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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

Here you can find the latest insights for Trends and Forecasting industry. View all insights

    • 03/10/16
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • New Zealand
    • English

    Perception of virtual interactions with people and places

    Internationally, 23 percent of online consumers agree virtual interactions can be as good as being there in person.
    • 03/19/19
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Consumer Life
    • Global
    • English

    How Marketers Can Adapt to TV Programming Trends

    Even though we are still kicking off the year, we’re also winding down the latest round of “must-watch” TV programming that comes early in the year (e.g. Super Bowl, Oscars) – and it is a good time as any to assess the latest consumer attitudes & behaviors towards media consumption.

    TV Programming Trends

    Notably, recent ratings continue to show a bleaker outlook for traditional TV – for example, the Super Bowl was the lowest-rated in 11 years, with 98.2 viewers tuning in (a 5% decline from 2018).  Additionally, the Grammys pulled in 19.9 million viewers, a minimal improvement over the lowest-rated 19.8 figure from last year. And finally, the Oscars very recently did beat last year’s record low of 26.5 million viewers, with 29.6 million for 2019. So where are consumers heading from here – and what are the opportunities for marketers? Let’s focus on three key areas to assess.

    The Streaming Option

    Of course, cord cutting is a phenomenon that continues to have ripple effects. According to a recent GfK Consumer Life study, 26% of Americans have used a streaming device in the past 30 days (e.g. Roku, Amazon Firestick, etc.) – this rises to 36% among Millennials).  And new players will be offering their own streaming services soon – including Apple, Disney, and AT&T – which means that viewers will have even more choices to pass on traditional TV/cable options. However, with more to choose from, consumers might find it difficult to select the best option for them.  And if the cost is not right – we don’t know yet what pricing plans will look like (especially for newer, more a la carte-type packages) – then reverting back to traditional TV programming, or simply not subscribing to any service at all, might be the more viable scenario. In fact, even today, many TV streaming packages are starting at a monthly $40-$50 range – but that is typically with limited channel availability (i.e., tack on more dollars for upgrades), plus the cost of monthly Internet service – and consumers quickly approach a similar $100-type bundled package that traditional cable companies currently offer. Moreover, traditional TV still has the backing of being the ‘go-to’ for live events – for example, only 2.5 million viewers streamed this year’s Super Bowl (accounting for just ~2% of all viewers) – so we still have a long way to go before those numbers start matching traditional TV viewership.

    Everything Is More Niche

    Forty-seven percent of Americans have binge-watched more than three episodes of content in one sitting more often than last year. Ultimately, with media fragmentation (and the many different types of content to choose from), viewers are picking and choosing what types of programming they want to consume (and not just ‘what types’ but ‘when’). According to MRI, 47% of Americans have binge-watched (i.e. 3+ episodes of content in one sitting) ‘at the same amount or more often than last year’ (55% for Millennials). This of course goes completely against the traditional next day, ‘water-cooler’-type conversations (e.g. “Did you see what happened there last night?” “No I’m still not caught up, so don’t spoil it…let’s talk about it again in a few days/weeks/months/etc.”) And marketers are not only fighting to get in front of consumers’ eyes, but their ears too. Podcasts have certainly picked up steam and are catering to all sorts of audiences with niche-type interests (Hollywood is getting in on the act too). MRI data shows that 14% of Millennials have downloaded or listened to a podcast in the past 30 days (+6 pts already just since 2016, and +5 pts from all Americans).

    What’s Left in the Mass Market?

    While perhaps not drawing the same audience metrics as they used to, large “must-see” events such as awards shows continue to exist in today’s world of TV programming (reaching tens of millions of consumers all-at-once is still quite the opportunity).  And though viewers are probably more fragmented themselves than ever – based on demographics, interests, and aspirations – there are some constant themes that seem to resonate with most everyone. GfK Consumer Life lists the following as the top advertising themes that Americans prefer: those that humorous, those that are optimistic, and those that represent giving to others. Notably, this top three list remains relatively the same regardless of age or gender (among other demographics such as political leaning). Marketers seem to have taken note, as these narratives were commonplace in recent spots from the big live events (e.g. Super Bowl ads such as Audi’s “Cashew” spot or Microsoft’s “We All Win”). Types of advertising themes Americans prefer. Source: GfK Consumer Life

    How can companies and marketers adapt?

    The TV programming trends that are taking place in the media world will continue to disrupt moving into 2019 and beyond. Although new offerings will drive fragmentation further, companies and marketers have to acknowledge which opportunities will work best for them. Keeping abreast of cultural shifts is another way to connect with consumers – case in point, the recent resurgence of nostalgia in popular culture. GfK Consumer Life research tells us that 85% of Americans are nostalgic about specific time periods in the past (including two-thirds citing the 1990s or earlier). It’s no surprise, then, that companies and marketers are playing off this theme (e.g. Disney bringing back classic animated films in the form of live-action movies, with their latest effort, “The Lion King”, set to be released in July). Another opportunity area is leveraging influencers and specifically ‘meme’-worthy content. The recent Netflix thriller “Birdbox” did just that – while it may not have been critically acclaimed, the traction from social media & memes undoubtedly led to its success.

    Want to learn more about digital trends?

    Watch the full video & download slides on “The Promise of the Smart Life.” hbspt.cta.load(2405078, '5d172e85-ab11-4206-82b2-f8cf35c26371', {});
    • 10/31/18
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    UK Consumer Confidence drops one point in October to -10

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index decreased by one point in October 2018 to -10. Three measures decreased and two measures stayed the same.
    • 08/20/18
    • Technology
    • Online Pricing Intelligence
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    What drives price movements of tech devices?

    It is a common assumption among consumers that the retail price of flagship tech devices and features will gradually drop over time. Moreover, it is often assumed that the release of new models accelerates the price decline for the, now obsolete, previous models. That means consumers often think it is better to wait a couple of months before buying the latest tech device. But how much is price affected? We looked at a huge range of online pricing over time, to answer this question.

    How far do the prices of tech devices and features really fall, over time?

    The worldwide TV market recently saw the introduction of exciting new display technologies, such as OLED and QLED. Looking at the average price of three 55 inch OLED/QLED TVs (Samsung, LG, Panasonic), we see that the average online price has fallen by 34% between October 2017 and July 2018. Other consumer electronics categories show similar trends, but to lesser extents. For example, the online retail price of a laptop featuring a Core i7 processor has fallen 8%, on average, since the beginning of the year. Similarly, the average price of a smart watch has fallen 6% year-on-year (YoY) to August 2018. Overall, there is a considerable degree of variation between different products, reflecting their peculiar product characteristics and strategies, but data suggests a general downward trend over time for ageing technology features.

    Do new model releases accelerate price declines for older models?

    Sim-free smartphones offer a great case study in this area. So, let’s look at the impact that the release of two flagship devices (Galaxy S9 and iPhone 8) had on the average online prices of previous models (Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7). The release of Samsung’s Galaxy S9 in March 2018 seems to have had a noticeable influence on the price of the Galaxy S8, which decreased 14% in the following 5 months. A similar, albeit weaker, dynamic applies to Apple. The iPhone 8 release in September 2017 induced a decline in the price of an iPhone 7 of 6% in the following 5 months. It is worth noting that the average online retail price of the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 does follows a long-term decline trend (the iPhone7 lost 7% and the Galaxy S8 lost 15% YoY, compared to July 2018 prices), but it seems clear that the release of new models certainly had an influence on price movements.

    However, this is only half of the story…

    The price variations we tracked during the considered period highlight a key contrast between the approaches of the two brands. Samsung’s device is subject to higher seasonal fluctuations, while Apple focuses on limited price variations in key periods (e.g. Black Friday). This shows that, although there is a long-term price trend in place, brand strategies and retail promotions can have a big influence on average prices and drive considerable discounts. This dynamic is even more apparent if we overlay the average online retail price and the lowest online retail price. We can see from the chart below how promotional prices can cut deep under average prices and anticipate the price decline trend by many months. For example, Galaxy S8’ lowest price touched £550 in November 2017, 6 months before the average price reached the same level.

    Conclusions

    The assumption is true, that there is a general trend of price decline over time key tech devices, which is influenced by the faster release of new and upgraded models. However, long-term price movements are also heavily influenced by brand strategies and retail promotions, which can drive deeper price cuts across a shorter amount of time. This has important implications for both consumers and marketers: For a consumer wanting to buy the latest technology or a newer model, looking out for key promotional periods is a better strategy than waiting for the price to drop over time. For Retailers and manufacturers bringing new technology and new ranges to market, the key lies in understanding consumers’ expectation that prices of older models will fall, and their consequent spending behaviour, based on that belief.
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