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  • Consumer Confidence Index drops five points
    • 11/30/16
    • Financial Services
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Consumer Panels
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Consumer Confidence Index drops five points

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index has decreased by five points this month to -8. All five of the measures in the Index saw decreases in November.

  • Consumer climate stabilizes at the end of the year
    • 11/24/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer climate stabilizes at the end of the year

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for Germany for November 2016

    • 11/23/16
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Forecasting the 2017 market for Major Domestic Appliances

    Things are looking up for the global major domestic appliances (MDA) market in 2017. After a rather difficult year in 2016, where the market has grown by less than 1% overall, we forecast global revenue in 2017 will be a solid +4%, reaching $193 billion. This would make it the second best year after the record turnover of $196 billion measured in 2014.

    Factors driving Major Domestic Appliance growth

    Low interest rates and inflation in many regions are driving historically high levels of consumer spending. On top of that, real estate markets are booming, especially in Germany, France, Benelux and Scandinavia – leading to higher durable goods spending, such as built-in home appliances. The demographic trend in Europe towards smaller households also adds to this increased demand for home appliances.

    With many consumers having more money in their pockets, the MDA market will be driven by innovative, premium smart products, such as energy efficient washing machines, heat pump tumble dryers, bottom freezer fridges with ‘No Frost’ technology, inductions hobs and self-cleaning ovens. Smart, connected appliances are currently experiencing limited demand in Europe, but we expect them to grow fast in the next years. Online sales will outperform the average market development, at the expense of the smaller traditional retail outlets.

    Exploring the global MDA markets

    According to our GfK forecast data, the global market for Major Domestic Appliances will grow solidly by +4% in 2017, driven by high consumer confidence in Europe and North America, a strong development in India, and a modest recovery in China, Russia and Brazil, whose once buoyant markets have recently suffered from a deterioration of economic and geo-political conditions.

    Growth drivers for the developed countries in Europe and North America are a favorable macroeconomic environment with historically low interest rates and strong real estate markets. Built-in products will profit strongly from this development, and we will observe an increase in purchases of more premium products with innovative features. The sluggish market in China will be supported by a strong increase in online sales and replacements of older products. India and other developing countries in Asia will grow strongly with better educated, young families and household penetration rates which are still very low. The markets in Russia and Brazil are expected to stabilize with a stronger World economy and subsequently higher crude oil and raw material prices.

    Summary

    With the MDA market poised for growth, appliance manufacturers should capitalize on the market conditions with new innovate products that give consumers what they want. While increasing consumer awareness of the smart home will lead to greater adoption of smart products and appliances over time, it will be the products that seamlessly improve the lives of their owners that will find the most success.

    Natalia Andrievskaya is the Global Director of Major Domestic Appliances. For more information or to share your thoughts, please email Natalia.Andrievskaya@gfk.com.

    • 11/16/16
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    What now? The consumer mood – it may not be what you think

    Cisco Systems has recently been running an ad of Ewan McGregor marveling over the technologies transforming the world – Growing lettuce in space! Protecting rhinos with drones! Apps for clean water! – then, peering at a glass of water, concluding “looks half full to me!”

    It seems an oddly asynchronous message for the cacophonous election cycle that’s just come to a close in the US. But it has a point.

    Consumer sentiment is pretty solid

    As we reported recently in the GfK Consumer Life “Mood of the World” webinar summarizing the first release of data from our 2016 Global Survey, consumer sentiment in the US and globally this year is, actually, pretty solid – much better than the claims and counter-claims the political world would have you believe.

    More than two in three consumers, both in the US and the world, tell us they’re at least somewhat confident they’ll be better off financially in the coming year. That is substantially better than the lows of the Great Recession (+10 percentage points globally vs. 2009; +15 points for the US), and marks the third straight year of confidence in the 2-in-3 range.

    Our latest research on the US suggests the trend of an improving consumer mood has continued. About 1 in 3 Americans feel it’s a good time to buy the things they want and need; that is double the lows of the Great Recession. More than 6 in 10 describe themselves as “generally optimistic” about their personal situation; that, too, is markedly higher than the recession.

    Consumer values conducive to innovation

    A lot of theories are being put forward to explain Donald Trump’s surprising win in the US election. Clients are beginning to ask what the implications are for them. Decades of research have taught us to resist simplistic explanations; stay close to what your consumers are saying; and, as my colleague Kathy Sheehan wrote recently in this space, not forget “the long view”.

    It may be that how people feel about the country and how they feel about their personal situation are following two different tracks; indeed, our research has been pointing to this for several years.

    So what can you do? Focus on what you can affect. We have been telling clients we see this as a time for marketplace innovation. Our research on personal values has certainly been saying that. Both globally and in the US consumers are putting a higher priority on values conducive to innovation, in particular, Creativity, Open-mindedness, and Knowledge. There’s a mantra worth remembering in here: the future belongs to those who are creative, smart, and open.

    Are your strategies in sync?

    The marketplace, similarly, is telling us this is a time for innovation. Amazon’s Echo virtual digital assistant is on a first-year sales pace comparable to the Apple iPhone in 2007.  Fitness and health trackers like Fitbit, which seem to be only hints of what to come, continue to show a strong sales pulse; 53 million units are expected to be sold this year.

    New looks are coming to categories across the marketplace. In food, for example, meal kit services like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Purple Carrot are pushing north of $1.5 billion on a formula of letting consumers bypass meal planning and shopping to focus on what they find most fun – cooking. New competitors like Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma suggest continued inroads for the concept.

    It’s no time for rose-colored glasses. Still, our data point to continuing momentum from consumers to move forward. It may be that there is still a glass half full in your future.

    For more information or to share your thoughts, please email jon.berry@gfk.com.

  • Eyesight and memory loss are leading concerns around aging
    • 10/28/16
    • Health
    • Consumer Health
    • Dental and Oral Health
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global Study
    • Global
    • English

    Eyesight and memory loss are leading concerns around aging

    Internationally, the top five physical conditions that people worry most about having, either now or as they age, are eyesight getting poorer, not being as mentally alert, lacking energy, having trouble taking care of themselves physically, and being unable to walk or drive.

  • Eyesight and memory loss are leading concerns around aging
    • 10/28/16
    • Health
    • Consumer Health
    • Dental and Oral Health
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global Study
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Eyesight and memory loss are leading concerns around aging

    Internationally, the top five physical conditions that people worry most about having, either now or as they age, are eyesight getting poorer, not being as mentally alert, lacking energy, having trouble taking care of themselves physically, and being unable to walk or drive.

  • Consumer Confidence Index drops two points
    • 10/28/16
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Consumer Panels
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Point of Sales Analytics
    • Shopper
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Consumer Confidence Index drops two points

    ...but consumers say they are not afraid to spend.

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index has decreased by two points this month to -3. Two of the measures in the Index saw increases and three of the measures saw decreases in October.

  • Consumer confidence slides below the ten-point mark
    • 10/26/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer confidence slides below the ten-point mark

    Results of the GfK consumer confidence study for Germany for October 2016

  • Smartphones: Growth unabated in 3Q, though China expected to weigh on 2017 demand
    • 10/25/16
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Tech Trends
    • Global
    • English

    Smartphones: Growth unabated in 3Q, though China expected to weigh on 2017 demand

    Global smartphone demand totals 353 million units in 3Q16. Latin America returns to growth after five consecutive quarters of decline.  Demand in Great Britain grows following ‘Brexit’ vote.  China demand to decline in 2017 due to reduced operator subsidies.

  • Smartphones: Growth unabated in 3Q, though China expected to weigh on 2017 demand
    • 10/25/16
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Tech Trends
    • Australia
    • English

    Smartphones: Growth unabated in 3Q, though China expected to weigh on 2017 demand

    Global smartphone demand totals 353 million units in 3Q16. Latin America returns to growth after five consecutive quarters of decline.  Demand in Great Britain grows following ‘Brexit’ vote.  China demand to decline in 2017 due to reduced operator subsidies.

  • GfK Consumer Climate Europe: Uncertainty impacts consumer sentiment
    • 10/14/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    GfK Consumer Climate Europe: Uncertainty impacts consumer sentiment

    GfK Consumer Climate Europe results for the third quarter of 2016

    • 10/07/16
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Innovating in a post-Brexit Britain

    Since the referendum on June 23rd and the decision of the British people to leave the European Union, brands and marketers have been contemplating what it means for them, and how, if at all, they should adapt their strategy and communications to appeal to the residents of a Disunited Kingdom. One idea put forward has been that the result points to a “fear of the future” on the part of consumers, and therefore a cautious approach to innovation is called for. I would argue, however, that times of uncertainty such as this are exactly when ground-breaking innovations can flourish.

    Consumers confident about the future

    With the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer showing that confidence about the economic outlook has recovered to pre-referendum levels, it seems that for the time being at least consumers are relatively relaxed about the immediate future. However as others have pointed out, Brexit has not actually taken place yet, and there could still be instability in the months and years ahead. In any eventuality, it’s unlikely that consumers are going to become less amenable to innovations that genuinely improve their lives without depleting their bank balance.

    Economic uncertainty presents an opportunity for innovation

    At GfK, we’ve been able to observe how consumers’ attitudes and behaviors have evolved over time, not only via the Consumer Confidence Barometer but also through our Consumer Life survey, which has been running in the US since the 1970s and globally since 1997. We’ve seen time and again that in times of economic uncertainty or difficulty, both at home and abroad, that consumers will make cutbacks, but at the same time will want to maintain their standard of living as much as possible.

    During the global financial crisis at the end of last decade, for example, we saw the emergence of a number of innovations that helped consumers to do just that, including group discount sites such as Groupon, and the use of smartphones to get location-specific deals and discounts. All of this innovation helped consumers to maintain habits such as eating out.

    What innovation means to consumers

    More recently, we’ve asked consumers what innovation means to them, and here in the UK some of the most enthusiastic responses came from those aged over 50, who were more likely to vote Leave in the referendum and therefore might thought to be the kind of people to display a fear of the future. In fact, however, they were more likely than average to see innovation as an easier way of doing something, simplifying complexity and saving money. Millennials, on the other hand, only mentioned a few innovation attributes more than average, namely being unique and different, fun and exciting, and harnessing technology.

    The lesson for companies and brands is that times of uncertainty are exactly when consumers are looking for disruptive and ground-breaking innovations to help them carry on with their lives regardless of the macro-economic situation. What’s more, it’s the group that might be most expected to prefer a cautious approach to innovation that makes the most demands for new products and services that make practical differences to their lives.

    David Crosbie is a Director at GfK Consumer Life. Please share your thoughts with him at david.crosbie@gfk.com.

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