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  • 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.

    • 10/04/16
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    A little perspective: The long term view of consumer confidence

    Last week, after the Chelsea bombings, a friend of mine called and asked how everything was in New York – was I able to get around?  Was my daughter’s school closed?  Had I missed work?  Could I still go out and buy groceries?  Very thankfully, the answers to these questions were yes, no, no and yes — everything was OK.

    We then talked about how it seemed the further away from New York City you are, the more dramatic (and traumatic) the events were, but for intrepid New Yorkers, the reactions were much more measured.  In fact, New York magazine published an article “Things New Yorkers Are More Afraid of Than ISIS” (bed bugs and flying cockroaches top the list) and one Twitter user gained Internet fame in a nanosecond with the post, “Yeah, I heard the bomb go off so I called 911 and then went to the deli” (I paraphrase).

    This got me thinking about perspective, and how sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in what has happened in the last 24 hour news cycle, seeing everything only through that lens.  Our latest findings from the global GfK Consumer Life study bring this point home.  Our 2016 numbers are recently out, and we have been tracking global consumer confidence for the past two decades.  This year, 68% of consumers around the globe feel confident that they will be better off in the next 12 months, and the number hasn’t really budged (upwards or downwards) in the last three years.  Our high point in this metric was way back in 2000, during the height of the dot.com explosion, when it was 73%.  The low was during the 2009 global financial crisis when the number dipped to 59%.

     

    So, what does this mean?  A few things:

       

    • Keep Calm and Carry On.  This phrase was first used by the British government during the Second World War.  It gained kitschy popularity during the 2009 economic crisis and is equally relevant in the wake of Brexit.  Despite the noise and media amplification of negative events, people are, in fact, carrying on.
    • Optimism.  The global economy is certainly not perfect, but it’s not all gloom and doom either.  As Harvey Milk said, “You have to give people hope.”  This is what moves us forward as businesses, brands and individuals.  That so many people around the globe exhibit at least some level of optimism is, at a minimum, reassuring.
    • Perspective.  Our belief at GfK is that innovation is all about improving people’s lives.  I started this piece talking about perspective, and certainly sometimes it helps to take the long view.  We’re not at a high point, but we’re certainly not at a low point either.  This is important to remember if you are creating products, services or communication strategies and you want them to align with how people are living their lives today.
    •  


    Kathy Sheehan is Executive Vice President and General Manager of GfK’s Consumer Trends team. She can be reached at kathy.sheehan@gfk.com.

  • Consumer climate: Brexit and terror threat dampen consumer confidence
    • 09/28/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer climate: Brexit and terror threat dampen consumer confidence

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

    • 09/20/16
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    What you need to know to leverage consumers’ renewed focus on homes

    According to figures released late last month, sales of new single-family homes reached the highest rate since October 2007. 2016 is shaping up to be the best year for housing in a decade. Not only are Americans buying more new homes, they are gearing up their plans for current ones. Home improvement spending is expected to reach $325 billion by early next year. It’s the highest level in a decade.

    As Americans ramp up their investment into the home, opportunities abound for well-prepared marketers that are in tune with Americans’ evolving needs for the home space.

    Millennials drive home plans

    While home ownership saw the sharpest decline among young adults over the past decade, Millennials have started to enter into, and are poised to drive, the housing market. Data from GfK Consumer Life shows that about a quarter of Millennials bought their first homes in the past five years, making up nearly seven in ten first-time home buyers during this period. Nearly two-thirds plan to buy homes in the next 2-3 years, which is almost twice the amount from 2011. Older Millennials, born in the 80s, lead in practically all major home-related goals, from renovation and new purchases to appliances.

    Polarized home sizes = Increasingly varied needs

    Home sizes are growing more polarized. A new wave of tiny apartments below 500 square feet has emerged in large cities across the nation, helping drive down the average size of new apartments to a 10-year low.  At the same time, single-family homes are getting super-sized, with the average square footage breaking new records.

    Aside from financial factors such as economic polarization and soaring home prices in major cities, changing household structures – particularly the dual rise of single-person and multi-generational dwellings – are behind the divergence in home sizes. Widening differences in home and household realities pinpoint the increasingly varied needs and opportunities for home products. Are your product portfolios well aligned?

    Household cleaning represents big opportunities

    ‘A clean house free of dust and clutter’ is considered the most fundamental to quality of life on a list of 16 aspects of home tracked by GfK Consumer Life, ranging from the number of rooms in the house to having the right furniture. It’s also one of the areas that consumers are the least satisfied with when evaluating their current home space.

    With an accelerated pace of life, home cleaning often gets postponed and the ‘usual level of cleanliness’ has emerged as the fastest growing aspect of the home that consumers would like to improve upon. Today, keeping up with housework represents the top area that Americans admit difficulty with and want solutions for, ahead of managing money/investments, meal planning, and more.

    As consumers seek out new ways to maintain a clean house with minimum investments of time and effort, the robotic cleaner category is poised to gain traction. More big names are entering into the field. Dyson, for instance, just launched its first robotic model in the US, combining its iconic powerful suction with the convenience of automation.

    Smart homes: Consumers want tangible benefits, not information overload

    Home safety and resource conservation have been the prime drivers of smart home adoption and may be even more fundamental motivators moving forward. Compared to current users of smart home products, who tend to be early adopters more enticed by novel technologies, those interested in future adoption gravitate even more towards the most relatable functional benefits – safety and resource conservation.

    When it comes to resource conservation, automated optimization (beyond the Nest thermostat, the Rachio smart sprinkler serves as a good example) is much more desired than real-time tracking. Out of the eight smart home features measured by GfK Consumer Life, ‘optimizing energy usage with home products automatically adjusting to the most energy efficient time to perform tasks and/or turning off when not in use’ is by far the most appealing. On the other hand, allowing real-time energy tracking is second to last.

    Be it or smart homes or wearables, our research shows that consumers recognize that data tracking alone does not necessarily benefit them. As the Internet of Things progresses and the pitfalls of aggravating information overload become more evident, expect consumer demand to further move beyond information gathering to tangible, results-oriented solutions.

    Summary

    With the economic recovery and Millennials starting their own households, Americans’ focus and spending on homes are again on the rise. Fully capitalizing on booming opportunities in this space requires marketers to take a fresh look at their product and marketing strategies to ensure alignment with the shifting consumer landscape.

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

  • Virtual Reality - consumer interest on the rise
    • 09/06/16
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Virtual Reality - consumer interest on the rise

    Our new infographic on Virtual Reality updates you on the current state of consumer interest for this new technology: find out how sales of headmounts and action cams, consumer's buying intention and the applications of Virtual Reality are developing.

  • Virtual Reality
    • 09/06/16
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Belgium
    • English

    Virtual Reality

    Our new infographic on Virtual Reality updates you on the current state of consumer interest for this new technology: find out how sales of headmounts and action cams, consumer's buying intention and the applications of Virtual Reality are developing.

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