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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

    • 01/19/17
    • Technology
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    Four reasons I won’t be going to CES next year (and four reasons I probably will!)

    I have been to CES on and off since the mid 2000’s.  My friends and colleagues typically ask me ‘how was CES?,’ expecting some techno-prophesy. There are no pithy, tweet-worthy phrases to sum up ‘how it was’.  CES is a techno-orgy; it’s like no place else.  It both attracts and repels you simultaneously. In reflecting on what I saw, there are a number of disappointments that make me say I really don’t need to go back.  Let me enumerate:
    1. Let me say it again, redundancy.  After the first 20 ‘smart light bulbs’ or ‘drones’ or ‘fitness trackers’, the brain goes numb.  Much of CES is evolution than revolution and thus finding the signal in the noise of the total product array can prove challenging.
    2. Not to be too obvious, but it bears mentioning, the focus is, in my view, entirely too much on Electronics and not enough on the Consumer. As someone more interested in the consumer experience than the electronics, I think the technology can serve itself and not the user. There are so many items displayed that I believe are solutions in need of a problem. Just because we can, does not mean we should.
    3. Similar to the previous point, technology need not solve every problem. I virtually had a panic attack when I saw a ‘dental floss’ device that I feared was Bluetooth enabled.  Thankfully, it was ‘just’ digital (dispensing and reminding), and not connected.  Even then, I’m not sure I need a digital dental floss dispenser.  Perhaps on a more culturally disturbing level, I saw several manifestations of robots for children – to be their friend, to be their helper, to rock them to sleep, etc.  The need that drives this kind of technology is indicative of perhaps larger issues.  My colleague Meredith Paige coined the term ‘Impersonal Care’ to describe this.  Much of the technological solutions displayed are of marginal value – ‘is the juice worth the squeeze?’
    4. On an entirely practical level, with all the media coverage, do I really need to be there in person? In using my Fitbit, I walked (wandered, actually) about six miles each day and felt like I had only seen the bare minimum of the show.  There’s always more to see.  There is no bottom.  So I’m thinking that since most of the media curates the important stuff, what if I just sat back and dialed in to CES Live, Engadget, CNET, press outlets, bloggers, etc?  I’d capture the most far-out and breathtaking developments from the comfort of my own home.
    While I continue to be concerned about what technology is doing to us intellectually, socially, and culturally, there are several reasons I will most likely return year on year:
    1. There are real human problems being solved in new and interesting ways. Technology is being used to make us safer (e.g., in automobiles), augment our senses (smart hearing aids), reduce waste (energy usage), etc.  Unfortunately, you’ve got to go through layers and layers to get to the important/interesting stuff.
    2. Concentration of so much technology in one small space – you can explore drones, cars, robots, appliances, etc. in a small space. If one is looking for category trends or cross-category trends they can be found in ways just not possible through the media, online or in a store.
    3. It’s a great way to stimulate the brain coming off the holidays. The whole environment is invigorating (or, for some, chaotic!).  New ideas are everywhere.  There are amazing people to meet, and some great ideas to build around.
    4. And lastly, it’s just a lot of fun. You get to see, do and try things that you might not get a chance to do anywhere else.  (When else am I going to meet and talk to Nick Offerman?)
    Next time I’m going with a plan.  I find the really interesting things are from smaller vendors, especially those in the Eureka! Hall and those startups funded by large companies (Sony had some really interesting startups present). Second, if you’re there and you want to know what’s hot, look at the crowds.  For really cool stuff, it may look as if the piranhas are feeding on the carcass of some poor erstwhile beast.  There’s usually something there. Next year, let’s hope for more revolution, more relevance, and more fun! Robert Schumacher is an Executive Vice President of User Experience at GfK. Please email robert.schumacher@gfk.com with your comments.
    • 01/18/17
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Get to know me: The emotional appeal of technology showcased at CES 2017

    Amazon’s Alexa was one of the stars, if not THE star of the 2017 CES show.  What is the broader theme that piques our interest?  Is it because Alexa acts as a central hub that “connected things” run on?  Yes, partly.  I believe another key reason that Alexa was the star of CES is the personification of machines and the emotional appeal that comes with it.  This is a broader and very important theme that emerged at this year’s CES.  Across many of the exhibit halls, we saw devices promising to be your friend.

    Emotional appeal and the personification of machines

    Robots with a human stance were built to greet and help you at an airport.   Toyota’s new concept car promoted the vision of artificial intelligence that could learn your needs, grow with you, and yes, love!!  This was billed as more than a machine.  It will be your partner.

    Making technology relatable

    There’s something about LG’s application of Alexa that gets to know all of your needs when you get home that makes this technology relatable.  It can warm up your house to a perfect temperature, turn on the lights, put on your favorite music, heat up the oven, and so on.  Can it bring your slippers when you sit down on the couch? I’m sure that can be arranged.   We’ve gone from “take me to your leader,” to “let me fold your laundry.”  Laundry folding robots using image analysis can take care of this tedious household chore for you now.   The AvatarMind iPal(™) Robots For Children, Eldercare, and Hospitality/Retail are billed as caretakers for your kids or your elderly parents.   Even the way marketers and reviewers talk about devices can put a “human face” on it.  Now there are drones that are concerned about how they dress – “too awesome to fly casual.”   Of course, to succeed, all of these technologies must address a need, but don’t underestimate the power of bringing the emotional benefits together with the rational benefits these new technologies deliver.  I look forward to seeing how this develops in years to come at CES and beyond! To share your thoughts, please email rob.barrish@gfk.com.

    Discover the latest Technology industry insights, trends and market data

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    • 01/12/17
    • Financial Services
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    The future of FinTech goes far beyond mobile wallets

    I must admit that I find the term “mobile wallet” a little silly. After all, wallets have always been mobile, right? At the same time, I am not at all averse to the idea of making transactions with my phone. I’m getting the hang of accessing coupons in stores, and I felt pretty cool the first time I got into the movies by having the ticket-taker scan my phone. I’m sure I will continue to move in this direction, although I consider myself mainstream rather than an early adopter in the area of financial technology (aka FinTech).

    Digital payment

    Pundits have been talking about the pros and cons of mobile wallets for several years now. Overall, these payment systems still face obstacles and adoption has been slow. Only 22 percent of American mobile phone users regularly pay for products by scanning, tapping, or passing their devices in stores, according to recent research conducted by GfK Consumer Life 2016. At the same time, other types of digital payment are entering the playing field, such as the UPI system introduced in India last year, which moves funds directly from the consumer’s financial account to the merchant’s without a middleman. India will be an important market to watch in terms of the shakeout among digital payment systems following demonetization. Indeed, developing markets such as India and Nigeria will be testing grounds for FinTech in general, as indicated by the growing use of biometric identification ranging from fingerprints to facial recognition and palm veins.

    Seamless shopping

    The AmazonGo concept, currently in test mode in Seattle (where else?) goes beyond the financial transaction itself to tackle other deterrents of in-store shopping. The idea is this: You scan your phone as you enter the store and go along your merry way grabbing the items you want. Then you walk out of the store, and your Amazon account is automatically charged for your purchase. Some may like the idea of avoiding checkout lines or the need to swipe/insert/tap/scan their payment device of choice and wait for approval. But what tickles my fancy is the prospect of cutting a couple of steps out of the usual tedious process of putting things in a cart, taking them out of the cart, putting them back in the cart, putting them in the car and taking them out of the car. If this idea catches on, I will be on board with it much faster than I am with self-checkout, which I personally find no improvement over regular checkout aisles. In the case of AmazonGo, the potential is not merely a streamlined financial transaction, but a streamlined shopping experience.

    Conclusion

    Ultimately, consumers will adopt FinTech to the extent that it makes their lives easier. Being different for novelty’s sake will only draw in the earliest adopters; the rest of us need to be sold on more practical benefits.
    • 01/10/17
    • Public Services
    • Consumer Panels
    • Omnibus
    • Government & Academic (North America)
    • KnowledgePanel® (North America)
    • Goverment & Academic (North America)
    • Public Communications and Social Science
    • Global
    • English

    GfK joins AAPOR Transparency Initiative, USA

    Two GfK research divisions in North America – Government & Academic and Public Communications & Social Science – have been accepted for membership in the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative.
    • 01/06/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    3 usability tips every appliance manufacturer should consider

    The household appliance industry has been particularly impacted by rapid-evolving technology and Connected Consumer innovations. Our user experience (UX) researchers and designers are fortunate to see and test many cool-looking prototypes that integrate these innovations before they hit the market. While we draw some of our insights from UX best practices and years of experience in UX design of appliances, having a set of benchmarks in our arsenal makes recommendations that much more powerful.

    Measuring UX in household appliance research

    We have integrated a UX measurement tool in household appliance research over several years resulting in a robust benchmark database. A scientifically-validated tool, the UX Score offers holistic insight by combining pragmatic usability aspects (learnability, operability) with hedonic qualities such as usefulness (identification, stimulation) and look and feel; this results in a score that can be compared to competitor products, different versions of the product, or, in the case of household appliances, benchmarked for the category. Our database includes years of global research covering diverse product categories from cooktops to freezers.

    Diving deeper into the individual dimensions of the UX Score

    While the overall benchmark UX Score for household appliances indicates a good user experience through its relatively high value (about 5 on a scale from 1=low  to 6=high), researchers are likely familiar with the following situation: A consumer is excited about a new idea and design, but once they attempt to use it, the disappointment surfaces. So we must dive deeper into the individual dimensions of the UX Score. Here we see the mean benchmark values by dimension for the UX Score of household appliances. Mean benchmark values of each dimension including overall benchmark (orange line) for household appliances In the “inspiration” and “look and feel” dimensions, we see high benchmark values compared to the overall benchmark line. This is fostered by continuous innovations through new functionalities that show a stimulating effect on the product experience as well as the high-quality impression. The more pragmatic “operability” dimension represents the lowest value by comparison. The location of features and information do not conform to consumer expectations. The “learnability” dimension value is also reduced – a catchy and intuitive usage of household appliances is limited.

    How to improve the user experience for household appliances

    Based on this benchmark data and UX best practices, we have established three tips for household appliance manufacturers to improve the user experience of their products:
    • Define functions and interaction design before constructing the physical interface.
      Thereby you can perfectly place functions exactly where users expect them to be. This works much better than placing the function anywhere and then trying to explain it with an icon.
    • Involve hardware designers as early as possible in the concept development process.
      Designers and hardware experts should work together as early as possible in the concept development and testing process. This will ensure the pragmatic, as well as, hedonic aspects will gain attention.
    • Opportunity of thin-film transistor (TFT) displays should not be overstrained – avoid abundance of functions.
      TFTs offer a great opportunity to explain functions. Although consumers are very familiar with the interactions via touch, too many gimmicks lead to confusion and disorientation. If no TFT is available it becomes even more essential to focus only on the most relevant functionalities. Self-explanatory icons should be found for other functions, which are then tested as early as possible (see point 1).
    As household appliance innovations continue to evolve, the strengths (hedonic qualities) seem to be well-considered. To address the category weaknesses like operability and learnability, appliance manufacturers should apply a holistic user experience design process to keep classic usability aspects top of mind. Lena Tetzlaff is a User Experience Consultant at GfK. Please email lena.tetzlaff@gfk.com to share your thoughts.
    • 12/30/16
    • Press
    • HQ financials
    • Investors
    • Global
    • English

    Reasoned statement of GfK SE – Management Board and Supervisory Board jointly recommend to accept tender offer by KKR

    Today, the Management Board and Supervisory Board of GfK SE (“GfK”) published their reasoned statement, pursuant to Section 27 of the German Securities Acquisition and Takeover Act (Wertpapiererwerbs- und Übernahmegesetz – WpÜG), in respect of the offer document presented by Acceleratio Capital N.V., a holding company controlled by funds advised by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (together with affiliates, “KKR”), on December 21, 2016.
    • 12/23/16
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Public Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer climate index to enjoy a strong start to the new year

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for Germany for December 2016
    • 12/22/16
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Media Measurement
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Queen Elizabeth II – The jewel in the Netflix Crown?

    Released in its entirety on November 4, 2016 and reported to have cost around £100m to produce, The Crown is one of the most ambitious projects that Netflix has taken on to date. A 10 part original series (essentially a biopic) about Queen Elizabeth II, recounting her life from the royal wedding in 1947, right up to the present day, the show has been celebrated by all sides of the media, frequently being described as “faultless”, “magnificent”, “engaging” and “gripping”. So what do we know so far about The Crown’s first few weeks on the service? Firstly, amongst our sample of Netflix users, The Crown was the top streamed title on Netflix in November 2016, showing that the release has been heavily streamed amongst users. But what was driving users to the show? Sheer curiosity or perhaps something else?

    Netflix’s Marketing of The Crown

    30% of Netflix users said they watched The Crown because it was recommended to them by someone, or simply because it looked and sounded interesting. However, a third of users also said that they had watched the series because it featured in the ‘recently added’ section of the service, and half also claimed that external advertising had influenced their viewing choice. It is clear that Netflix were determined for this to succeed – not only was the show expensive to produce, but campaign spend across all media for The Crown was one of the highest of 2016  ensuring that the investment would not be appreciated by just users, but also reach and appeal to a wider audience. Finally, in November, compared with the rest of 2016, a higher proportion of respondents say they signed up to Netflix in order to watch exclusive content not available elsewhere. However, the jury is still out as to whether The Crown itself was driving this. Early indications are that it attracted existing users to view rather than acted as a drive to sign up new ones.

    Who was watching The Crown and why?

    In its first month of release, the demographic profile of those watching The Crown has shown some interesting results. Firstly, a fifth of the show’s viewers are aged 55+. This is a slightly higher proportion of older users watching than for Netflix content overall and also in contrast to new releases such as Stranger Things, which primarily attracted a younger audience within its first few weeks of release. It does highlight the strength of Netflix’s commissioning policy, allowing them to target different types of viewers by commissioning shows with differing demographic appeal. When asked why they started watching the title in the first place, respondents mostly indicated that it was because they had a general interest in the Queen or the Monarchy or because they wanted to find out more about this period of time in British history. But what is remarkable is how few people said they started watching the title because of the A-list cast that has been employed (Claire Foy and Matt Smith both star), or because of the quality of the production for the title, further demonstrating that this title was perhaps designed to target an audience of lighter viewers less engaged by marquee names and more by the program content.

    Was The Crown a success?

    Defining a success when talking about Netflix titles can be difficult. If we look at overall content ratings, The Crown performed well. When asked to rate the show on a scale of 1 to 10, The Crown achieved an average score of 9.0 which is higher than all  Netflix titles that score an average of 8.7. Compared to other recent celebrated titles, such as Stranger Things, Making a Murderer and Narcos, The Crown achieves relatively similar levels of satisfaction. Furthermore, when we look at whether viewers are likely to recommend this title to others (again on a scale of 1 to 10), it scores in line with Netflix Originals on average, but slightly lower when compared to recent releases. So in terms of satisfaction and recommendation, The Crown can be called a success, but perhaps more was expected from this title, given the scale of investment into the show. Overall though, The Crown can be considered a success. Critics and viewers have both celebrated the show, and early data is indicating that the title is both driving viewing as well as appealing to a lighter viewing audience demographic for Netflix. Furthermore, exposure for the SVOD service has also increased due to positive press attention and increased marketing activity. Content producers like the BBC and ITV must have taken notice at the bigger financial bets Netflix are prepared to make to increase their audience shares, which must ultimately leave them slightly nervous about the future, and fortifying Netflix’s position as a serious threat to such traditional players in the media landscape.
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