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Smart Insights: Consumer Goods

The number of touchpoints between brands and consumers is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Consumers are seeking richer retail experiences, rather than simply acquiring new products. There is also an intense competition for loyalty.

To be successful, consumer goods (FMCG, domestic appliances, home and living) companies need a comprehensive understanding of what is driving consumer choices and experiences at every touchpoint.

GfK's consumer goods research and insights illuminate the trends behind today's market realities and tomorrow's consumer demands.

Fast Moving Consumer Goods

Home Appliances

  • Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brands are under pressure to develop emotional connections and relationships with consumers and business decision makers.  Brands need to respond in-the-moment, to enrich the customer experience – and develop strategies that influence ”moments of truth” throughout individual brand journeys.  

  • Consumer Panels

    Consumer Panels

    Your business is all about your consumers. So understanding them is essential in ensuring your products and services meet their needs, and in identifying opportunities for growth.

    Our international consumer panel data and research expertise provide you with smart customer insights into who your consumers are, their attitudes and behaviors, across channels.

  • Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    When consumers shop, search, communicate, gather information and engage with companies or brands online, they behave differently depending on which device or screen they are using. They expect a consistent experience regardless of the channel or device they are using.

  • Point of Sales Tracking

    Point of Sales Tracking

    Retailers and manufacturers are under pressure to develop products and services that maximize sales and profit and to keep customers coming back.

    Success relies on having the most up-to-date sales data, combined with robust analysis to understand which products and services are performing well in the market – and which are not. With this information, clients can set clear strategies for commercial growth and increase return on investment.

  • Market Opportunities and Innovation (MOI)

    Market Opportunities and Innovation (MOI)

    Brands are under constant pressure to maintain relevance in an increasingly crowded market. Identifying when, where and how to deliver compelling experiences that deliver new value for both consumers and brands is critical.

  • Shopper


    Digital continues to open up new paths to purchase, changing how and where people shop. More and more data becomes available every day, as shoppers embrace multi-channel brand experiences.

    To stay competitive in this big data, multi-channel environment, businesses need to identify and leverage the most relevant data along the entire path to purchase. With this, companies can optimize each step of the shopper journey. 

  • User Experience (UX)

    User Experience (UX)

    Our user experience (UX) research and design experts help our clients create and improve customer experiences for existing or new products and services

    Today’s consumer is bombarded with promises for compelling experiences. They are sophisticated and demanding.  To be successful, a new product or service needs to be intuitive, usable, engaging and desirable. The user experience needs to be emotional in order to be memorable.

  • Geomarketing


    Our geomarketing solutions and consultancy provide our clients with smart insights into location-specific factors that impact the success of business sites, shops, sales territories, target groups, as well as chain store and distribution networks.

Latest insights

Here you can find the latest insights for consumer goods industry. View all insights

    • 10/05/16
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Global
    • English

    eCommerce in Germany: Highly varying regional potential for product lines

    The distribution of online potential for product groups such as food, clothing, consumer electronics and DIY items differs substantially from region to region. Today GfK published its findings in the first-ever study on regional online potential for 17 product groups in Germany.
    • 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 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
    • 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.


    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
    • 09/15/16
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    I hope supermarkets are stalking me

    Eighty years ago, Elton Mayo was looking at productivity of factory workers, changing group size and dynamics; everything from rules about talking to the type of lightbulbs in the ceiling. He discovered somewhat remarkably that under every change in condition productivity increased. The underlying insight being that individuals change their behavior when they know they are being observed, more succinctly known as the Hawthorne effect. This has always posed a challenge to market researchers. Consumers’ innate desire to come across as more sensible, rational, better versions of themselves adds a layer of complexity to ethnography and accompanied journeys. Technology in recent years has provided some alternative solutions, from Bluetooth beacons to CCTV based systems that can track individuals in stores. But what is missing from these solutions is the personal information angle; you may find out everything about the trip but are still in the dark about the consumer.

    Getting more out of existing technology

    One piece of current technology may hold an important role here, particularly for supermarkets. Increasingly common in large chains are the scan as you shop handheld devices. These allow shoppers to scan the barcodes of their items as they move around the store and pack them into their bags, allowing for a much quicker checkout experience and removing the hassle of packing your grocery cart just to have to unpack it at the register.   But these handheld devices could be doing so much more.
    • Journey mapping: Using built in GPS or a Bluetooth based sonar system these barcode scanning devices could reveal the footprint of shopper journeys around the store. Overlaid with purchases, they can show underused/visited areas of the store as well as bottleneck areas.
    • Layout optimization: By looking at the way consumers are moving around the store and in what order they purchase items, you could streamline the experience or encourage them to walk past particular sales areas to trigger a spontaneous purchase. By looking at the gaps between purchase points in aggregate, you could identify products that are difficult to find, i.e. those products that always have a long gap between their purchase and the previous item’s purchase.
    • Strategy: To be operated, most scanners require a loyalty card to be scanned first, so there is a whole host of back data to draw upon. Combining an understanding of consumption adjacencies (milk & cereal), purchase adjacencies (beer & diapers) and then shopper adjacencies (go to cucumbers then crisps) would give a powerful understanding of the what, how and why of consumer behavior and would allow for a hyper-personalized understanding but also an aggregate level of consumer segmentation.
    • Supplier relationship: Imagine the power of being able to demonstrate to suppliers exactly how many individuals walked past individual product displays or promotional touchpoints, enabling them to enrich sales data with a much more accurate picture of conversion rate and a view further up the funnel.
    Of course this is all passive below-the-radar data collection and activation. In fact some grocery stores may be using the technology in this way already, it would be impossible from a consumer standpoint to tell.

    The next step: Crossing into consumer consciousness

    With these devices there is potential to push things further into the consumer consciousness.  Numerous studies have shown that personalized interactions are welcomed by consumers if they are relevant and timely. Demonstrating the consumer benefit would win over most customers. Consider the Ocado ‘have you forgotten’ function that monitors what the customer buys regularly and flags items that haven’t been bought for awhile. This could be replicated in store particularly with a unique knowledge of an individual’s purchase adjacencies.

    Personalize the shopping experience through relationship building

    Scanning devices allow for a highly personalized shopping experience. Using a combination of location tracking in-store and loyalty back data, highly personalized content could be delivered at the exact moment that it will have most impact. Imagine if you know that I buy one of two brands of coffee and I am in the coffee aisle, you could push me a brand message from Kenco highlighting its ‘Coffee vs. gangs’ program when I am making that exact decision. This is the ultimate in having a conversation with consumers when they want to talk, which instantly raises the relevance and thus stickiness of any message.

    Guiding the shopper through their purchase journey

    You could completely revolutionize the shopper journey too; no more browsing around or trying to find a member of staff, when the device could tell me the aisle and location of an item that I am looking for. Or even if I entered the items I was looking for in advance, it could guide me on the optimum journey around the store to complete my shopping mission. Ikea have started trials in this area years ago with their partnership with Google Maps.

    The Holy Grail: Integrating with smartphones

    By the time you have got to this level of interaction the obvious question becomes, instead of building all this into their handheld devices, why not built a smartphone app for it? With the Smartphone already in the pockets and hands of most shoppers, would this not be the ideal tool to deliver all this content? This may seem like a natural next step technologically speaking, but it requires a leap in terms of the relationship between the store and the shopper. An invitation to cross the threshold into the personal realm of the smartphone is not something most consumers take lightly. But it could be done… All of this leads me to the conclusion, which is that I hope supermarkets are stalking me. I hope they are making smart use of consumer data in stores; and through the scanning device and Clubcard that I am willing to use. I hope they are using this data to make decisions about layout and supplier relationships, and most of all I can’t wait for the day they introduce directions into the device so that I can stop spending 20 minutes searching for risotto rice every time I go in. Samuel Carter is an Innovation Consultant and can be reached at
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