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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.

Find out more

Other available Consumer Life reports

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

    • 04/21/17
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Retail today and tomorrow: Innovating in the age of disruption

    Today’s changing retail environment is proving to be a major test of marketers’ agility. It is no secret that the convenience of online shopping has drawn customers away from traditional brick-and-mortar outlets. Walking from store to store in search of the perfect outfit or gift has transformed, in many cases, into jumping from website to website, credit card in hand.  Along with this major transformation has come many difficult adjustments.

    So where does this leave brick-and-mortar stores?

    The role of the store itself is being re-defined in our modern age, as traditional storefronts turn into immersive showrooms and leisure destinations, and much more.  Retailers, and specifically mall operators, are aiming for more experiential elements, while foregoing traditional anchors for more entertainment-based locations like movie theaters and gyms. GfK’s FutureBuy® data shows that people who shop in brick-and-mortar stores do so because they can physically see the product before they buy, they shop there routinely and they get “instant gratification” by getting the products much sooner.  When they shop online, however, the reasons tend to be saving money, better selection and the overall ease of shopping. Given these dramatic changes, marketers need to play to the strengths of traditional retail stores – and keep a few key lessons in mind.
    1. Stay agile.  In today’s retail environment, marketers have to be flexible and creative to satisfy the evolving consumer.  We see a trend where shopping spaces are increasingly being integrated into traditional urban surroundings, like the shops at the Oculus of New York’s World Trade Center or in Chinese open cities, with stores and interactive park-like features (trees, water fountains, shops and screens) that create a new shopping “village”.  There are numerous new business models that brands can leverage in new ways.
    2. Capitalize on the online-offline experience.  Consumers desire rewarding experiences.  The latest data from GfK Consumer Life shows that experience is the #1 trend in the United States, and store shopping remains a key leisure pursuit. Three in four Americans agree that “it’s fun to browse stores and see what’s new and different”.  The current market is seeing big online players capitalizing on this trend as they open brick-and-mortar retail locations.  For example, Amazon bookstores allow you to buy books in-store or have a fun retail experience, but lighten your load by having the book delivered or letting you purchase a digital copy.  Warby Parker and Bonobos are popular online players who have showrooms.  At Bonobos, you can visit ether of the “Guideshops” get 1-1 attention from a “Guide” to get the exact fit and measurement of your clothing, but you walk out hands-free, without paying for delivery of your chosen items.  This can surely help personalize the experience, and alleviate some of the operating costs that physical retailers face to be more competitive with pure online players.

      On the flipside, customization can be a challenge for online-only brands.  Nearly four in ten Americans agree that they like to buy products that can be tailored to their needs.  Major retailers are starting to optimize their brick and mortar footprint to maximize the omnichannel fulfillment with click & collect and filling excess square footage with shop-in-shop concepts.  But the real challenge for brick and mortar retailers is how to keep up online without killing their margins.
    3. Use new technology to your advantage.  We are at the tipping point of the AI explosion, and Artificial Intelligence will surely enhance the online shopping experience.  In fact, almost three in ten Americans (28%) would try out new products before buying them, such as cars or paint colors, and a quarter (24%) would use a VR headset to shop as if they were in a real store.  Virtual reality in particular could be useful in a brick-and-mortar showroom.  AI is being used much more to improve product search effectiveness on retailer websites and in making product recommendations than from a virtual “trying out” process.

      Lowe’s has been using VR well, in helping customers visualize what decorating a room in their house might look like (along with augmented reality technology) and North Face for the outdoor experience.  AI will certainly help with product search and IBM’s Watson AI is paving the way to improve product recommendations.  AI is just the tip of the iceberg as a lot can be said for bots and drones, which as they are starting to play a much greater role to the retail environment and logistics.
    Disruptive times call for staying attuned with consumers’ changing needs and lifestyles.  We are at the brink of the 4th industrial revolution, which will undoubtedly shape the future of many aspects of consumers’ lives, including how we shop.  Thus, the time for keeping a close eye on new technologies and innovating for the future has never been better. Jola Burnett is a Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. She can be reached at jola.burnett@gfk.com.
    • 04/20/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    Improving the user experience of a ticket machine interface

    We aimed to improve the user experience of Deutsche Bahn’s touchscreen user interface for customers, thereby improving the ticket- buying experience.
    • 04/20/17
    • Retail
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • Global
    • English

    Boosting a distributor’s competitive advantage in ecommerce

    Our product data and ecommerce technology solutions empower S.P. Richards’ dealers to increase their online sales.
    • 04/19/17
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Global
    • English

    From “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”: How tech manufacturers can maximize the media mix

    As a marketer of durable goods, your likely mission is to build brand image, optimize your media budget and ultimately to generate profit. While that might sound like “mission impossible”, the good news is that there is a tested research technique that can help. Marketing mix modeling offers a way for marketers to successfully overcome the mounting challenges they face. In this blog, we explore four reasons why marketing mix modeling is as relevant to manufacturers of durable goods as it is to the consumer goods industry. In doing so, we will help you navigate from “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”.

    Mission one: Harness the digitization of media

    Put simply, in the digital age, there are more media channels and more connected devices. Consequently, Connected Consumers are exposed to more advertising messages than ever before. This media fragmentation makes it difficult for manufacturers to know where, when and how to reach consumers. In addition, the immediacy of the digital channel has placed more pressure on marketing campaigns to deliver short-term sales. Add to this the proven decline in consumers’ average attention span, and you have a challenge that even the Impossible Missions Force’s Ethan Hunt might be happy to see self-destruct in five seconds. The success of any campaign depends on getting your media mix right. In order to maximize your budget, it is essential to have accurate insights on how your ads are performing at any given moment. What you need to understand is which campaigns on which media platforms positively impact sales of your product. Marketing mix modeling evaluates the contribution of the different media channels – both online and offline – enabling you to allocate your budget so that it delivers maximum ROI.

    Mission two: Think omnichannel

    In the technical consumer goods (TCG) sector, e-commerce is an extremely important channel, and its share of sales is growing annually. According to our Point of Sales (POS) Tracking data, online accounted for 23.1% of overall sales in 2016 (see infographic). Shoppers have adopted an omnichannel approach to shopping in the TCG sector. The message couldn’t be clearer: if your products aren’t available across all channels, you are losing sales. Omnichannel shopping is becoming the norm across many categories % of shoppers reporting having shopped online and in store for a product, GfK FutureBuy, 2016 Online has also given consumers the power to check prices and compare products. This, in turn, has amplified the importance of both the manufacturer’s and retailer’s promotional activities. Marketing mix modeling enables you to understand exactly which of your promotions work, providing you with the intelligence you need to support your marketing decisions. Measuring the effectiveness of your executions gives you the power to fully optimize your activity for each channel.

    Mission three: Dealing with product feature commoditization

    When technology is new, success can be built on product features. However, as tech markets mature, all brands and models become very similar. In this type of market, it becomes virtually impossible to stand out for having a “great product”. Commoditization is rife, and manufacturers and retailers must find new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Today’s Connected Consumers will only engage with, relate to and buy your product when they’ve had a brand experience. And they’ll only return to your brand if their experience of it was memorable. Consequently, we’re seeing the trend for marketing campaigns that focus more on product benefits and less on features spread across the globe. It is becoming more common for technology manufacturers to focus on a compelling brand experience in their advertising. Source: GfK Consumer Life A clear communications campaign is required if you are to succeed in conveying your product and brand values, and provide a memorable experience as well. Marketing mix modeling measures the sales impact of these campaigns and the media used to distribute them. It identifies the ROI for each channel and evaluates cross-media and cross-channel synergies.

    Mission four: Tackling the shorter product life cycle

    In consumer tech, the product life cycle is getting faster while the re-purchase ability slows down. At the same time, for almost all brands, advertising campaigns tend to be short-lived and focused specifically on new product launches. Ultimately, this means there is less time to deliver a margin. When planning your next advertising campaign, you may need to choose between investing in an intensive short-term but high-impact, high-cost TV spot versus a longer-term digital execution delivered via social networks. The commercial success or failure of your campaign may rest on this decision. This is where marketing mix modeling can provide directional insight. By providing weekly sales contributions for the different elements of your campaign, it can help you identify the most appropriate media plan to drive sales at the crucial moment. At the same time, it can also support your brand’s growth in the longer term.

    Summary: Mission accomplished

    We’ve addressed four of the key challenges faced by TCG marketers and manufacturers. Marketing mix modeling can help you understand how your above- and below-the-line marketing activities are driving your sales. We believe it is the way to accomplish your mission in today’s highly competitive global marketplace. Bjoern Kroog is Global Director of GfK POS Analytics. To share your thoughts, please email bjoern.kroog@gfk.com or leave a comment below. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, '0e591424-2780-48f3-9850-174d860e088d', {});
    • 04/19/17
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Global
    • English

    From “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”: How tech manufacturers can maximize the media mix

    As a marketer of durable goods, your likely mission is to build brand image, optimize your media budget and ultimately to generate profit. While that might sound like “mission impossible”, the good news is that there is a tested research technique that can help. Marketing mix modeling offers a way for marketers to successfully overcome the mounting challenges they face. In this blog, we explore four reasons why marketing mix modeling is as relevant to manufacturers of durable goods as it is to the consumer goods industry. In doing so, we will help you navigate from “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”.

    Mission one: Harness the digitization of media

    Put simply, in the digital age, there are more media channels and more connected devices. Consequently, Connected Consumers are exposed to more advertising messages than ever before. This media fragmentation makes it difficult for manufacturers to know where, when and how to reach consumers. In addition, the immediacy of the digital channel has placed more pressure on marketing campaigns to deliver short-term sales. Add to this the proven decline in consumers’ average attention span, and you have a challenge that even the Impossible Missions Force’s Ethan Hunt might be happy to see self-destruct in five seconds. The success of any campaign depends on getting your media mix right. In order to maximize your budget, it is essential to have accurate insights on how your ads are performing at any given moment. What you need to understand is which campaigns on which media platforms positively impact sales of your product. Marketing mix modeling evaluates the contribution of the different media channels – both online and offline – enabling you to allocate your budget so that it delivers maximum ROI.

    Mission two: Think omnichannel

    In the technical consumer goods (TCG) sector, e-commerce is an extremely important channel, and its share of sales is growing annually. According to our Point of Sales (POS) Tracking data, online accounted for 23.1% of overall sales in 2016 (see infographic). Shoppers have adopted an omnichannel approach to shopping in the TCG sector. The message couldn’t be clearer: if your products aren’t available across all channels, you are losing sales. Omnichannel shopping is becoming the norm across many categories % of shoppers reporting having shopped online and in store for a product, GfK FutureBuy, 2016 Online has also given consumers the power to check prices and compare products. This, in turn, has amplified the importance of both the manufacturer’s and retailer’s promotional activities. Marketing mix modeling enables you to understand exactly which of your promotions work, providing you with the intelligence you need to support your marketing decisions. Measuring the effectiveness of your executions gives you the power to fully optimize your activity for each channel.

    Mission three: Dealing with product feature commoditization

    When technology is new, success can be built on product features. However, as tech markets mature, all brands and models become very similar. In this type of market, it becomes virtually impossible to stand out for having a “great product”. Commoditization is rife, and manufacturers and retailers must find new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Today’s Connected Consumers will only engage with, relate to and buy your product when they’ve had a brand experience. And they’ll only return to your brand if their experience of it was memorable. Consequently, we’re seeing the trend for marketing campaigns that focus more on product benefits and less on features spread across the globe. It is becoming more common for technology manufacturers to focus on a compelling brand experience in their advertising. Source: GfK Consumer Life A clear communications campaign is required if you are to succeed in conveying your product and brand values, and provide a memorable experience as well. Marketing mix modeling measures the sales impact of these campaigns and the media used to distribute them. It identifies the ROI for each channel and evaluates cross-media and cross-channel synergies.

    Mission four: Tackling the shorter product life cycle

    In consumer tech, the product life cycle is getting faster while the re-purchase ability slows down. At the same time, for almost all brands, advertising campaigns tend to be short-lived and focused specifically on new product launches. Ultimately, this means there is less time to deliver a margin. When planning your next advertising campaign, you may need to choose between investing in an intensive short-term but high-impact, high-cost TV spot versus a longer-term digital execution delivered via social networks. The commercial success or failure of your campaign may rest on this decision. This is where marketing mix modeling can provide directional insight. By providing weekly sales contributions for the different elements of your campaign, it can help you identify the most appropriate media plan to drive sales at the crucial moment. At the same time, it can also support your brand’s growth in the longer term.

    Summary: Mission accomplished

    We’ve addressed four of the key challenges faced by TCG marketers and manufacturers. Marketing mix modeling can help you understand how your above- and below-the-line marketing activities are driving your sales. We believe it is the way to accomplish your mission in today’s highly competitive global marketplace. Bjoern Kroog is Global Director of GfK POS Analytics. To share your thoughts, please email bjoern.kroog@gfk.com or leave a comment below. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, '0e591424-2780-48f3-9850-174d860e088d', {});
    • 04/19/17
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    EU consumer climate at a nine-year peak

    The positive mood among European consumers has continued into the first quarter of 2017. At the end of December 2016, the consumer climate for the 28 EU countries had already risen to its highest level since January 2008. In January 2017, it further climbed by two points to 19.9 points, before settling at a level of 18.9 in March.
    • 04/18/17
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Measuring multichannel marketing: Pharma plays catch-up

    Is your organization ahead of or behind the multichannel marketing curve? Now is an ideal time to play catch-up.
    • 04/13/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Global
    • English

    Sustainability and ethics: How to keep up with the fashion industry

    “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you…” – Ralph Lauren Nowadays, style is not only about the logo you are wearing but the values that it represents. With this in mind, fashion brands need to know their consumers more than ever before in order to connect emotionally with them. Here are the three values fashion companies must embrace to build brand perception and stay relevant in a demanding market.

    1. Sustainable fashion

    It is becoming easier to see why high end and luxury fashion brands can no longer ignore sustainability. In fact, our research (1) shows that ‘protecting the environment’ is significantly higher up on consumers’ priority list than ‘looking good’. As fashion consumers grow more conscious, they also tend to trust brands less, and being credible becomes an issue for all labels, everywhere. Our data also indicates how informed and serious about environmental and social issues consumers have become over the past decade. This is no longer ‘fringe’ behavior but a market-wide opportunity.

    2. Ethical initiatives

    Indeed, we have witnessed many brands evolving and communicating their efforts in making their production more eco-friendly and respectful of fair-trade. It is an important evolution in the history of fashion, which until recently was characterized by a “fast fashion era”, resulting in too many articles of clothing produced that become obsolete within weeks. It is the younger generations who are mainly to thank for this move, thus, we are observing a new age in which fashion consumers will tend to focus their spending on quality over quantity, piling less in their wardrobe. As a reaction to this, fashion companies are compelled to become more transparent when it comes to how their clothes are made. We can see how the leading fashion industry environmental group, MADE-BY, has helped make it happen. The organisation, along with major UK companies like Ted Baker, worked together on individual sustainability programmes, helping them to reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals in their production, and increase the integration of  organic materials.

    3. Recycled is the new “en-vogue”

    Now that the bloggers, critics and other public faces of fashion have taken to promoting what’s good for the planet, for consumers, and for the companies’ employees, the high-end and luxury fashion companies made sure to follow the trend:
    • Hermes created “Le petit h”, which consists of creative pieces and accessories only made from the left-over materials from other bags, scarves, etc.
    • Adidas has launched a collection being marketed as designed to “help to clean up the Earth’s oceans” by using the waste floating around the world to make their footwear. Whilst 7,000 pairs of the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley were planned, the three-stripes brand says it wants to produce more.
    Examples of these initiatives are numerous, and many start-ups followed their lead, creating a range of niche products, from salmon-skinned wallets to shirts of polyester from recycled drink bottles.

    Conclusion

    The world of fashion is powerful, and a close eye is being kept on its actions. It’s essential for brands to understand not only the role of sustainability within the decision making process of consumers, but also to explore their attitudes and behaviors. The question is, how do today’s connected consumers build brand perception and how can brands stay relevant in this demanding market? (1) Research taken from GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports©), global annual survey of consumer of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. Tiphaine Nilias is a Research Manager at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email tiphaine.nilias@gfk.com or leave a comment below.
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