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Smart insights: Technology

In today’s connected society, technology impacts all industries - driving opportunities and accelerating the speed of innovation.

To stay competitive, technology companies need to understand consumers’ evolving experiences and choices.

Our technology market research experts deliver smart insights to create engaging and relevant concept designs, product positioning, advertising and customer experiences. Our technology industry expertise spans IT and IT B2B, consumer electronics (CE), photo, office equipment and telecommunications market performance, consumer research and trends.

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    • 06/26/17
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    3 things Connected Consumers want from their smart home

    Whether it’s smart speakers, thermostats or refrigerators, one thing is clear. The much hailed about ‘internet of things’ is slowly but certainly becoming a reality. The benefits are obvious for customers – smart homes represent the ultimate in convenience. Back in 2015, Amazon’s Dash button for Tide captured our imaginations by showing us that buying washing detergent need not involve routine, mind-numbing trips to the supermarket. Of course, there are other benefits. According to NEST, the company’s programmable thermostats helped customers save between $131 to $145 each year. Smart homes benefit businesses too. Other than making products easily available to consumers, it also changes the way brands interact with them. In an age where consumers are far less loyal to brands than they used to be, creating a memorable and personalized experience for customers can help one stand out from the clutter.

    Smart homes in Asia – where’s the growth?

    According to a report by the Singapore Business Review, Asia’s smart home market is expected to reach $115 billion by 2030. That’s huge news. Globally, smart air conditioners registered sales amounting $42 million in 2016, with Taiwan leading the market share in Asia, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam demonstrating sizable growth. As expected, China, with its exploding middle class and strong manufacturing and tech ecosystem will lead this charge. Japan is the other major player. Not only is it already among the world’s top five global markets when it comes to smart home penetration, its aging population will very likely continue to drive growth with the adoption of smart health and wellness solutions.

    What are some barriers in adoption?

    Despite the vast potential the smart home industry has, there is still some way to go before the technology truly becomes mainstream. In our research, we found that the most common smart device found in homes is still the Smart TV. 17.38 million were sold in Europe alone in 2016, up from merely 5.61 million in 2011. In comparison, to date, approximately only 8.2 million people own Amazon Echo unit, a smart speaker connected to Alexa, a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service which responds to your voice commands, plays music, controls your smart home, and gives you information on news and the weather. Why is this the case? Here are three areas where we think the industry can improve on.

    Compatibility

    At present, the proliferation of devices, appliances, manufacturers and retailers in the market is confusing consumers. To make matters worse, not all smart appliances work with one another. That makes the buying experience downright perplexing, especially considering how much these cutting-edge devices cost. The solution? We believe that it’s about building the right user experience. We have to deeply examine the user and the marketplace to identify a new set of unmet needs that offer opportunities for customer innovation. In this regard, a concept testing approach will be beneficial as it measures concepts that audiences are likely to embrace, and the extent to which the concept improves their lives, placing emphasis on consumers’ needs. With access to consumers’ emotional reactions such as level of excitement and engagement to the product concept, brands are better equipped to proactively enhance their product aligned to consumer behavior and perceptions.

    Communication

    The benefits of a smart home, and the way it will enhance consumers’ lives, need to be clearly communicated, and adapted to the different needs of each part of the market. For instance, when we asked people why they monitored or controlled a smart device in their home, the responses differed greatly by age group. 62% of Boomers chose “To save money by reducing my utility costs” as their main consideration. In contrast, Gen X-ers ranked “To keep my home safe and secure” as their top priority. Consumers have individual ways of building up commitment, energy and willingness to act. Therefore, the brands that successfully communicate the affordability of the product, ease of use and the value it brings, often see success in facilitating adoption.

    Concentration

    In our 2017 Tech Trends Report, we found that the older Millennials (Gen Y) are early adopters and leading the charge, with 33% globally planning to purchase smart devices in the next two – three years, compared to 28% of younger Millennials. Therefore, instead of targeting indiscriminately, brands need to concentrate their efforts on the segments that matter most.

    Smart devices and the Connected Consumer

    For businesses to successfully utilize the potential of smart home devices, it is first crucial to understand the type of consumers they are targeting. We live in the era of what we like to call the ‘Connected Consumer’, and there are three key benefits they seek from brands – freedom, acceleration and intimacy. Simply put, that means:
    • They want brands and businesses to help make their lives simple and convenient. From smartphones to smart homes, they do so with the myriad of devices at their disposal.
    • They have reduced attention spans as compared to their predecessors. That means that simplicity, ease-of-use and a seamless experience is crucial to retaining their interest. More than half (54%) of consumers globally agree that, “If a new technology product is not simple to use, I lose interest.”
    • They expect an experience when they interact with a brand. Using customer and data analytics – possibly collected using smart home devices – businesses that deliver that engagement can generate long-term relationships.
    Hence, it is increasingly crucial for brands to harness current and emerging technologies to deliver personalized experiences and enhance living, thus deepening customer loyalty. As smart homes become a reality, the most successful brands will be those that deliver the simple, seamless experience that consumers seek. Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below. hbspt.cta.load(2405078, '759ca360-68de-41b4-8280-7c277b7f19cd', {});
    • 06/19/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Improving customer loyalty and retail experience through mobile payments

    Eight years ago, Starbucks developed its own app for mobile payments. Today, it’s still held up as the gold standard in the United States. In Asia’s rapidly developing market, where mobile payment is eight to nine years ahead of the West, things are quite different. In China, you can mobile pay for everything from a cab to a mojito or utility bill. In 2015, WeChat registered more financial transactions in one day than PayPal did during the entire 12 months. But it’s not just China that’s adopting the trend. Mobile payment is also making massive inroads in Southeast Asia as shopping apps are gaining popularity. In Singapore alone, there are 30,000 retail points accepting contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Android and Samsung Pay. In Indonesia, the most populous country in the region with 250 million people, most of the big traditional retailers are unveiling e-commerce plans of their own. In a recent GfK study: The Connected Asian Consumer, consumers in Singapore and Indonesia also reported fairly high usage incidence of shopping apps (37 and 35 percent respectively). This growth is fuelled by affordable smartphones, a massive young and tech-savvy population and efforts by governments and telco operators to expand and improve high-speed wireless networks. The future has never been clearer. It’s only a matter of time before mobile payment goes mainstream.

    The Connected Consumer

    Unfortunately for traditional retailers, the age of e-commerce has also produced a new consumer – we like to call them the ‘Connected Consumer’ – and their behaviors are shaping the future of retail. In the GfK 2016 FutureBuy survey of 20,000 consumers in 20 markets, it was found that shoppers are becoming less loyal to any one retailer. Almost half (46%) of all consumers (14-65 year olds) stated they were less loyal when shopping. This figure rises among the youngest consumers to 53% of Gen Y (18-29 years), and six in ten (58%) of Gen Z (14-17 years). For retailers who understand the Connected Consumer, there are opportunities to stay ahead of the competition – and mobile payments are a huge part of it.

    Customer loyalty

    Despite becoming less loyal, many Connected Consumers expect an omnichanel shopping experience when they interact with a brand. Connected Consumers in APAC seek the best of both worlds. For example, shoppers in China are the most likely to embrace omnichannel shopping – seven in 10 (71%) shop both online and in-store while Australian shoppers are the most likely to shun online: almost two thirds (62%) shop exclusively in-store. In contrast, Indians lead the way in online shopping with almost one quarter (23%) shopping the category exclusively online. Therefore it is important for retailers to understand the new reality of the omnichannel consumer, and know that the ‘whatever, whenever’ culture demands that user experience is seamless across all devices. If retailers don’t understand this, customers will simply delete their app and move on. We predict that mobile payment could halt the current trend for a decline in shopper loyalty. It makes sense, really. There are numerous benefits for shoppers: avoiding queues, centralizing loyalty rewards, checking stock, ordering ahead, enjoying customized offers and easy price comparison. At the same time, using customer and data analytics, retailers can receive customer data to offer more personalized services. In turn, this presents an opportunity to generate long-term relationships. However, it is important to note that not all Connected Consumers are the same. For example, older consumers aren’t as comfortable with sharing personal information as younger consumers. Understanding the shopper’s purchase journey is easier these days with research intelligence offering detailed information on the route shoppers take when making a purchase, and ways in which online and offline touchpoints influence their decisions. We believe that brands that understand, respect and protect consumers’ individual boundaries will deserve the loyalty they earn by doing so. As mobile payments continue to grow in APAC, businesses in various sectors such as financial services, cybersecurity and telco stand to gain and can evolve to support the changing landscape. For example, for telco operators, engaging with retail merchants and partners can help strengthen the overall service ecosystem to provide better end user experiences for consumers. Additionally, the design and development of payment services can also be integrated with other emerging technologies and competencies to offer differentiation to target audiences.

    Customer experiences

    Loyalty is great, but to really retain customers in today’s omnichannel space, shopping experience is equally important. To Connected Consumers, simplicity and convenience is paramount. Not only do they expect everything quickly, they also lose their patience faster.

    What does that mean for retailers?

    For large retailers, mobile payment offers the opportunity to segment and target consumers much more effectively with highly personalized offers and incentives. Discounts and offers can be integrated into mobile payment, replacing the need for physical coupons and entering information into a terminal. Connected Consumers will wave goodbye to the traditional checkout queue and benefit from a wealth of customized rewards. Mobile payment also offers a chance for small retailers to move into a new era of retailing. Freed from high transaction fees and with new ways to connect with consumers, small retailers can now embark on the kind of personalization and targeting that is usually the privilege of larger players. With e-commerce here to stay, there is plenty of potential for retail businesses to leverage research intelligence to adequately design and develop strategies to target this group of consumers. Essentially, the key to success is to fully understand shopper behavior and be led by what consumers ultimately want, without being blinded by what the technology can do. Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.
    • 06/13/17
    • Press
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Geo+RealEstate
    • Global
    • English

    European retail: Central and Eastern Europe gaining ground

    GfK has released a comprehensive analysis of the retail scene in 32 European countries. The study evaluates purchasing power, the retail share of private consumption, inflation and sales area productivity, and also includes a turnover prognosis for 2017. The study appears in the new edition of ACROSS Magazine and will be presented at the ICSC European Marketing Conference in Vienna.
    • 06/09/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Analytics
    • Global
    • English

    Master the different elements of your media mix using store-level sales data

    In our free webinar, you'll learn how to juggle the different elements of the media mix and maximize their performance so that they deliver a greater return on investment.
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  • 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.  

  • 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.

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    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.

  • 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.

  • Trends & Forecasting

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    ​Today’s steady stream of new offerings and shortening product lifecycles place a unique pressure on businesses to stay ahead. Consumer purchasing behavior shifts more rapidly than ever.

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    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.

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    Consumers face a complex array of brand touch points every day of their lives. To deliver a consistent brand experience, marketers need to know how consumers are actually experiencing their brand. Our mystery shoppers give you all the help you need to understand these experiences, and respond to them to maximize the return for your business.

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