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    • 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.

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

    Virtual Reality

    Unsere neue Infographic zum Thema "Virtual Reality" zeigt Ihnen, wie hoch das Interesse an dieser neuen Technologie ist und wie es sich entwickelt.

  • Virtual Reality
    • 09/06/16
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • United Kingdom
    • 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.

  • UK August 2016 Consumer Confidence Landscape
    • 08/31/16
    • -SOLUTIONS
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    UK August 2016 Consumer Confidence Landscape

    The UK Consumer Confidence Index has risen five points in August after recent Brexit falls, as Brits carry on shopping while motivation to save collapses. GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index has increased by five points this month to -7. All five measures used to calculate the Index saw increases.

  • Consumer climate: good economic data have a stronger impact than terrorism and Brexit
    • 08/26/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer climate: good economic data have a stronger impact than terrorism and Brexit

    Consumer sentiment in Germany developed positively on the whole in August, with consumers appearing to digest the shocking Brexit news very well. The overall index for consumer climate is forecasting 10.2 points for September, following 10.0 points in August.

  • Brexit brings the upward trend in the German consumer climate to a halt
    • 07/27/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Brexit brings the upward trend in the German consumer climate to a halt

    The consumer climate in Germany weakened also as a result of Brexit in the United Kingdom slightly in July.

    • 07/21/16
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global Study
    • Global
    • English

    One in three ‘always concerned’ about their safety and security

    Close to a third of the online population across 21 countries firmly agree that they are always concerned about their safety and security. Brazil and Turkey have highest levels of people concerned; Sweden, Germany and Netherlands lead for feeling safe. Women not always more safety concerned than men.

    • 07/21/16
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global Study
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    One in three ‘always concerned’ about their safety and security

    Close to a third of the online population across 21 countries firmly agree that they are always concerned about their safety and security. Brazil and Turkey have highest levels of people concerned; Sweden, Germany and Netherlands lead for feeling safe. Women not always more safety concerned than men.

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