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  • Christoph Erbenich joins GfK as Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer
    • 07/10/17
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    Christoph Erbenich joins GfK as Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer

    GfK SE takes an important step towards accelerating its digital transformation by appointing Christoph D. Erbenich as Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, effective August 1, 2017.

  • Dr. Gerhard Hausruckinger leaves GfK
    • 07/10/17
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    Dr. Gerhard Hausruckinger leaves GfK

    Dr. Gerhard Hausruckinger has reached a mutual agreement with GfK’s Supervisory Board to resign from his office as member of the Management Board responsible for the Consumer Choices sector.

  • Tech Trends 2017 Vol. 2: Latest technologies and a growing 5G trend
    • 07/10/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Tech Trends 2017 Vol. 2: Latest technologies and a growing 5G trend

    We thought it was time to take another look at the hottest technologies impacting consumers’ lives and talk about a brand new trend which is set to transform today’s global industries and businesses.

  • Tech Trends 2017: Why 5G is one of the biggest mobile technology trends
    • 07/10/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Tech Trends 2017: Why 5G is one of the biggest mobile technology trends

    We have identified and included what will certainly be one of the biggest trends of the future – 5G. Explore our infographic and find out more.

  • Tech Trends 2017 Vol. 2: 5G, the next big trend in technology!
    • 07/10/17
    • Global
    • English

    Tech Trends 2017 Vol. 2: 5G, the next big trend in technology!

    Tech Trends 2017 is back – and it’s better than ever. We thought it was time to take another look at the hottest technologies to see how they are continuously impacting consumers’ lives.

  • White Paper: Geomarketing for automotive retail
    • 07/07/17
    • Automotive
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Global
    • English

    White Paper: Geomarketing for automotive retail

    Digital technologies have changed the way consumers approach driving, from automated parking and steering to monitoring car stats via digital devices. This evolution has affected every aspect of the retail and market scene. Today's technosavvy consumers use apps and social media to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness. These expectations also apply to the automotive industry.

    • 07/06/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Strong momentum for built-in major domestic appliances an opportunity for brands

    Built-in major domestic appliances (MDAs) like built-in hobs, cookers/stoves, dish washers, freezers, microwaves, tumble dryers and washing machines were the pacemaker in global sales growth in the market in 2016. Taking almost $1 of every $4 spent, sales of built-in MDAs increased 3.6%. Without the contribution of built-in, the global MDA market would not have grown at all in 2016. And we see continued momentum for built-in in 2017.

    What is making the built-in market so attractive? Compared to freestanding products, built-in often trades at a substantial premium. Built-in refrigerators, for example, can retail at $764 as a global average, some 50% more than a freestanding refrigerator. Built-in dishwashers are selling at a 20% premium, compared to their freestanding counterparts. Built-in MDAs are a compelling business opportunity that manufacturers won’t want to miss.

    Europe is still the key market

    The key market is Western Europe, where built-in appliances enjoy 39% share of sales value. The countries in which built-in is most popular are Germany and The Netherlands (see table below). Central East Europe is now picking up, with Poland taking the lead, showing double-digit annual value growth rates. Outside Europe, built-in MDAs enjoy their highest share in China, followed by Australia and the US. While European, US and Australian built-in markets are already highly developed, China still focuses mainly on hobs and hoods. Apart from China, Turkey is one of the most dynamic geographic markets for built-in products. In Latin America, where built-in is still comparatively underdeveloped, Columbia is the star.

    The momentum of built-in has continued and a highlight of the first quarter of 2017 is the clear strength of Turkey.

    Built-in share value of overall MDA sales (January – April 2017)


    [1] In value (local currency)

    [2] Source: MDA World Market Estimation (forecast 2017)

    Growth in Europe is due to technology and economy

    Built-in appliances are benefiting from high consumer spending in the face of historically low interest rates. In this environment, premium segments currently gain significant momentum. Forces driving the market include demand for a healthier lifestyle. One example is cooking with steam.

    Consumer demand for convenience and time-saving has led to a strong performance of pyrolytic ovens and induction hobs. New form-factors like hobs with integrated hoods are also driving the market. Other growth factors are energy efficiency and environmental motivations such as the ability to cut down on the use of water or electricity. Today’s Connected Consumer is also looking for smart built-in products such as hoods that communicate with the cooker to ensure optimal power use.

    Market size and growth of key built-in markets in West Europe3 (January – April 2017)

    [3] Source: GfK Point of Sales, data for 14 countries in Western Europe

    Middle-class demand drives Chinese built-in market

    And outside Europe? The main factor is the rising middle class – especially in China. In this market, affluent urban tastes mean the consumer trend is for a kitchen finish in the contemporary Western style.

    We expect the excitement around built-in appliances to continue and look forward to seeing the growth figures for all of 2017.













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    • 07/05/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Conquering the Connected Shopper and their multiple paths to purchase

    Conquering today’s connected shopper is a battle. Consumers’ expectations of convenience, choice, price and experience are continually escalating.

    Whatever you make or sell, the true power rests in the palm of shoppers’ hands. The “always-on” culture of connectivity puts both manufacturers and retailers under intense pressure to stay relevant and create “fans for life”. This is a cut-throat, slim profit environment that is further endangered by emerging hyper-competition from global marketplaces. Conversion is more key than ever.

    No retailer or manufacturer has a free pass to success. No existing business models are guaranteed. For instance, in the recent past, the generalists and the manufacturers that supplied them were all-powerful. Today, specialists and global market places like Amazon are squeezing the generalist model. Clearly, whatever the sector, whatever the scale or geography, all players must constantly re-evaluate their strategies and tactics to ensure they win the connected shopper’s business. It is essential to constantly be on top of your shopper by focusing on the right touchpoints at the right moment throughout the whole omnichannel path to purchase.

    So, if you’re serious about conquering the connected shopper, you must understand today’s retail environment and anticipate tomorrow’s trends to plan and prepare for the future.

    The connected retail transformation: Two very different routes to purchase

    Retail is transforming to keep pace with the connected shopper and their demands. We believe that in the future, shopping will either be functional, rational and efficient, or it will need to offer an emotional connection or be an experience.

    Our two future scenarios for retail in the connected world are rooted in our extensive knowledge gained from researching consumers. What is common to them all is that the shopper is front and center, and has more control than ever before of how they shop and what they buy.

    One: Staying in

    Here the smart home of the future takes over the functional aspects of shopping, ordering and replenishing supplies as they run out.

    Never fear, this won’t disengage shoppers from brands, as virtual and augmented reality will come to the rescue. For fun, connected shoppers will be able to try on clothes, trial appliances and test drive cars – all from the comfort of their home.

    Two: Going out

    If you leave the comfort of your home to shop, there will be two very different options. On the one hand, much shopping will become uber-convenient, super-fast and easy with in-store GPS navigation, pick up points, automated payments (no queues) and minimal browsing. Mobile phones will have a key role to play, becoming hand-held shopping trip assistants. On the other, retailers will offer experiences, where shopping will be seamlessly integrated into socializing and entertainment. The smartphone will be the connector of the personalized digital and physical retail world, for chatting, browsing, sharing experiences and paying.

    Whether shopping from the home or when out and about, manufacturers will increasingly focus on their own omnichannel retail concepts. They will want to get closer to their shoppers and find personalization-driven business models where this can deliver a profit.

    Getting up close and personal with the connected shopper

    There is no one “connected shopper”, every consumer and every purchase is unique. For a 360° perspective, you need to evaluate the key target audience segments in detail. How do they behave, what are their need states, how can you meet their expectations? From Gen X, Y and Z to iBrains, Millennials and Baby Boomers, we’ll help you identify and reach your audience with the relevant product, service and experience at the right point in their purchase journey. With more consumers than ever saying they feel overwhelmed by choice, understanding and helping shoppers find the products they really want will become a core tenet of the successful retailer. Relevance and persuasion will become more important as key success factors. As a result, many retail marketing budgets are shifting to content and attribution marketing to be closer to the shopper during the moments that matter. The focus will be less on where the purchase happens, and much more on how you can influence it.

    Having an in-depth customer understanding is essential if you are to offer shoppers the all-important personalized product or service, such as H&M’s customized dress designed with Google. And it’s most definitely key if you want to anticipate their needs to increase their basket size and grow loyalty.

    Reinventing business models

    Achieving a profit requires a laser-like focus on logistics and operations, constant innovation, relevant marketing, perfect customer service, excellent customer and market intelligence… the list is infinite. By focusing on the connected shopper and building a true picture of buyers of all sorts of products and services, you can identify the business models that give you the best chance of success in the retail transformation.

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













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  • NOM and GfK to deliver total readership of print brands in the Netherlands
    • 07/05/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    NOM and GfK to deliver total readership of print brands in the Netherlands

    NOM has commissioned GfK to integrate their print currency for newspaper and magazine brand consumption with NOBO online published media brand consumption data. This will deliver insights into the total readership of the brand across all platforms in the Netherlands. 

    • 07/04/17
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Closing the gap between virtual and reality

    We know, we know. You’ve been hearing how virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) will “change our lives” since 2009. Since then, we’ve witnessed the quiet failure of Google Glass, the somewhat controversial Magic Leap, and the slow but steady demise of the QR code.

    That’s not to say there hasn’t been progress in the field – the technology has just crept up in quiet, subtle ways.

    Since 2015, the ability to use a VR headset with 360-videos on Facebook have captured our imagination (Star Wars: Rogue One, anyone?). Subsequently, more brands (from 2 brands in 2015 to 13 brands in 2016) have also penetrated the action camera market with 360-degree VR cameras. Our Point of Sales (POS) Tracking shows that demand for 360-degree action cameras across Southeast Asia surged tremendously in the past year. All the markets tracked registered rising sales volume and value, with the biggest contributing markets being Singapore and Malaysia. In Singapore, consumer spend on this product registered a whopping eight-fold increase within a year. As virtual reality continues gaining popularity, we can expect action cameras to be more sought after in the region.

    Apart from Snapchat and Pokemon Go, VR and AR have never really gone mainstream. Since its inception, the technology has been mostly limited to professional products.

    For instance, in the medical field, VR applications such as augmented vision surgery, remote treatment and distance diagnosis are coming of age globally, with new techniques regularly introduced to replace the traditional trial-and-error approach in advanced clinical training.

    It can be difficult for the average person to imagine how VR and AR might fit into his or her daily lives. But good things come to those who wait – we believe that the gap between virtual and reality is definitely getting closer.

    Cheaper and better – the first step to mass adoption

    In a 2016 research carried out in the UK, it was found that the top reason against VR adoption was the price of VR headsets. That’s no surprise as a high-end headset like the Oculus Rift easily puts a hefty $799 dent in the bank account.

    But as Business Insider notes, “really good” VR experiences at more affordable costs will likely be the strongest VR growth driver for the next couple of years.

    This is already happening – Google’s $79 Daydream View for smartphones has been called ‘”ridiculously inexpensive” by TechRadar while Samsung’s Gear VR typically goes for around $99. The latter’s incarnation this year has also been touted to be best yet by CNET.

    The price of VR headsets is expected to fall by about 15 percent over the coming year, with more than 200 million consumer VR head-mounted displays to be sold worldwide by 2020.

    Like the ubiquitous smartphone, it’s only a matter of time before the spending power of trusted technology brands behind VR and continual improvements cause a surge in consumer demand.

    From gaming to shopping

    To date, the most exciting developments in VR/AR have been in gaming. What’s different this year?

    VR/AR is reshaping the retail industry and can be proved effective in regaining customer loyalty.

    Enter the “connected consumer” – they are savvy, informed and seek positive shopping experiences but are increasingly less loyal.

    In our recent study on Connected Consumers, we found that 50% of the global online population lives in Asia and that Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most mobile-centric regions. With shoppers being able to experience full retail environments via VR/AR on their smart devices, the potential for brands to win customers at point of sale with VR/AR is massive, whether it’s Sephora’s virtual cosmetics or North Face’s VR headsets featuring stunning imagery of California’s Yosemite National Park or a simulated dog-sled ride.

    The integration of VR and AR into retail models can transform the way people shop and influence how retailers design their stores and user experience.

    This is why Amazon hopes to build an augmented reality furniture store. Using VR/AR, they help customers decide if their new sofa will fit into their living room, taking “try before you buy” to a whole new level.

    Brands that use VR/AR to enhance customer experiences with a touch of personalization, are more likely to create value for the consumer and deepen customer loyalty.

    Harnessing VR/AR to know your shopper

    Virtual store research helps retailers gain insights into buying decisions without the need to physically change stores or products.

    Using VR/AR, concepts can be tested in such a way that closely mimics consumers’ in-store experiences to capture passive behavior.

    Since most buying decisions are made emotionally rather than rationally, traditional test marketing and research methodologies may have some limitations when it comes to measuring behavior and changes to that behavior at point of sale.

    During the process of qualifying new product concepts, obtaining category insight into the market share potential is crucial, so is the understanding of the risk of a new product launch cannibalizing an existing brand portfolio. In such cases, a virtual store environment is more effective in predicting the sales potential of a new product.

    Through VR/AR, retailers and brands can develop a simulated program that is highly customized for their target customers. By combining research methodology, gaming technology and category management, VR/AR can help them predict shopping behavior and gain loyalty in a short time.

    More industries will seek to maximize the potential and benefits of VR/AR in 2017. Offering an enhanced experience over the “real thing” is key to moving the technology from niche interest to mainstream adoption.













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    • 07/03/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Introducing the iBrains: Understand how to reach tomorrow’s shoppers

    By 2020, 40% of consumers in Europe, the US and BRIC markets will be “iBrains”, or Gen Z. The first generation fully immersed in smartphones and social media, these digital natives will drive disruption in retail. Always connected, they live in the fast lane. If you are to succeed in the future, you will need to identify, predict and meet their needs. And you’ll need to grab their attention to maximize the opportunities they offer retailers and manufacturers. Here’s how.

    Meet the iBrains

    You’re already familiar with Millennials, but the iBrains – the “selfie generation” – are different. They don‘t know a world without smartphones and social media. While Millennials are tech-dependent, iBrains are always connected, intense social media users and live through technology. They expect brands and retailers to do the same in a seamless, authentic way. They want an identical brand experience, whether they are in-store, online or on their mobile device. For many brands, this represents a goal still to be achieved.

    The iBrains:

    • are aged 19 or under, most live at home
    • have little spending power, but, with 93% of parents saying their iBrain kids hold sway over what they buy, they are powerful influencers of purchase behavior
    • readily share details of their lives, likes and dislikes across dozens of platforms online
    • expect to engage in two-way conversations with brands in this virtual world
    • will happily share their brand allegiance with others and are more likely to trust their peers than marketers

    How to reach the iBrains

    So far, we’ve shown that iBrains present brands and retailers with many growth opportunities. Compared to Millennials, they are more open to buying in-store, and in general they see no difference between online and offline.

    So, how should retailers prepare for the arrival of the iBrain wallet?

    Firstly, it’s key to be available 24/7 across all channels and devices. The mobile is the handheld personal life assistant of iBrains and they reach for it first when thinking about making a purchase. It connects the physical and digital worlds and holds the key to the personalization you need to offer to win over this group.

    Anticipate the iBrains’ needs and issues, and provide the solutions before they themselves identify them. Achieve this, and you’ll make fans who are willing to publicize their brand loyalties. Social media is extremely important to iBrains when deciding what to buy and where – according to our FutureBuy survey*, 59% in APAC and 34% in Europe say it’s an important source of information for making the best product choices.

    For iBrains, previous experience with a retailer is key for 57% when deciding whether to make a purchase (versus 49% of Gen X). So too are the opinions of family, friends and colleagues (50% versus 35% of Gen X). They also much more likely to search other shoppers’ online reviews (46% versus 30% of Gen X).

    Speed is also essential to iBrains. They will accept a “good enough” product or model and have it now rather than wait for a better one. Of course, you need to react fast to grab their attention – iBrains are super multi-taskers. Or, to put it another way, you only ever have their parti­al – never full – attention. Also, don’t ever ignore the fact that they are more impulsive than Gen X. Brands that get their offer right can really maximize on this trait.

    Finally, it’s worth noting that iBrains are not loyal to any one brand. They browse intensively to find the best deal. This is the case for 60% of iBrains in APAC and 55% in Europe. However, brands that involve them in shaping products can win vital brownie points – particularly from iBrains in APAC where 64% favor this option versus 53% of Gen X*. In Europe, 46% of iBrains value this involvement versus 36% of Gen X.

    The iBrain shift

    • The iBrains herald a new era in retail – in fact, it’s a revolution. Retailers must think differently. They must shift from offering new things to buy to new things to do, from telling a story, to conversing. They also need to move from making a perfect product slowly to making a better product quickly with iBrain collaboration. Here are some other pointers:
    • Be visible online and on social media. iBrains prefer peer-to-peer social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram over Facebook. Use social media and online advertising to get their attention.
    • Keep their personal information secure. Concerns about the security of personal information rank high and are a primary factor in their preferences for shopping in-store. Make sure you protect their financial and personal information.
    • Share diverse images. Make sure your advertising, window displays, website and social media accounts include images of diverse customers, and treat all customers with respect, no matter their age.
    • Let the music play. Incorporate music into your store experience if you want to attract Gen Z.
    • Help their decision-making. An iBrain’s shopping journey typically includes lots of online and offline research, getting opinions from peers in real life and online, and looking for the best value and price. You could describe iBrains as “feedback fanatics”. Stay with them during the process.
    • Experience matters. Retailers must create places – stores, websites, online communities – where iBrainers feel welcome walking in and just as wonderful walking out. Brands that help iBrainers to define and express their individuality and lifestyle will succeed with this group.

    Retail is on the brink of a revolution

    Retailers and brand owners need to fundamentally reconsider their proposition if they are going to capture the hearts, minds, wallets and attention spans of this constantly connected, partially attentive generation. A generation of consumers who will determine and dominate future shopping behavior.

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













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    • 06/30/17
    • Retail
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Why travel brands shouldn’t forget about the role of the store

    You may be forgiven for thinking that high street travel agencies are a bit of an anachronism in today’s world. After all, who would go to a retail outlet filled with paper brochures while a uniformed member of staff tapped your details into their computer, when it’s possible to book a package or even tailor-make your own bespoke itinerary without leaving your home? Well, research from GfK suggests that the answer to this question may surprise you, with younger travelers and Leading Edge Consumers actually more likely to visit stores as part of their vacation purchase journey.

    A need for physical travel stores

    Of course, online retailing has been accounting for an ever-larger chunk of consumer spending for many years, but despite this many analysts feel there is still a place for physical stores, as a place you can actually look at and touch products before buying, as well as get advice from experts. While the former aspect is not one that is so relevant for travel, the latter certainly is, and could help explain why there is a continued consumer need for physical travel stores on our high streets.

    This phenomenon first came to our attention when looking at some research on the travel sector we’d done here in the UK. We asked consumers which sources they’d used when deciding what kind of holiday to go on, with 20% mentioning high street travel agents as part of this process. Interestingly, however, this figure was higher (23%) among Travel Leading Edge Consumers, who are market mavens with a particular category passion according to GfK’s proprietary definition. What’s more, the figure was even higher among those aged 25-34, at 29%, as opposed to lower among 45-59 year olds, at 11%.

    The presence of in-store travel agents

    These figures suggest that users of high street travel agencies may not be who you’d initially suspect, but in fact there are compelling reasons in both cases. Category passionates are always on the lookout for new places to go, and want to maximize the enjoyment of their holiday, while younger consumers may also be less set on going to a particular destination and would value some help and advice. In both cases, the presence of in-store travel experts is likely to be a boon. After all, buying an overseas holiday could count as one of the biggest purchases in a shopper’s year, and the level of expectation placed on a big vacation could be considerable. We know from our GfK Consumer Life data that 44% of global consumers spend quite a lot of time researching brands before making a major purchase.

    Another consideration, raised in a recent article extolling the virtues of the high street travel agent, is the simplicity and luxury of getting someone else to do the hard work and put together a great holiday. While consumers do now have the online tools available to them to book all the various aspects of a holiday and in some cases save money, there can still be a lot of virtual legwork required to find the cheapest flights, most convenient transfers and nicest accommodation. The increasing realization may be that lowest price doesn’t always equate to best value. Indeed, four in ten global consumers are prepared to pay a premium for products that make their life easier.

    Vacation curation starts with a conversation

    It also seems that travel agents themselves see the benefits of a long term commitment to retail stores. One prominent example is Kuoni, the luxury tour operator, who say that “it all starts with a conversation,” and highlight the fact that their holidays are tailor made by experts who will use their detailed knowledge of a destination and take into account the individual customer’s needs to curate the best break for them.

    The in-store experience: An opportunity to wow

    The in-store experience can also be augmented by interactive touchscreens, virtual reality headsets and more to immerse the customer in the process and bring destinations to life. According to GfK Consumer Life, the percentage of global consumers who say that virtual interactions with people or places can be as good as being there in person is steadily increasing, from 21% in 2011 to 30% now. This development highlights an opportunity for innovators in the technology sector to partner with retailers in travel and other categories to develop in-store experiences that will wow jaded customers.

    There are surely valuable learnings here for retailers in all categories. If even a category like travel, with no tangible product to display, finds brick and mortar stores to be an important part of the retail mix now and into the future, there’s bound to be a place for them elsewhere. Considering the role that only physical stores can play and the consumer needs that they address in your category could help you stay ahead in a highly competitive omnichannel environment.

    David Crosbie is a Director on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at david.crosbie@gfk.com.