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    • 05/19/17
    • Automotive
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    Mobile is the means to improving traction for your crossmedia automotive campaigns

    As an automotive marketer, you face a great many challenges. Not only is the auto industry in the fast lane when it comes to change, but so too is the media landscape you must navigate to attract Connected Consumers. Online media’s increasing importance in the purchase journey combined with the proliferation of connected devices, however, presents a significant opportunity and route to maximizing the efficiency of your campaigns.

    While traditional TV remains the go-to media channel to drive brand image and reach a mass audience, online campaigns can add extra reach and help target a specific group. More specifically, you need to go mobile and devise content specifically for this channel. Here’s why:

    Go mobile to get more mileage from your campaigns

    Our research shows that mobile accounts for a significant share of digital ad impressions. According to our Crossmedia Visualizer data, based on online users in Germany, more than one third (37.4%) of all ad impressions within automotive online touchpoints occur exclusively on mobile devices. When looking at smartphones only, they deliver 20.4% exclusive reach, while tablets deliver 14.3%.

    Mobile use is even more pronounced among Gen Y (20-34 year olds) in this market, where 45.3% of impressions in the automotive category are exclusively on mobile. What’s more, our research shows that the reach of Facebook on mobile devices among younger target age groups is nearly three times higher than that of desktop ad placements. Also when run in addition to TV campaigns, paid placements on Facebook can extend incremental reach by 4.5%. This is even before considering the viral effects a campaign can have.

    Younger age groups are not only critical for brand building but are also, because of their affinity for using mobile and social media, open to campaigns that use these channels. What this means is that if you aren’t reaching them on mobile and via social media through paid placements and the like, your competitors surely will.

    Fine-tune your use of mobile channels for incremental reach and targeting

    The increasing usage of mobile devices among the online population in the auto sector is also evident when we look at the websites of the top three premium car brands in Germany. While desktop still delivers the greatest share of impressions versus mobile for Mercedes-Benz (64.3% vs. 35.8%) and Audi (64.3% vs. 32.2%), for BMW, mobile provides a 53.3% share of impressions versus 45.9% for desktop.

    These factors combine to underline the need to optimize the mobile elements of your cross-media campaigns to target today’s – and tomorrow’s – Connected Consumers where they are. Put another way, if you want to get the mileage from your cross-media campaigns, you need to fine-tune your use of mobile channels to deliver that all-important incremental reach and targeting of content.

    You can master today’s multi-channel marketing reality and track, analyze and optimize your media planning with our Crossmedia Visualizer tool. Test it out for yourself for free to discover:

       

    • which car brand sites have the highest net reach among the online population in Germany and how this has changed over last five months
    • which of the key online auto sites in Germany has the highest net reach and number of unique users
    • what the top auto sites’ reach is by device and which site indexes highest for reaching those who intend to buy a new car (timeframe)
    • and more…
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    • 05/18/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    What your brand can do now to attract today’s moms

    Nothing is more central to society, or more relevant to the fates of so many brands, than the evolving partnership between moms and dads. Parents not only make an extraordinary number of purchase decisions – they also deeply influence the tastes of the generations that come after.

    But still parents struggle with work and family pressures – the stress of being so needed in so many places. According to ongoing GfK Consumer Life research, the contract between parents has shifted noticeably in recent years. Dads are playing a greater role in some of the chores, like food shopping – but moms are still more likely to hold down the family’s most cherished functions and spend more time with their family in the home. Together they are more likely to sit and talk, eat, and read, while fathers tend to spend more time outside of the home with their children – going to the movies, volunteering, and playing sports.

    Despite changes in the family dynamics, moms are actually as stressed as they have ever been, with over two-thirds with kids under 13 saying they experience stress and tension – a number that is dramatically higher than average. And today’s sources of mom stress are vastly different from nearly two decades ago; some of the fastest-rising causes are health, weight, noise and not getting enough sleep.

    Opportunities in relief valves

    Moms and dads alike need “relief valves” – activities or opportunities that help them refresh, re-orient, and put down their burdens for a minute or three. This need offers powerful opportunities to marketers.

    Moms understand what’s truly important to their health and well-being, for example; but they fall short on following through, which exacerbates stress and fuels the vexatious mom-guilt. Smart, mom-centric marketers can offer real-time coaching to not only ignite a boost for healthier behaviors, but also help moms (and dads) stay on track. Whether the solution is smart health-tracking technology or product packaging that helps moms remember their nutrition, marketers can and should “be there” for over-tired moms of today.

    Looking to the future

    Now, a new wave of moms is coming, and they are undoubtedly different from the moms of today. According to the GfK MRI data, the youngest moms today (ages 18-25) are more apt to be minorities, work tirelessly on most weekends, juggling family and work lives under tremendous pressure. And GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports) shows that these new moms are more driven. But they always give their best effort and value working hard, seeking fulfillment in what they do for a living.

    These new moms also need to feel secure and empowered about the brands they choose. The new wave of moms is considerably more likely to claim that they only buy products and services that speak to their beliefs, values or ideals.

    So, looking at some of today’s youngest moms, how can marketers anticipate the moms of tomorrow? How can they keep their brands strong and top of mind in a fast-paced and fragmented world of media, super-connectivity and hyper personalization?

       

    • First, stay with moms through close and consistent tracking of their likes and dislikes.
    • Keep close watch on the still-transforming contract between parents – which also means understanding young men and women alike, before they have families.
    • Do not add to their stress – provide outlets and escapes from their daily activities and struggles.
    • And show them that their efforts do lead to fulfillment; do not frustrate or ignore them at key moments.
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    As always, attentive brands are also the smartest, making decisions that will build customer loyalty for generations to come. Are you on board?

    Jola Burnett is a Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. She can be reached at jola.burnett@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • GfK down versus prior year
    • 05/15/17
    • Press
    • HQ financials
    • Investors
    • Global
    • English

    GfK down versus prior year

    In the first three months of 2017, GfK recorded a decline in both sales and income. In organic terms, consolidated sales were down 2.7 percent.

  • Apply now: Management Trainee Program
    • 05/12/17
    • Careers
    • Global
    • English

    05/12/17 - 06/10/17
    Apply now: Management Trainee Program

    Every year in October, most talented graduates and professionals from all over the world start our 18-month Management Trainee Program. We are excited to get to know you. Make your choice and apply now!

  • Akademika
    • 05/12/17
    • Careers
    • Global
    • English

    05/23/17 - 05/24/17
    Akademika

    We are looking forward to meeting you in person. Make your choice and take the opportunity to answer all your questions about your journey at GfK!

    • 05/11/17
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Looking for the future of mobile? Take a trip to Beijing

    ‘You can do without a wallet in Beijing these days but not without a smartphone.’ This came from the cab driver who picked me up at Beijing International airport when I landed with my mother last fall for the first trip back to my home country (and hometown) in years. He was completely right.

    Over the following weeks, I grew a renewed appreciation for my iPhone (now powered by a local SIM card), and constantly found myself pulling it out for all the things I had never used it for – to help open a bank account (you have to have a local mobile number and a phone that can at least receive authentication codes to be able to open an account in China), to make online reservations at restaurants (many of them don’t take reservations over the phone), to book an online appointment at a local salon and get a nice discount for the visit, to use an app to call cabs (Didi, the world largest ride-hailing service with nearly 400 million users across 40 cities in China), and of course, to make in-store purchases by scanning QR codes.

    Having followed and reported on tech trends for years, I was prepared for the role of smartphones in China. However, being there to experience and witness the smartphone culture first-hand, I still couldn’t help but constantly marvel at how involved my fellow citizens are today with their beloved phones.

       

    • Chinese are now the most engaged mobile phone users globally: Many visitors to China would probably share my amazement at Chinese consumers’ high smartphone engagements. According to data from GfK Consumer Life, Chinese today use their mobile phones to do more than their peers in any of the other 21 countries covered in our global study. On average, 61% of online Chinese consumers age 15+ did at least seven out of fourteen consistently tracked activities on their mobile phones in the past month, from social networking to online banking. This compares with 57% in South Korea, 34% in the US, and 32% in the UK.
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    • Older consumers drive the latest growth: It’s no longer just tech-savvy younger Chinese who are inseparable with their phones. Increasingly, it’s their grey-haired parents – and grandparents – as well.

      The biggest increase in mobile phone engagement since 2014 came from older Chinese age 50+, whose growing fascination with their phones was visible when we toured around Beijing. From restaurants to buses to community parks, I was always able to spot seniors being totally immersed in the little screens in their palms. By the end of our trip, my mom’s group of 70-80 year-old friends had convinced her to install WeChat, China’s massively popular mobile social networking app with now 889 million users. And content sharing to her account has been flowing non-stop ever since.

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    • China dwarfs the US in mobile commerce and payments: Our taxi driver wasn’t kidding when he said that you can survive in China’s large cities without a traditional wallet, as long as you’re equipped with a mobile one.

      From tiny street vendors to large supermarkets, numerous retailers of all types in Beijing accept mobile payments, often through popular apps Alipay and WeChat Pay. China’s relatively low plastic card penetration also contributes to the appeal of mobile wallets as a convenient non-cash alternative.

      Of course, smartphones are used not only for in-store payments, but online purchases. The latest data from GfK Consumer Life indicates that 61% of online Chinese mobile phone users used their handsets to buy something online in the past month, up 17 pts from 2014. This compares with 28% of American users, up 7 pts in the same time period. Last year, China’s biggest online shopping day Single’s Day raked in an eye-popping $17.8 billion in sales, with 82% coming from mobile transactions. To put that into perspective, last year’s record-setting Cyber Monday rang in $3.45 billion, with mobile accounting for around one-third of that revenue.

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    • Chinese companies on the rise in mobile technologies: Chinese consumers’ high engagement with their smartphones can be attributed in part to the innovative solutions from local tech giants.

      Tencent’s WeChat, launched in 2011, has built itself into a ‘super app’ that allows users to not only make video calls and group chat, but shop, make payments, book a hotel, hail a ride and play games all on one intuitive platform. Its ‘super app’ approach is often seen as inspiring even to tech giants in the West.

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    With a willing consumer and increasingly sophisticated local players, China is poised to continue to lead the evolution of the mobile culture. Brands trying to crack the Chinese market must recognize the essential role of mobile in the lives of these consumers. And for those curious about the future of mobile technologies, China – not the US – may be the closest to offer a glimpse.

    Veronica Chen is Vice President at GfK Consumer Life. To share your thoughts, please email veronica.chen@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

    [1]GfK PoS Measurement, 2016, Sales Units, USA and Mexico not included

    • 05/10/17
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Globally, concern for the environment is rising – and this has implications for brands

    Breaking news — people like clean air and water!

    Now get the fainting couch — sometimes people may even think about the environment when making a purchase decision!

    Sarcasm aside, it is easy to become jaded about people’s true levels of engagement with the environment and how this translates into purchase decisions.

    We’ve been tracking these fickle attitudes towards environmental consciousness, a.k.a. ‘green’ awareness, since the early 1970s, through GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer® and the GfK Consumer Life Worldwide Study.

    Generally, attitudes towards the environment track fairly closely with the state of the economy, i.e. good economy equals more concern for the environment, people willing to pay or make sacrifices for ‘green’ products.

    Environmental concern rising in markets around the world

    Currently, we are seeing the tide of environmental concern rise in many markets around the world.  From GfK’s Consumer Life Worldwide Study, averaged across 18 countries, 34% cite environmental pollution as one of the three things they are most concerned about.  This is up from 26% in 2011 and is now the #3 concern, behind “money enough to live right and pay the bills” (36% in 2016) and “inflation and high prices” (35% in 2016).

    In the US, recent GfK MRI data shows people increasingly see global warming as a serious threat.  It is important to note, however, that buying behavior for selected categories – mostly home products like light bulbs and cleaning liquids — has remained flat since 2010, according to GfK MRI.  Still, concern/awareness is up, which can be a precursor to increased purchasing behavior.

    So what does this mean for brands?  Here are three considerations to guide your efforts:

       

    1. Consider how (not if) environmental responsibility fits into your brands DNA. Remember, the environment may not be a major purchase driver for certain products or your target audience. For example, a ‘green’ laundry detergent will hold a different position in the minds of consumers when compared with other products. Still, regardless of your brand’s proposition,  you are not off the hook, though what you address and how you communicate efforts may differ.
    2. What shade of green is your customer? There are persistent and wide variations in awareness and concern among different groups – generations, parents versus non-parents, even pet owners and non-pet-owners.  For example, in the US, GfK MRI shows that consumers are slightly more likely now than in 2010 to give up convenience in return for a product that is environmentally safe – a trend more pronounced among 18 to 24 year olds. Knowing how important environmental responsibility is to your target group could prove a key to market success.
    3. Think beyond your product. It isn’t just about what people buy, but also what they do (e.g., recycling, consuming less overall). Educate and inspire consumers in ways that go beyond making a purchase to impact their experience with your brand.
    4.  

    Though some might believe otherwise, we are indeed in a period of rising environmental concern. The question is, will brands see this as an opportunity to connect.

    Tim Kenyon is Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at tim.kenyon@gfk.com.

    • 05/09/17
    • Global
    • English

    Why market intelligence is crucial for shaping country reputations

    The way a country is perceived makes a critical difference to the success of its business, investment, and tourism efforts, as well as its diplomatic and cultural relations with other nations. Those who choose to ignore this fact face a loss of “market share” in these fiercely competitive international fields. For example, in ten years following the 9/11 terror attacks and in absence of efforts to promote the country brand, the United States’ share in global revenues from tourism dwindled from 17.3% to 11.2% in 2010[i], a loss of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs for the national economy.

    Benchmarking country reputation and figuring priority themes

    In our experience, the biggest challenge to addressing the reputational weaknesses of nations is a lack of knowledge on what should be prioritized, and as a result communication budgets are spread too thin on topics and in markets that are not most relevant for progress. The first step in developing a strong nation brand is discovery of where the country stands in its current image and momentum.

    Place-branding research such as Anholt-GfK Nation Brand Index (NBI) serves precisely this purpose, benchmarking the country reputation and helping identify current barriers to building a strong, attractive nation brand and priorities and themes to address in brand communications to the outside world. For a nation to successfully differentiate and communicate its value on the global scene, understanding gaps in knowledge and misconceptions about its brand promise and identity is the most critical first step.

    Let’s discuss a couple of NBI findings to illustrate these points.

    Case of Saudi Arabia: The land of unknown

    The case of Saudi Arabia confirms an old axiom that lack of familiarity often breeds negativity. The country consistently ranks among the bottom ten nations ranked in NBI and it is also year to year found among the least familiar to the global public. Interestingly, those who have visited the country rank it much more favorably than those who have not. By the same token, a more positive outlook on Saudi Arabia comes from Egypt and India, countries with the strongest working ties with it. By contrast, when it comes to views on Saudi Arabia, Americans are among the least familiar with and most negatively inclined towards the country.

    Among key drivers of its favorability are views on Saudi Arabia as a technologically progressive country. According to NBI, the country is well-known as an oil producer, recognized for its affluence, yet its culture and people receive almost no credit from the global public. Amazingly, a country that is a birth place of Islam and replete with unique historical sites is virtually unknown for its heritage to the rest of the world.

    Case of Turkey: Turbulent year and reputational challenges

    The need to address short-term reputational impacts on first priority basis is well illustrated by the case of Turkey. Based on NBI data, this country was making good progress in recent years in building a strong nation brand, getting wide recognition in particular for its cultural heritage and the welcoming nature of its people.

    In the past twelve months however, Turkey’s reputation has suffered, in the wake of an attempted coup d’état and government measures that followed. Assessments of Turkey’s Governance have declined most dramatically — by over three and a half points, with its ranking dropping from #35 in 2015 to #43. Perceptions of the Turkish government’s honesty and competency, as well as the country’s commitment to peace and security, have turned much more negative.

    Now, Turkey ties with Kenya at #47 for its government’s honesty and competence, and ranks #48 for its commitment to ensuring peace and security, ahead of only Nigeria and Iran. The NBI findings suggest that addressing these weaknesses of Turkey’s reputation is the most immediate task for its brand champions.

    Conclusion

    As with product brands and probably even more so given their greater complexity, market intelligence is crucial for informing a nation’s brand development plans, promotional activities, and strategic messaging. Benchmarking the reputation of a country informs on its global value while identifying possible areas of improvement that can open the door for business, investment and tourism opportunities.

    [i] New York Times, April 2, 2012

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • GfK and Eyeota consumer purchasing-power retail data available to advertisers across Europe
    • 05/09/17
    • Press
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Global
    • English

    GfK and Eyeota consumer purchasing-power retail data available to advertisers across Europe

    “Retail Purchasing Power” and “Purchasing Power for Retail Product Lines” improve the accuracy of targeting consumers online according to their offline shopping habits.

    • 05/05/17
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    The smart home finds its voice

    Voice-controlled technology has long excited the minds of sci-fi buffs and technological prophets. Today, its promise of freeing up our hands and eyes in exchange for a more seamless user experience seems closer than ever before. Indeed, voice recognition has evolved from providing farcical misinterpretations in its infancy, to a stage where it successfully detects 95% of human speech – as much as we humans do ourselves. The hype around voice tech was at full display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, where a central theme to new product launches, no matter how different from one another, was what kind of voice compatibility they would be offering.

    The arrival of Google Home

    This Thursday, Google Home arrived for British consumers – nearly six months after its main competitor, the Amazon Echo. Such “smart” speakers are a big part of the voice push, providing simultaneously the cockpit and pilot for your smart home products. Smart home products in this instance include anything that makes your home more interactive – from mood-sensitive lighting that can adapt to your entertainment needs, to plug sockets that will have fresh toast and coffee ready just as you are slipping out of bed in the morning.

    The appeal of smart home technology

    According to GfK Point of Sale data, almost 400,000 smart home products have been sold since the beginning of 2016 up until February 2017. Of these devices, over 60% work across multiple platforms. Lighting solutions have proven particularly popular so far, accounting for a significant proportion of the sales volume, perhaps because they offer the opportunity to test out the new technology without much expense and commitment.

    The take-up of these products is perhaps not surprising given that UK consumers rated smart home highest among the technologies they consider most likely to have an impact on their lives (47%), above other innovations such as wearables and mobile payments (GfK Smart Home, 2015). The areas respondents found most appealing were exactly the ones that the Amazon Echo and Google Home cater for – Security & Control (38%), Energy and Lighting (36%), and Entertainment & Connectivity (36%).

    For now, there seems to be willingness among manufacturers to provide early adopters with choice and integrate as many different voice assistants as possible. However, as the smart home becomes mass market, hub providers like Amazon and Google may demand exclusivity to encourage usage of their own platform. A potential lack of cross-platform compatibility that would make your smart devices “unwilling” to talk to each other could put consumers off the entire smart home proposition.

    The voice assistant arms race

    Amazon and Google may have been quickest to come to market in terms of standalone hardware, but they are by no means the only participants in the voice assistant arms race. While Apple has not released its own dedicated product, their popular voice assistant Siri in combination with the Apple Home app carries out comparable functions. Similarly, with Microsoft already possessing their own voice assistant in Cortana and Samsung recently launching Bixby alongside the Galaxy S8, this space looks set for further growth in the year ahead.

    We will continue to track adoption of voice automation and smart home technology. If you would like more information, please contact Toby Jarvis, Account Manager – Consumer Electronics, toby.jarvis@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 05/03/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Valuing experiences over ‘stuff’: How consumers are shaping retail and media

    Whether we are talking shopping, viewing content, traveling or just casually socializing with friends, experience takes center stage for today’s consumers.

    The reason for this is that experiences are the modern world’s social currency, so the more we fight for them the better we can market ourselves to others. And the more experiences we gather, the better individuals we become, a truth that touches a nerve across age groups and generations, but more so for the up-to-35 year olds, Millennials or just a good mix of Gen Y and Z.

     

    Focusing on experience in a technologically evolving environment

    Rapid technological changes have impacted the way consumers perform everyday tasks. Internet enabled smart phones and tablets have placed the power in the consumers’ hands. Literally. For the last few years, online purchasing has been gaining a lot of momentum, beating the lines, registers and check outs of brick-and-mortar stores. The advancements of app shopping technology and the rise (until recently) of shopping loyalty were this trend’s enablers. But do consumers now want more?

    Whilst technology (ie. the internet) is used widely to search for information about a product, check online reviews, compare prices and check availability, experiencing the actual product/item is emerging as an intermediate step before the final purchase occurs.

     

    Think of a typical pre-Christmas shopping day. Consumers get experiences dosed up on atmosphere, lights and odors by visiting shops and malls whilst they are examining present options only to go back home and buy them online that same evening, often at a lower price. Now, this is no longer a behavior observed before the Festive season; technology ignited consumers combining seamless online and offline purchasing (and vice versa) is an everyday occurrence.

     

    The two channels have become completely intertwined in the consumer’s mind. Physical retail’s response was to embrace new ways to fuel the consumer’s imagination and please the senses while overcompensating for the digital medium’s inability to do so. As a result, stores are now becoming less about replenishment whilst focusing increasingly on experience rather than transactions.

    The ‘experience’ revolution’s effect on media and entertainment

    When it comes to experiencing content, shying away from physical purchases of DVDs and Blu-rays is nothing new. What’s more interesting is consumers’ muted response to downloading content. Most recently, consumers spoke loudly by remaining unexcited about Netflix’s newly introduced downloading option – only 3% of its subscribers have downloaded content since its launch back in November last year. (© GfK 2017 SVOD Content Consumption Tracker).

    Owning content, even if it’s just digitally, comes with the headache of storing and is missing out on ‘the thrill of the moment’ experience, which comes to life when deciding what to stream and how much of it. Streaming revolutionized the means to watch content and gave birth to a whole new viewing experience: binge-viewing.

    The binge-viewing phenomenon

    Two decades ago, back-to-back episodes of our favorite series was more than enough for a series enthusiast to make an appointment to view and turn the evening into a social event. The much cooler version of this, which gives full control over to the viewer about ‘what, when & how much’, is the binge-viewing phenomenon. ‘I stayed up all night to catch up on X’ is now a viewing treat even for the younger Gen Xs (around 40), who (via the delights of streaming) relive their student life instantanés.

    The evolution of our viewing experience re-shaped the watercooler moments in the office, which have been replaced with questions such as: “how far along are you?”, whilst there is a certain pressure on viewers to have covered (or sampled at least) the most talked about shows.

    To finesse our newly experienced viewing addiction, content creators had to revisit their scripting techniques; drip-feeding thrill and suspense throughout all episodes rather than keeping cliffhangers for the end of a series. This new, far superior viewing experience has created monster consumers, who expect everything (all content) on anything (all platforms), leaving content providers scratching their heads on the new viable model.

    Far from implying that the streaming technology is directly linked to the death of physical media, it feels that the ease of streaming content legally (or illegally) has further downgraded the sense of ownership here with DVDs and Blu-rays gathering shelf dust and the odd video rental shop serving as a museum of the pre-digital era.

    Does the balance between experiences over ‘stuff’ shift when our home is the focus?

    Technology has exploded and even though consumers take notice, they are the ones who dictate the rhythm when it comes to adopting it. Especially when it comes to technology targeting their own home. Our homes may be increasingly seen as entertainment & hobby centers, but first and foremost, they remain our private retreats. Virtual Reality gadgets and Smart Home tech are promising even more elevated sensory experiences to the average consumer, however their appeal still remains quite niche, limiting their popularity to birthday presents for loved ones.

    Cost, security issues and data privacy concerns seem to counterbalance our urge to create edgy experiences in this instance. Instead, we are seeing a U-turn to simpler things and times, like the taking up of cross stitching or micro brewing by sub-groups of the younger generations, who perceive such hobbies as an antidote to fast technology.

    One thing is certain: The search for memorable experiences continues, not least because compared to possessions, these intangible, non-measurable moments generate a feeling of happiness that doesn’t evaporate.

    *This article was originally posted on TM Forum Live

    Mary Kyriakidi is the Director of Media & Entertainment at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email her at mary.kyriakidi@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

    • 05/02/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Will online become the channel of choice for technical consumer goods?

    Internet sales have grown remarkably in recent years in Europe. In the technical consumer goods (TCGs) category, according to our POS Tracking data, online’s share of overall sales in terms of value passed the 10% mark about ten years ago. It exceeded the 20% milestone in 2014 to reach almost 24% in 2016. But is this trend set to continue? This is the big question and the cause of many a sleepless night for retail managers and sales and marketing directors.

    Online’s share of overall sales in Europe varies between countries and product groups

    Our POS Tracking data shows that many markets in Europe can be considered mature in terms of e-commerce, with their online sales accounting for 20% or more of overall sales of TCGs in 2016 (see infographic).

    Diving deeper into our POS data, online’s share of overall sales for certain categories of TCGs in certain countries is particularly strong at close to – or more than – 40%. This is the case with:

       

    • photographic equipment in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia and Great Britain
    • IT products in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Netherlands
    • telecommunication with Czech Republic and the Netherlands
    • small domestic appliances in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands
    • major domestic appliances in the Czech Republic and Great Britain.
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    Other categories of products that you might think would sell better in a physical store where they can be seen and tried first, also sell well online. Internet sales of vacuum cleaner robots, for example, have reached about a 60% share of overall sales of this product in Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands (see table below). Online’s share of overall sales of wearables in Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands, and drones in Germany and Great Britain, have achieved a similar level. In some cases, it has increased its share further still recently.

    But this trend isn’t just impacting the sales of the latest generation of TCGs. More traditional white goods such as tumble dryers are also selling well online in certain countries. In the Czech Republic and Great Britain, for instance, online’s share of overall sales for this product is about 50%.

     

    Drivers of – and differences in – online sales penetration

    The balance between online and traditional channels’ share of overall sales is fluid and influenced by a range of factors including category idiosyncrasies, retailers’ strategies and shopper behavior. One of the biggest drivers of online sales has been retailers’ pricing strategies. As internet sales have matured, we’ve observed a general move by retail players towards aligning their online and offline prices in line with consumers’ belief that a product should be priced the same regardless of whether it is sold online or in a store (GfK FutureBuy, 2016).

     

    In Germany, for example, on average, the same TV is priced the same whether it is bought online or offline, and has been for the last couple of years. Our POS data shows that online’s share of sales for TVs in Germany is about 20%. However, there are examples where a product is priced lower online, as is the case with drones, in Germany, and online’s share of sales is higher at 61%.

    Pricing strategies impact on channel choice

    Price Index Development 2008 – 2016, Germany

    1 Top 50 identical items sold online and offline | Based below 50 items

    Saving money, however, is only one motivation that drives consumers’ purchase journeys and channel choices. While the online option is often chosen for financial and convenience reasons, seeing and feeling a product before purchasing it clearly drives shoppers to visit physical stores.

    Top five factors driving consumers’ channel choice

    GfK FutureBuy 2016

     

    Consumers currently favor an omnichannel approach

    The differences between online and traditional shopping channels have so far led consumers to use them both on their path to purchase. What the availability of internet shopping has done is provide consumers with a level of transparency on pricing, among other things, that has encouraged them to adopt an omnichannel approach to shopping. They know that by conducting their own research across online and offline channels before making a purchase they can get the best deal.

    So, what of the future of online sales?

    Will the growth in online sales share of overall sales continue? If consumers favor using channels for different reasons, will we instead arrive at a point of balance between online and offline sales in the future?

    There is one certainty: we cannot sit back and wait to find out. The retail world is constantly changing. Neither online nor traditional channels’ share of overall sales of TCGs is fixed. To the contrary, they will continue to fluctuate and be influenced by Connected Consumers’ shopping behavior, and retailers’ – successful or unsuccessful – strategies and tactics for driving channel choice.

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    Source of data: if not stated otherwise, GfK POS Tracking

    Markus Tuschl is the Global Director of Digital Retail at GfK. To share your thoughts please email markus.tuschl@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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