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Trends and Forecasting

Trends and Forecasting

Today’s speed to market of new offerings and shortening product lifecycles place a unique pressure on businesses to stay ahead.  Consumer purchasing behavior is shifting more rapidly than ever.

To succeed, businesses need accurate sales forecasts -- based on robust analysis -- and the most up-to-date purchasing and market trends.

We deliver detailed forecasts of consumer demand for technology devices, as well as global technology market trends. 

Our forecasts are built using the world’s largest sample of point of sales data, combined with our global expertise and local knowledge. This combination provides our clients uniquely granular and timely forecasts of future demand – forecasting what products consumers will purchase, in what volume, at what price, and where.  

Forecasting for investors and capital markets

Institutional investors face pressure to perform. To succeed, businesses need visibility to significant trends at the earliest stage(s). Businesses need to acquire reliable and compliant information on where to invest. 

We provide investors with robust forecasts using the world’s largest sample of point of sales data. We predict and document turning points in consumer demand, providing regular, detailed company analyses on technology hardware, semiconductor and consumer durable companies. 

Our forecasts allow investors to make successful recommendations backed up by credible and compliant sources.

Latest insights

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    • 11/22/17
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global Study
    • Global
    • English

    Less than half say ‘children’ are part of the good life; less than a quarter say ‘college education’

    When it comes to the factors that make up ‘the good life’, the most popular items for people internationally are good health, financial security and leisure time, followed by a happy marriage, travel for leisure, a home you own, and control over one’s life. 
    • 11/14/17
    • Retail
    • Shopper
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    What’s in store for the holidays?

    It’s again the time of the year when retailers are eager for the attention and wallet share of holiday shoppers. And the stakes are high: With rebounding household incomes and strong consumer confidence, consumers are projected to churn out a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion this year on holiday shopping*, up from $655.8 billion last year. It’s no secret that e-commerce is expected to account for a bigger share of the pie compared to last year, bolstered largely by the continued rise of shopping on mobile devices. And consumers will embrace omni-channel strategies, be it shopping online and picking up by the curbside or researching products on their smartphones while browsing in stores. What else should marketers be aware of this holiday season?
    • Increasingly, quality beats quantity and price: Apple’s iPhone X, the company’s priciest handset ever, may have just arrived at the optimal time. Americans’ price sensitivity, which peaked during the recession, has waned with the economic recovery: According to the latest findings from GfK Consumer Life, the amount of Americans declaring that price is the most critical factor in their purchase decisions dropped to 36%, down from 41% in 2011 and 39% in 2016. On the other hand, a growing number (35%, up 3 pts from 2011) prefer to own fewer but higher quality products. Also on the rebound is enthusiasm towards new products: 38% admit that they like to buy the newest or latest version of a product, up 6 pts since 2011.
    • Deals still matter: A willingness to pay for quality, however, does not mean that bargain hunting is going out of style. In fact, over three quarters of American consumers feel really satisfied with themselves, even excited, when they get a really good deal – and this is fairly consistent across income brackets. Our persistent deal-seeking mentality is reflected in the continued success of off-price retailers such as T.J. Maxx, Ross and Nordstrom Rack, whose combined sales surged by $14 billion since 2011 and is poised to grow further, as department store sales plummeted by $25 billion.

      To woo bargain hunters, retailers are kicking off the holiday season well ahead of Black Friday by offering steep discounts now. Amazon, for example, touts best ever deals on electronics, hot toys, home goods and more when it opened its Black Friday Store on Nov. 1st. Kohl’s also started November with an aggressive one-day deal of $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent. The company will begin to offer its actual Black Friday deals on Monday, November 20 online.
    • Think beyond products: Not all gifts that Americans will purchase this season can be wrapped up in a nice little bow. According to the Deloitte’s 2017 Holiday Survey, over a quarter (27%) plan to gift experiences, such as concert tickets, vacations and dining out. Behind this is a broader trend that demands attention.

      GfK Consumer Life data reveals that nearly three quarters of American consumers today consider experiences more important than possessions. Vacation destinations and the food they eat now represent the fastest growing forms of self-expression in the nation, as enticing vacation and ‘food porn’ photos flood social media. At the same time, cars and clothes/jewelry saw declines as personal statements. This shift in priority is reflected in consumption. According to HSBC, America’s expenditure on recreation, travel and eating out as a percentage of total spending has been trending up over the past 15 years, whereas spending on durable goods and clothing has decreased.

      But stores can also tap into consumers’ growing zest for experiences. Shopping itself is often seen as a leisure pursuit well beyond finding and buying the right product. Brick-and-mortar stores have long been drawing holiday shoppers in with picture-perfect decorations and Santa interactions for kids. With the inroad of e-commerce, stepping up the ‘experience’ element is ever more crucial for physical stores to maintain relevance. Walmart is doing just that– the world’s largest retailer is to host 20,000 holiday parties this holiday season, allowing customers to take pictures with Santa, see product demonstrations, and get gift ideas.
    • Look beyond the holiday season: While the holiday season still contributes to a large share of the retail sales, its role has dwindled: Since 1992, the contribution of the fourth quarter to annual sales has been on the decline, shifting from 32.8% of total sales back then to 28.9% in 2016. Consumers’ growing accessibility to deals throughout the year, thanks in part to the proliferation of deal sites and apps, may be partly to blame – the same way that the role of Black Friday has weakened as retailers increasingly spread out blowout deals throughout the season.

      As retailers prepare for the final stretch of the holiday race, it’s also important to have a long-term strategy to connect with the ever more experience-driven, smartphone equipped, savvy omni-channel shopper, who is still motivated by deals but willing to pay for the products that matter.
    Veronica Chen is Vice President at GfK Consumer Life. To share your thoughts, please email veronica.chen@gfk.com or leave a comment below. *Spending excludes automobiles, gasoline and restaurants
    • 10/26/17
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer climate falls slightly in Germany

    GfK forecasts a slight decrease in consumer climate for November of 0.1 points in comparison to the previous month to 10.7 points.
    • 10/25/17
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Helping British consumers search for solace: Key trends for the year ahead

    As we look towards 2018, the one thing we can be certain about the year ahead is that there is going to be a lot of uncertainty. Britain’s departure from the European Union, what it will look like and the impact it could have on the country’s economy will hang over many consumers. What is certain, however, is that consumers’ attitudes, behaviors and values will continue to be affected by everything that’s going on around them, and these changes form the key consumer trends that brands and companies need to address in the next twelve months. Anticipating consumer needs is best way to connect with them, and to that end we’ve identified nine cross-category consumer trends for the year ahead.

    Releasing the stress

    One of the most striking findings from our 2017 research is the growing impact of stress on UK consumers. In 2015, 67% of Brits cited at least one of a list of 14 items as being a major cause of stress in their lives. This year, the same figure was 90%. The causes of stress are many and varied, with money being the most frequently cited, followed by the pressure people put on themselves. Two of our nine trends relate directly to helping people relieve the stress or pressure they feel in their daily lives. Streamlined Convenience highlights the fact that consumers are increasingly willing to pay for products and services that make their lives easier (a growth of nine percentage points since 2011), while Instant Everywhere talks to the expectation that goods and service should be immediately and constantly available when needed. Indeed, a growing proportion of the population are willing to settle for an inferior product if it’s available when they need it, which could pose a threat to established brands. Another coping mechanism is finding new and effective ways to maintain physical and mental wellbeing and combat stress; a topic that is covered in our trend called Fitspiration.

    Going even greener

    One area that could be a source of stress (or on the positive side a means of self-actualization) is the environmental and ethical credentials of the purchases we make. In particular, consumers increasingly feel guilty when they do something that is not environmentally friendly, which is covered by our Green Guilt trend. At the same time, many increasingly think about the provenance of what they’re buying, which we term Considered Consumption.

    Making the everyday easier

    The year ahead will also see numerous technological advances, which could help consumers to get more out of life, or prove to be an extra layer of complication. How the benefits of these new products and services are positioned will be essential to their success. One area we expect to see commercialized more is smart home technology, which could help consumers as they go about Redefining Home.  Technology also enables a greater degree of Individualization than ever before, as people seek products that can be tailored to meet their needs.

    Getting the most out of… everything

    At the same time, disruption will continue in a wide range of categories, fueled not only by technology but also consumers’ never-ending quest for the best deal possible as they go on Revaluing Value. When the going gets tough, consumers’ priority is to maintain the standard of living they’ve enjoyed previously by whatever means, and they’ll look to brands and companies to help them do this as they enjoy themselves wherever possible and get on with Experiencing Life.

    How can you use it in your favor?

    As we can see, consumers are becoming more demanding in the new year coming, they don’t want just products anymore, they want solutions to problems, experiences on-demand that make them feel in sync with the environment while getting the best value out of their money. The challenge for businesses is anticipating how these trends are going to impact their industry and therefore, use it as an advantage to win their trust and loyalty. If you want to discuss further about how these trends can affect your specific industry, please feel free to contact me: David.Crosbie@gfk.com Discover more about the current UK consumer in a post-Brexit environment with our Searching for Solace report. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, '94b0badf-2c3f-47a5-8914-4465537f2fc0', {});