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Consumer Life Report: Disunited Kingdom

As the recent referendum result has shown, the British people are more driven by divisions that at any point in the past 50 years. There are many uncertainties ahead, as well as unanswered and unanswerable questions. One immediate question that brands and companies in all sectors should be asking is, how to effectively speak to and address the needs of British consumers.

This special, one-off report combines the latest data from our post-referendum Consumer Confidence Barometer with a longer term view from GfK Consumer Life on how the values, attitudes and behaviours of UK consumers are shifting by age and income group, and what this means for the brands, products and services they choose.


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Introducing GfK Consumer Life

How can we understand tomorrow's Consumer and thus implications for brand growth? For over 25 years, companies have turned to GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports) to dive deep into today’s market and where it’s heading, to develop strategic opportunities.

Covering all aspects of consumer behaviour, attitudes and values, Consumer Life is our key tool to help marketers plan for the future across mature and high-growth markets worldwide. Every year we ask over 30,000 consumers about their wants and preferences to identify opportunities in categories from food to finance, beverages to beauty, appliances to automotive.

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Other available Consumer Life reports

You also might be interested in these Consumer Life reports, which are availabe

    • 04/26/18
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    Insecurity causes the consumer climate in Germany to dip slightly

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for April 2018
    • 04/25/18
    • Press
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Global quarterly smartphone demand down year-on-year though revenue growth remained strong

    Global smartphone demand fell two percent to 347 million units in the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18). 
    • 04/19/18
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer sentiment in Europe remained cautiously optimistic

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Europe Study for the first quarter of 2018
    • 04/16/18
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Tapping into people’s need to take a break

    I had two friends who posted on Facebook recently within hours of each other. One had spent the day at a theme park with her family, all of whom left their phones “in the car ON purpose. Best way to enjoy the day together!” The other had been sharing many stunning photos of a vacation in Egypt; yet on the last day, she decided not to take photos but “just to see with my own eyes.” This is hardly surprising. “Experiences are more important than possessions” perpetually ranks among the highest-rated attitudinal statements in the annual GfK Consumer Life global study. It ranks seventh out of 42 statements listed. It also ranks third for teenagers 15-19 and in Canada. Taking a tech break It is certainly ironic that my friends talked about their tech breaks on social media, yet this reflects the mixed feelings many people have toward technology. Yes, it helps us do many things we could never do before, but people are increasingly recognizing its addictive nature as a real problem. This is something that we warned about two years ago when we found that Technology Leading Edge Consumers were in the forefront of being concerned about this drawback to technology. Fully 45% of global consumers belonging to this early adopter group agreed “I find it difficult to take a break from technology, even when I know I should,” 13 points higher than average. Taking a tech break can be easier said than done, of course, and going cold turkey isn’t necessarily the answer. Some brands take a hybrid approach by promoting tech use specifically to make time for real life. For example, Citi is promoting its mobile app with a cute dad-and-kids ad and the slogan “spend the moments in the moment.” The Pocket Points app motivates students to focus on classes; when they lock their phones while on campus, they earn rewards points for local and online merchants. Another approach is to take a complete if temporary break from tech. Musician Jack White has banned phones from his upcoming concert tour because he “wants people to live in the moment.” Organizations such as the YMCA and Boy Scouts encourage families to help children take a tech break. The Story Inn goes a step further with its slogan “One Inconvenient Location Since 1851.” The Inn is actually a cluster of buildings in a virtual ghost town in Indiana that offers lodgings, dining, and a venue for special events. Rooms are billed as “One Distraction-Free, Tranquil Escape” and have been converted from the likes of a one-room schoolhouse, carriage house, and grain mill. They don’t have TVs, phones or internet service. Taking a real-life break Vacations represent a different kind of break, a pause from the real life that so many people find stressful. Destinations like Walt Disney World epitomize this type of experience on a grand scale, but an infinite number of products and services can offer mini-breaks at any time and anywhere. The Rituals home- and body-care brand emphasizes the benefits of incorporating soothing experiences into everyday life. “They are the seemingly meaningless moments we all tend to overlook. Rituals unveils these moments and reminds you to experience them with joy.” L.L. Bean encourages people to “live every day like it’s the weekend.” Then there is literal escapism – the phenomenon of escape rooms, a hybrid of team role-playing and the classic locked-room mystery. Although not for everyone (such as those with claustrophobia), they can provide respite for problem-solving thrill seekers. Most people prefer more serene escapes, however. The share of respondents to a GfK Consumer Life global survey who prefer a relaxing vacation over an active one is 62%, up 7 points from 2012. Photos submitted by respondents indicate that sandy beaches top the list of places where people like to relax, followed by other outdoor venues such as forests, lakes, gardens and parks. We don’t need research to tell us that nature makes us feel good, but in fact, research does bear this out. And yes, video games provide escapism, too, but it’s important to keep in mind that most people still don’t view virtual experiences on par with the real thing. Just 30% of global consumers agree that “virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person,” ranking it #40 among 42 attitudinal statements. Conclusion Virtually every product and service can tap into people’s desire for experiences, whether they be social or solitary, physical or intellectual, tech or non-tech. The key is to understand precisely what kind of experience your customers crave. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, 'f959b7ac-800c-45ab-bd5f-350e588da27a', {});
    • 04/16/18
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Examining the complexities of pharmaceutical launch pricing: Three easy steps to get it right

    Pricing for pharmaceuticals has never been more complex, and establishing optimal pricing across key strategic markets, with different evidentiary requirements, standards of care, comparator prices and assessment processes, poses enormous challenges for the industry. In this article, we examine the major factors influencing pricing, and chart a course for success by highlighting three key components for pricing strategy development.

    Weighing multiple factors to determine optimal launch pricing without tipping the scales

    The pricing of innovative pharmaceuticals and medical technologies is coming under increasing scrutiny, with payers, prescribers and the public challenging the relationship between incremental clinical benefit and increasing cost. Even when high-cost therapies deliver significant improvements in health outcomes and may be considered to be cost-effective, payers’ focus will tend to shift to budget impact and financial sustainability. Ultimately, a complex mix of interrelated factors, including level of unmet need, societal and clinical demand, unit price, the level of clinical benefit, budget impact, the price points of relevant comparators and the potential value of cost-offsets are driving access and uptake. So determining optimal launch pricing has to take account of these drivers, together with the views and behaviors of payers, physicians and patients. Never before has there been more pressure on pricing for pharmaceuticals:
    • Just one chance to get it right. Once a pricing strategy is in place, course corrections are difficult and sometimes impossible; for example, price increases in ex-US markets. Clearly, leaving money on the table is a major concern, but exceeding what may be considered to be an acceptable price threshold could be as bad, if not worse. A subsequent change in pricing strategy may fail to repair payer and prescriber perceptions and remove access and utilization hurdles.
    • More competitive markets. Many indications, even in oncology and specialty care, have become commoditized at one end, and highly competitive at the other – with brands, generics and biosimilars all playing a role. Standing out from the crowd from a value perspective can be challenging. Thus pricing in line with value perception becomes even more important.
    • Continuously growing price pressure. As healthcare budgets continue to rise, payers have become increasingly focused on value for money, acquisition costs, budget impact and financial sustainability. One response to such challenges has been to shift the budgetary risk to manufacturers, either through contracting and price-volume and other financial agreements, or linked to outcomes, using a variety of pay-for-performance models. In some markets, such as the US, cost-shifting to patients has created additional access hurdles.
    • Prescriber price sensitivity. Beyond payer influences on utilization, prescribers are more aware than ever of drug prices and more likely to chime in on discussions in social media. In the US, value frameworks have become an instrument to convey different perspectives of measuring value, which payers consider when making drug coverage decisions.
     With these challenges in mind, we offer three components to consider for ensuring the most robust pricing strategy input:
    1. The overall pricing research approach must be tailored to the strategic objectives for your product

    Earlier-stage and a less complex marketplace suggest a streamlined, quick turnaround approach with an essential sample of payers and a concise N sample with physicians, for example 30 by market, with a focus on direct pricing methods. Launch strategy and/or highly complex/competitive markets require not just larger samples for payers and physicians (ideally 100/market), but also more sophisticated indirect methods; e.g., DCM and complex market models.
    1. Pricing methods adequate for the research objectives

    Direct methods, such as Van Westendorp and Gabor Granger, address fundamental price reaction, while indirect methods provide higher precision.  For very early development assessments, pure price/value perception can be sufficient, while a more intricate profile requires a multi-method approach. Indirect methods, such as adaptive conjoint, are also the method of choice for a larger number of product concepts to test.
    1. Integrated findings representing all P&R stakeholders

    It is critical to have an adequate approach that combines price sensitivity of payer restrictions, physicians’ reacting to restrictions and patient response to out-of-pocket costs to derive a resulting price/volume relationship and identify optimal pricing.

    A unique profile to support quantitative pricing research

    Through our research, we have developed a tried-and-tested pricing approach addressing objectives customized for a customer’s specific product.  Our approach leverages country-level price and market access expertise in all key strategic and emerging markets with an integrated team of experts in healthcare, quantitative methods and primary research.  Moreover, our method is direct and efficient in league with the project team. We’ve learned that through our quantitative pricing approach, we can provide the most in-depth understanding of the pricing and reimbursement opportunity of your product.

    How can you unravel the complexities of pharmaceutical launch pricing?

    Attend our May 16 webinar, “The value of choosing the right approach to pharmaceutical launch pricing,” hosted by market access and pricing experts, Tim Fitzgerald and Michael Kuehn, to join a discussion that includes a fresh perspective on pharmaceutical pricing, supplemented with examples/case studies and an interactive Q&A. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, 'c1f1f608-373d-4c13-9cb6-e42ed979dc0f', {});
    • 04/13/18
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    How understanding a consumer’s mindset helps OTC companies defend their place in the market

    Until now, understanding the mindset of the Over-the-counter (OTC) consumer, given the wealth of information and multiple touchpoints they encounter in every digital environment, was complex and hard to unravel. But it’s the essence of determining what impacts a consumer’s purchasing behavior, an issue so vital to OTC companies who are fighting an increasingly challenging battle against competitors’. We know that consumers are willing to pay more for OTC brands recommended by healthcare professionals (HCP). In fact, consumers paid up to 54% more on average when buying a specific recommended product, according to a study by GfK on recommendation behavior. Expert recommendations are clearly a defining way to influence consumer purchase behavior. So how do you get to the heart of their thinking and deliver much-needed insights? The emerging digital technologies open up an endless scope of opportunities for new digitized market research tools. For many years, market research tools were contrived, expensive or simply incapable of providing the relevant insights into consumer behavior at the point of purchase. Now, with the rise of innovations like virtual reality, Health marketers have real opportunities to observe consumers in a controlled, true-to-life test environment mimicking the physical reality of a pharmacy. Such a setting offers a much more realistic and credible manner to obtain evidence of how health brand consumers shop at the shelf and in the category. So what are the advantages for the consumer health market?

    Connecting the dots, driving conversion through conversation

    OTC health brand consumers still finalize the vast majority of their decisions in-store. Despite an overload of available information and an exploding number of touchpoints, the benefit of getting expert recommendations can make a significant impact on purchase decisions, especially when there are so many choices in many markets. In particular, expert recommendations made by healthcare professionals (HCPs) are highly valued and can influence purchase decisions. In fact, GfK’s study uncovered that 30% of health purchases are driven by HCP-based recommendations*.

    Empowering marketers through insights from our proprietary virtual platform

    Existing evaluation protocols can be challenging when it’s necessary for the marketer to have a full understanding of the sales process involving a consumer sales dialogue. That’s why we have now merged our shopper research solutions with a leading-edge virtual store approach where we can mimic selling through expert recommendations. With the use of scripted conversations, leveraged in a virtual pharmacy environment, our Simstore Dialogue platform empowers marketers to address business questions like:
    • How can expert recommendations impact purchasing behavior?
    • How appealing and impactful is our messaging?
    • What is the market potential of our new product?
    • What is the effect of expert recommendations, when combined with marketing ideas such as POS material or design changes?

    Adding predictive power to the consumer health marketer’s toolbox

    Simstore Dialogue is designed to enable marketers to understand and optimize the consumer/HCP consultation dialogue and optimize consumer interactions in a simulated pharmacy to reveal whether a proposed scenario will have a significant impact on sales. At our May 9 webinar, “Partnering virtual pharmacies and expert recommendations to drive powerful consumer health marketing,” our experts will discuss the benefits of Simstore Dialogue for optimizing pharmacy selling strategies. By joining our webinar, you will get a full introduction to this next-generation platform, and learn how Merck has already successfully piloted it. You will also learn the power of pairing virtual pharmacies, together with expert recommendation research to inform your most impactful consumer health marketing yet. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, '63345a87-0b3a-48ea-8d81-584d8bc9667a', {});
    • 04/12/18
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the Month: 5-digit postcodes in South Korea

    GfK's Map of the Month for April shows an excerpt of South Korea's 5-digit postcode boundaries, which are available for the first time from GfK.
    • 04/09/18
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    A generation without a name, but not without a voice

    In recent weeks, teens and even tweens have grabbed the nation’s attention with their relentless focus on effecting meaningful change on school safety and gun control laws. When discussing these young people, media and politicians have struggled with what to label this vast generation that came of age in a post-9/11 world. Most have defined them primarily by the generations that came before them (“Post Millennial,” or “Generation Z”), while others have lumped them in with their older brothers and sisters by referring to them as “Millennials” (something that extends that generation into its third decade of birth). Regardless of what history decides to label this generation, it’s very clear based on their attitudes and behaviors that they are not Millennials, and that everyone from political leaders to marketers will need to prepare for the unique ways they will be reshaping the world in the years to come. Reshaping the world is something many of them fully intend to do – whether all of their elders approve or not. According to a poll released in late March, a vast majority of young people aged 18-24 (89%) think they can change the world – or are already doing so, even as adults over 50 say in the same poll that young people make them pessimistic about the future. GfK has been paying close attention to the ways that this age group, whose eldest members are just entering their 20s, differs from past generations. GfK Consumer Life research shows they are ambitious, highly stressed (70% say they feel stressed fairly or quite often – 2.5 x the proportion of Millennials who felt the same way ten years ago), and concerned about the future – characteristics that were not associated with fun-loving, “live for today” Millennials when they were the same age. They have big dreams for the future: 47% would like to own their own businesses – a number that jumps to 52% among girls that age. Many are old souls in young bodies, with nearly half admitting they feel older than their years. We see many of these characteristics, and others unique to this generation, playing themselves out in the students’ response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

    Their idealism is cut with a heavy dose of pragmatism

    Leading a protest movement is nothing new for young people, as teenagers led the charge in prior generations on everything from school integration, to protesting Vietnam, to apartheid, to Occupy Wall Street. But where this group of young people differs is in their ability to marry the practical with the idealistic. While they have ambitious goals, they are also practical as to the means and the timeframe in which such change may take place. They see many different ways to attack a problem – be it through changing legislation, influencing businesses, or empowering individuals – and are prepared to change tactics and regroup as necessary. And they won’t let setbacks or naysayers dampen their enthusiasm: perseverance is a core value for this group and rated much higher by them than by any older generation.

    They are digital natives, equally comfortable in tech and non-tech worlds

    With other potential generational monikers for this group being “The i-Generation” or “# generation”, it is clear that technology – and social media networks – don’t come with the same learning curve that prior generations had to address. This generation finds technology fascinating (more so than Millennials, both when they were young and today) and they are able to use it in new and creative ways. But being fluent in technology does not mean that they are laggards in other forms of communication. Those who were concerned that this screen-obsessed generation might be unable to communicate in the real world were mistaken: they also know that there are appropriate times to unplug and to focus on in-person interactions, and they understand the amplification power of mass media as well.  They are able to harness the power of virtual and real-world networks as needed, seamlessly moving from online social media campaigning and fundraising into old-fashioned face-to-face canvassing and back again.

    They will hold all of us accountable

    Young people today have grown up in a world that rarely makes them feel safe. Many of them have been participating in active shooter drills since they were in elementary school and four in ten of this generation strongly agree “I am afraid for my safety and security all the time.” No wonder that GfK Consumer Life’s data shows that a vast majority believe “we need more changes today, not less” and that they are ready to lead the march for change themselves. That doesn’t mean they are going to let others off the hook though. Both at the ballot box and in the marketplace, they will reward those whom they believe share their values, and punish those who will not – something that was seen in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting when they began pressuring businesses to change their gun sales policies or stop their support of the NRA. More than half of teens today say they are more likely to buy a brand that supports the causes they care about, higher than any other age group and two times as many as Millennials when they were the same age. And don’t think that being a high-end brand will inoculate you from this – today’s teens are less likely than Millennials, both now and when they were teens, to say that they like to buy products with prestigious names.

    They are color-blind in important ways

    This still unnamed generation is the most culturally diverse segment in US history. And GfK Consumer Life research proves that these young people place higher importance on the values of internationalism, social tolerance, open-mindedness, and equality than Millennials did at their age. They share a greater tendency to recognize and accept cultural differences, as well as a strong desire to make sure that the whole spectrum of experiences be considered. The Parkland teenagers have built bridges to other teens with very different backgrounds than their own to make sure they understand the full impact of gun violence on their generation. They ensured that voices from many different socio-economic and racial backgrounds were incorporated into their public efforts, recognizing the similar issues that united them all.

    They understand the value of money

    As the children of Generation X, a generation that itself placed “having a lot of money” as a critical aspect of both the “Good Life” and “The American Dream” (as tracked over time by GfK Consumer Life), this generation has been taught the importance of material security and having the funds you need to get things done. That is why raising money became a quick and important focus of the students, many of whom were quick to reach out to different individuals and organizations to secure the financial support needed to back their plans. This financial savvy was also demonstrated in their clear understanding of the power of the pocketbook as both a carrot and a stick when it comes to driving social change across business and the public sector.

    It’s time to adjust your strategies

    It should be clear that not only does this generation differ from Millennials in very substantial ways, but that they will place new demands on companies and institutions. Their expectations for brands are very high – as is their level of scrutiny. According to GfK Consumer Life, one quarter of this generation, compared to one-fifth or fewer of older generations, avoided a particular brand or store in the past month because they disagreed with the company’s business practices or values. Companies must appeal to them on a deeper level, whether it’s alleviating their stress about the future, making them feel safer, helping to fulfill their big ambitions, or offering to make their lives easier. However, all of this needs to be done with authenticity or else they will, in the words of Emma Gonzalez, “call BS.” hbspt.cta.load(2405078, ‘d8d08b32-120b-47cd-8cdb-bc2696057cf3’, {});