look and feel of Whole Foods outlets to change.

    There is an existing relationship between Amazon and Whole Foods shoppers

    The study confirms that Amazon and Whole Foods are a good fit.  According to the study, three out of four Whole Foods shoppers have made at least one purchase through Amazon in the past month; and there is also a higher percentage of Amazon Prime memberships among Whole Foods customers (50%) than total US consumers (37%).  Additionally, Whole Foods shoppers are more likely to buy groceries online (26% of all online grocery shoppers also shop at Whole Foods) than the average consumer [22% of US consumers shopped WFM in the past month) .

    Interest in omni-channel grocery shopping

    Although grocery eCommerce is currently a small market, the Amazon/Whole Foods alliance allows consumers to anticipate a future of omni-channel grocery shopping.  While consumers aren’t yet willing to fully commit to purchasing Whole Foods products online (only 9% of US shoppers indicated they would be “extremely/very likely” to sign up for an online grocery and/or meal delivery service through Amazon and Whole Foods), there is some latent interest (22% of all consumers were “somewhat likely”). Another potential benefit to Amazon is Whole Foods’ strong equity in prepared foods.  Not only will they be able to deliver groceries, they’ll be able to deliver meals too, as well as offering omni-channel services like click-and-collect, covering all aspects of food eCommerce.

    Increased customer loyalty?

    An Amazon/Whole Foods deal makes sense and points to some incremental growth for each brand, with a portion of current shoppers indicating that they expect to shop more at both retailers.  But it’s more likely that most will wait and see.  In fact, the study shows that Amazon Prime members, whose shopping habits demonstrate that they aren’t as loyal as one would think, have surprisingly low interest in the merger and its possible outcomes for themThe reason? They are heavy shoppers of all channels and want to keep options open. Their biggest concerns surround their hope that Whole Foods stores remain open and the local business are not impacted by the merger. The main goal for any grocery retailer right now should be stronger loyalty from customers; many shoppers forego the convenience of buying all their groceries in one place to instead pick and choose where they shop depending on what each retailer is good at.  They have different lists for different stores, buying groceries at five different retailers each month (on average).  Will the convenience that Amazon and Whole Foods are able to offer bring back one-stop shopping and increase customer loyalty?  It depends on who you ask, but ultimately it will depend on what kind of offerings and benefits are clearly established to consumers beyond pure convenience. To share your thoughts, leave a comment below or email wendy.wallner@gfk.com or stephanie.scalice@gfk.com.
  • 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