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    • 06/26/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    3 things Connected Consumers want from their smart home

    Whether it’s smart speakers, thermostats or refrigerators, one thing is clear. The much hailed about ‘internet of things’ is slowly but certainly becoming a reality.

    The benefits are obvious for customers – smart homes represent the ultimate in convenience. Back in 2015, Amazon’s Dash button for Tide captured our imaginations by showing us that buying washing detergent need not involve routine, mind-numbing trips to the supermarket.

    Of course, there are other benefits. According to NEST, the company’s programmable thermostats helped customers save between $131 to $145 each year.

    Smart homes benefit businesses too. Other than making products easily available to consumers, it also changes the way brands interact with them.

    In an age where consumers are far less loyal to brands than they used to be, creating a memorable and personalized experience for customers can help one stand out from the clutter.

    Smart homes in Asia – where’s the growth?

    According to a report by the Singapore Business Review, Asia’s smart home market is expected to reach $115 billion by 2030. That’s huge news.

    Globally, smart air conditioners registered sales amounting $42 million in 2016, with Taiwan leading the market share in Asia, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam demonstrating sizable growth.

    As expected, China, with its exploding middle class and strong manufacturing and tech ecosystem will lead this charge. Japan is the other major player. Not only is it already among the world’s top five global markets when it comes to smart home penetration, its aging population will very likely continue to drive growth with the adoption of smart health and wellness solutions.

    What are some barriers in adoption?

    Despite the vast potential the smart home industry has, there is still some way to go before the technology truly becomes mainstream. In our research, we found that the most common smart device found in homes is still the Smart TV. 17.38 million were sold in Europe alone in 2016, up from merely 5.61 million in 2011.

    In comparison, to date, approximately only 8.2 million people own Amazon Echo unit, a smart speaker connected to Alexa, a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service which responds to your voice commands, plays music, controls your smart home, and gives you information on news and the weather.

    Why is this the case? Here are three areas where we think the industry can improve on.


    At present, the proliferation of devices, appliances, manufacturers and retailers in the market is confusing consumers. To make matters worse, not all smart appliances work with one another. That makes the buying experience downright perplexing, especially considering how much these cutting-edge devices cost.

    The solution? We believe that it’s about building the right user experience. We have to deeply examine the user and the marketplace to identify a new set of unmet needs that offer opportunities for customer innovation. In this regard, a concept testing approach will be beneficial as it measures concepts that audiences are likely to embrace, and the extent to which the concept improves their lives, placing emphasis on consumers’ needs. With access to consumers’ emotional reactions such as level of excitement and engagement to the product concept, brands are better equipped to proactively enhance their product aligned to consumer behavior and perceptions.


    The benefits of a smart home, and the way it will enhance consumers’ lives, need to be clearly communicated, and adapted to the different needs of each part of the market.

    For instance, when we asked people why they monitored or controlled a smart device in their home, the responses differed greatly by age group. 62% of Boomers chose “To save money by reducing my utility costs” as their main consideration. In contrast, Gen X-ers ranked “To keep my home safe and secure” as their top priority.

    Consumers have individual ways of building up commitment, energy and willingness to act. Therefore, the brands that successfully communicate the affordability of the product, ease of use and the value it brings, often see success in facilitating adoption.


    In our 2017 Tech Trends Report, we found that the older Millennials (Gen Y) are early adopters and leading the charge, with 33% globally planning to purchase smart devices in the next two – three years, compared to 28% of younger Millennials.

    Therefore, instead of targeting indiscriminately, brands need to concentrate their efforts on the segments that matter most.

    Smart devices and the Connected Consumer

    For businesses to successfully utilize the potential of smart home devices, it is first crucial to understand the type of consumers they are targeting.

    We live in the era of what we like to call the ‘Connected Consumer’, and there are three key benefits they seek from brands – freedom, acceleration and intimacy. Simply put, that means:

    • They want brands and businesses to help make their lives simple and convenient. From smartphones to smart homes, they do so with the myriad of devices at their disposal.
    • They have reduced attention spans as compared to their predecessors. That means that simplicity, ease-of-use and a seamless experience is crucial to retaining their interest. More than half (54%) of consumers globally agree that, “If a new technology product is not simple to use, I lose interest.”
    • They expect an experience when they interact with a brand. Using customer and data analytics – possibly collected using smart home devices – businesses that deliver that engagement can generate long-term relationships.

    Hence, it is increasingly crucial for brands to harness current and emerging technologies to deliver personalized experiences and enhance living, thus deepening customer loyalty.

    As smart homes become a reality, the most successful brands will be those that deliver the simple, seamless experience that consumers seek.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.













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    • 06/23/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Optimize your retail environment: How to fill up shopping baskets and maximize sales

    To truly conquer the connected shopper, you need to encourage your customers to buy as much as possible in one shopping journey. In today’s retail environment, shoppers are presented with overwhelming choice. Here’s how you can influence their decision-making to ensure they buy as much as possible from your product suite and brand.

    Combating shopping on “autopilot”

    Shoppers have always made hundreds of decisions in-store, and now connectivity has created an explosion of further options. To help cope with the confusion of too much choice, consumers tend to shop on “autopilot”, navigating real and virtual stores by the products and brands they know and have bought before. If you’re to encourage shoppers to buy more from you in a single visit, you need to understand this behavior to interrupt and change it. You also need to make the experience of shopping as easy and convenient as possible.

    One way to do this is to sell to consumers’ “need states”. Whether it’s a last-minute child’s birthday party invite to an impromptu barbeque, organizing products by “need states” rather than category in a highly effective way to fill shoppers’ baskets both in-store and online. For example, displaying cards and wrap next to the toys is an effective way to ensure that you maximize sales from the birthday party shopper. It also discourages them from making a second shopping trip to a stationer to buy gift wrap materials. The same technique can be used online – for example, by suggesting other barbeque related products the moment a shopper adds burgers to their trolley.

    Follow the shopper in the real and virtual store

    We help you “follow” the customer journey by combining numerous behavioral data sources with observations and interviews to create a 360° profile of today’s connected shopper. Virtual stores enable you to decipher decision-making at the point of purchase – both in-store and at the shelf. For example, it can help you identify optimum product assortment and understand which promotions are most effective in-store. You can also use it to assess the impact of packaging on consumers, perfect your pricing strategies and evaluate the customer experience. Virtual stores are also key in allowing you to understand shoppers’ need states and then to organize your offering to sell to them.

    Optimizing your retail environment

    Knowledge is power when it comes to conquering the connected shopper. By measuring the retail environment with the many data sources available, you will be empowered to optimize it. By evaluating in-store activities, you can maximize your investment in marketing, and generate sales across channels, store formats, categories, segments and variants. Let data be your guide.

    Marco Wolters is Global Industry Lead Fashion, Home & Lifestyle at GfK. He can be reached at Marco.Wolters@gfk.com.













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  • Map of the month: GfK Purchasing Power for consumer electronics, ICT, and photography, France 2016
    • 06/22/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • RegioGraph
    • Geodata
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the month: GfK Purchasing Power for consumer electronics, ICT, and photography, France 2016

    GfK's Map of the Month for June illustrates the 2016 regional distribution of purchasing power for consumer electronics and related products at the level of France's departments (data source: GfK Purchasing Power for Retail Product Lines, France 2016). Companies that sell these products can use these insights to align their sales and marketing strategies with the regional product potential.

    • 06/21/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Get them out to the ball game: How brands can leverage the power of sports fans

    As the summer of 2017 approaches in the US, there’s a veritable buffet for sports fans to enjoy. The Warriors and Penguins have been crowned champions but baseball, soccer, racing, golf and tennis now fill the schedule. I will be a part of the crowds this summer, heading to Connecticut to see the US national soccer team play Ghana, to Citi Field for Mets games, and to Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the US Open.

    It’s also a time of change for sports teams and brands, as multiple sources of entertainment compete for our attention. We have more options to consume sports than ever before. Sports programming on television alone has increased by 160% since 2005, and this does not include the voluminous streaming options from services like ESPN3.

    Fans are also changing how we watch sports, using a mix of devices, and streaming this content now more than ever. GfK Consumer Life has found that one in five sports fans watch live events on their mobile phones (+14 pts from Americans overall). Additionally, sports fans are more likely to own streaming devices like Apple TV or Roku (34%, +10 pts).

    Facing these challenges, sports franchises and brands need to think creatively to keep fans engaged; here are a few ways they can do that:

    1. Emphasize experience. American sports fans want experiences when we show up at the stadium: 63% (+10 pts from Americans overall) agree that “experiences are more important than possessions.” It is the #1 attitude to life among American sports fans.  To keep us interested, ensure that fans have memorable and personalized experiences that reward us for the time we have invested. Recently, the New York Red Bulls hosted an event at ArteVino in Hoboken, NJ, where fans were able to paint pictures and drink wine with some of the MLS team’s players.
    2. Expand the idea of community. American sports fans are joiners: 48% agree that “the groups that I belong to say a lot about me” (+16 pts from America overall). While sports fans spend more time with friends on a weekly basis (4.9 hours vs. 3.5 hours). Staying continuously engaged in this busy world is difficult. Fortunately, sports leagues and franchises can nurture virtual communities with apps to keep fans connected – this makes sense given that sports fans are almost twice as likely as the average American to describe virtual interactions as just as good as in-person ones. The Rooter app was recently released to help connect fans of soccer and Indian online cricket during live events; an American version cannot be far away.
    3. Keep them active. American sports fans don’t just watch sports, we play them. Over half (59%, +35 pts from Americans overall) of fans play sports at least once a week, and 82% exercise just as often (+17 pts). If a team wants to get these fans to come to the stadium more often, a good way to reach them would be to sponsor a 5k race on game day like the NHL’s LA Kings or promote a weekly recreational league in the area. Brands can also align with sports entities that attract those who pursue an active lifestyle. An example of this is Michelob Ultra bringing their brand to active fans by becoming the official beer of the World Surf League.
    4. Tap into fans’ passions. Beer is a mainstay at American tailgate parties, so it’s not surprising that American sports fans are more likely to drink beer on a weekly basis (51% vs. 30% of total). While domestic beer remains popular among American fans, many are turning to craft beer. Nearly a third of the fans who drink beer have craft beer on a weekly basis. Collaborating with local brewers is a new and interesting way to increase the link between a team and its fans. Minnesota United FC of MLS has embraced this idea by working with Surly Brewing in Minneapolis to create the Rising North Pale Ale. Brands can also work to find partnerships that highlight tailgating food. NASCAR and Fox Sports recently teamed up with Allrecipes to create a food-focused social media community where fans can share their favorite tailgate recipes.

    Using these strategies will help to strengthen relationships with sports fans and keep us coming to the stadium or tuning to whatever screen we prefer. By realizing that sports fans aren’t just customers – we can also be a team’s biggest advocate online, at the local sports bar, or in the stands – you can truly leverage the power of this group.

    Adam Swift is a Senior Analyst on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at adam.swift@gfk.com.

  • GfK wins Innovation Prize from the Association of German Market and Social Researchers
    • 06/21/17
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    GfK wins Innovation Prize from the Association of German Market and Social Researchers

    GfK has won the 2017 Innovation Prize awarded by Association of German Market and Social Researchers (BVM). The award recognizes GfK’s innovative approach that allows new product and service concepts to be tested using an analysis of verbal feedback. The prize was awarded at the 52nd Congress of German Market Research in Berlin on June 19th 2017. 

    • 06/19/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Improving customer loyalty and retail experience through mobile payments

    Eight years ago, Starbucks developed its own app for mobile payments. Today, it’s still held up as the gold standard in the United States.

    In Asia’s rapidly developing market, where mobile payment is eight to nine years ahead of the West, things are quite different.

    In China, you can mobile pay for everything from a cab to a mojito or utility bill. In 2015, WeChat registered more financial transactions in one day than PayPal did during the entire 12 months.

    But it’s not just China that’s adopting the trend. Mobile payment is also making massive inroads in Southeast Asia as shopping apps are gaining popularity. In Singapore alone, there are 30,000 retail points accepting contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Android and Samsung Pay.

    In Indonesia, the most populous country in the region with 250 million people, most of the big traditional retailers are unveiling e-commerce plans of their own. In a recent GfK study: The Connected Asian Consumer, consumers in Singapore and Indonesia also reported fairly high usage incidence of shopping apps (37 and 35 percent respectively). This growth is fuelled by affordable smartphones, a massive young and tech-savvy population and efforts by governments and telco operators to expand and improve high-speed wireless networks.

    The future has never been clearer. It’s only a matter of time before mobile payment goes mainstream.

    The Connected Consumer

    Unfortunately for traditional retailers, the age of e-commerce has also produced a new consumer – we like to call them the ‘Connected Consumer’ – and their behaviors are shaping the future of retail.

    In the GfK 2016 FutureBuy survey of 20,000 consumers in 20 markets, it was found that shoppers are becoming less loyal to any one retailer. Almost half (46%) of all consumers (14-65 year olds) stated they were less loyal when shopping. This figure rises among the youngest consumers to 53% of Gen Y (18-29 years), and six in ten (58%) of Gen Z (14-17 years).

    For retailers who understand the Connected Consumer, there are opportunities to stay ahead of the competition – and mobile payments are a huge part of it.

    Customer loyalty

    Despite becoming less loyal, many Connected Consumers expect an omnichannel shopping experience when they interact with a brand. Connected Consumers in APAC seek the best of both worlds.

    For example, shoppers in China are the most likely to embrace omnichannel shopping – seven in 10 (71%) shop both online and in-store while Australian shoppers are the most likely to shun online: almost two thirds (62%) shop exclusively in-store. In contrast, Indians lead the way in online shopping with almost one quarter (23%) shopping the category exclusively online.

    Therefore it is important for retailers to understand the new reality of the omnichannel consumer, and know that the ‘whatever, whenever’ culture demands that user experience is seamless across all devices. If retailers don’t understand this, customers will simply delete their app and move on.

    We predict that mobile payment could halt the current trend for a decline in shopper loyalty. It makes sense, really. There are numerous benefits for shoppers: avoiding queues, centralizing loyalty rewards, checking stock, ordering ahead, enjoying customized offers and easy price comparison.

    At the same time, using customer and data analytics, retailers can receive customer data to offer more personalized services. In turn, this presents an opportunity to generate long-term relationships.

    However, it is important to note that not all Connected Consumers are the same. For example, older consumers aren’t as comfortable with sharing personal information as younger consumers.

    Understanding the shopper’s purchase journey is easier these days with research intelligence offering detailed information on the route shoppers take when making a purchase, and ways in which online and offline touchpoints influence their decisions. We believe that brands that understand, respect and protect consumers’ individual boundaries will deserve the loyalty they earn by doing so.

    As mobile payments continue to grow in APAC, businesses in various sectors such as financial services, cybersecurity and telco stand to gain and can evolve to support the changing landscape.

    For example, for telco operators, engaging with retail merchants and partners can help strengthen the overall service ecosystem to provide better end user experiences for consumers. Additionally, the design and development of payment services can also be integrated with other emerging technologies and competencies to offer differentiation to target audiences.

    Customer experiences

    Loyalty is great, but to really retain customers in today’s omnichannel space, shopping experience is equally important.

    To Connected Consumers, simplicity and convenience is paramount. Not only do they expect everything quickly, they also lose their patience faster.

    What does that mean for retailers?

    For large retailers, mobile payment offers the opportunity to segment and target consumers much more effectively with highly personalized offers and incentives. Discounts and offers can be integrated into mobile payment, replacing the need for physical coupons and entering information into a terminal. Connected Consumers will wave goodbye to the traditional checkout queue and benefit from a wealth of customized rewards.

    Mobile payment also offers a chance for small retailers to move into a new era of retailing. Freed from high transaction fees and with new ways to connect with consumers, small retailers can now embark on the kind of personalization and targeting that is usually the privilege of larger players.

    With e-commerce here to stay, there is plenty of potential for retail businesses to leverage research intelligence to adequately design and develop strategies to target this group of consumers. Essentially, the key to success is to fully understand shopper behavior and be led by what consumers ultimately want, without being blinded by what the technology can do.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

  • Empowering a global retailer to grow its online product assortment
    • 06/19/17
    • Retail
    • Product Catalogs
    • Global
    • English

    Empowering a global retailer to grow its online product assortment

    We help one of the world’s largest retailers improve its online shopping experience, increase sales and compete more effectively with digital rivals.

    • 06/16/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Online Pricing Intelligence
    • Global
    • English

    Fine-tune and optimize your cross-channel pricing for better brand positioning

    Today’s Connected Consumers are increasingly price sensitive. According to our FutureBuy 2016 study, 58% of shoppers compare prices in different stores and more than a third (39%) use price comparison and discount websites. Consequently, promotional activity is intensifying as retailers and manufacturers battle to attract consumers with better deals. It is therefore vital that your pricing strategy is perfectly pitched.

    Perfecting pricing

    Defining and optimizing your pricing requires ongoing investment to ensure you are a) attracting buyers and b) securing your profit margins and brand positioning. You therefore need to continually monitor pricing dynamics and promotions across all channels: in-store, online and in print (ads, circulars, all relevant retailers and publications).

    Reviewing pricing strategies doesn’t necessarily mean price drops. It might be that, within the context of the market, your products are undervalued. You could not only be missing out on valuable margin, but also negatively impacting your brand positioning in the eyes of your target customer. A small increase in your price could have a significant impact, so this analysis can be hugely rewarding. In a recent project, we helped our client recognize that the strength of its brand justified higher price points. As a result, it claimed back valuable margin from its competitors. However, pricing that is too high could cause deal-seeking consumers to look elsewhere, so it’s important to find the sweet spot that is just right for consumers.

    Managing price erosion

    Price erosion is a sometimes unavoidable part of the product lifecycle, but manufacturers and retailers that have the ability to track both their online and offline pricing are better equipped to slow down unwanted price drops and ultimately maximize their margins.  Spotting price erosion early, before the price becomes set at that level, allows brands to be able to react to the correct market activity so they can bring back the highest ROI from their promotions.

    A competitive advantage

    With an overview of pricing, you can answer questions such as what is my product’s daily market price (advertised/promoted)? Is my pricing policy being followed? Is my pricing right for my audience – not too high, or low? What’s the ideal price gap between my product and that of my competitors?

    Crucially, we can help you track your pricing right down to an SKU level across the entire length of the customer journey. You can also combine this intelligence with Point of Sales Tracking data to determine the real return on investment of your pricing strategy.

    With these tools and techniques, you can fine-tune your pricing across all channels to optimize your brand positioning, and maximize your sales and profit. It’s a key tactic in your strategy to conquer the connected shopper.

    James Rudd is a Business Developer at GfK. He can be reached at James.Rudd@gfk.com.













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  • 360° Shopper insights: Identify future consumer needs
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Identify future consumer needs

    Watch our video to explore the challenges, opportunities, research and benefits of identifying future consumer needs.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Converting consumers into browsers
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Converting consumers into browsers

    Watch our video to discover exactly what it takes to turn consumers into your brand browsers.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Turning browsers into buyers
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Turning browsers into buyers

    Watch our video to improve and optimize the conversion rate of brand browsers into your buyers.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Filling the shopping basket
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Filling the shopping basket

    Watch our video to maximize your sales and marketing investments by ensuring shopping baskets and carts are filled.