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  • SA brands start the countdown to Black Friday 2018
    • 10/24/18
    • Retail
    • South Africa
    • English

    SA brands start the countdown to Black Friday 2018

    It's nearly time for the festive shopping season, preceded by Black Friday, an imported tradition that South African shoppers have made their own. With only a few weeks to go before Black Friday on 23 November, technical goods retailers and manufacturers are scrambling to get ready. So, what are the key factors likely to have a bearing on this event and what should we expect in 2018?

  • South Africans browse on their smartphones, then purchase in a store
    • 09/27/18
    • Retail
    • South Africa
    • English

    South Africans browse on their smartphones, then purchase in a store

    South African Internet-connected consumers still gravitate towards brick and mortar shops for their purchases, with more shoppers practicing "webrooming" than "showrooming". A recent GfK South Africa report indicates that 58% of shoppers bought a product in-store after seeing it online, a phenomenon known as "webrooming".

  • Smartphones and panel TVs lift SA’s consumer tech market in Q2 2018
    • 09/10/18
    • Technology
    • South Africa
    • English

    Smartphones and panel TVs lift SA’s consumer tech market in Q2 2018

    Revenues in South Africa's technical consumer goods market climbed 8% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, boosted by a 16% rise in the telecommunications sector and a 17,4% increase in small domestic appliances.

  • Brands should add to working moms' sense of wellbeing
    • 08/08/18
    • Retail
    • South Africa
    • English

    Brands should add to working moms' sense of wellbeing

    With unemployment rising in South Africa and slow economic growth, our country’s households are under enormous pressure. The working moms who form the backbone of the nation are taking strain as they seek to manage the needs of their households and the demands of their jobs. GfK South Africa’s Consumer Life 2018 research reveals that half of middle-class digitally connected South African mothers (LSM 6 to 10) work full-time, while another 10% work part time. 

  • Online sales of technical consumer goods soar as SA seek bargains
    • 06/18/18
    • -INDUSTRIES
    • -SOLUTIONS
    • South Africa
    • English

    Online sales of technical consumer goods soar as SA seek bargains

    E-commerce retailers grew their share of the South African technical consumer goods market by 52% in 2017, accounting for 6.9% of total consumer spending by rand value for the year. This means they have nearly doubled their share of the market since 2015, according to GfK South Africa's new report, E-commerce 360: Navigating the Technical Goods E-Commerce Market in South Africa.

  • Smartphones sales show resilience in slow quarter for SA consumer tech sales
    • 06/05/18
    • South Africa
    • English

    Smartphones sales show resilience in slow quarter for SA consumer tech sales

    Consumers around the world are putting more value on experiences than they do on possessions, and South Africans are no different. Online shopping, commoditisation of once-expensive goods like smartphones, and a craving for simplicity among consumers are all factors that are helping to drive this trend. People increasingly agree that the thrill of a purchase fades quickly, but the memory of a great experience lasts a lifetime.

  • ViewScape study: Linear broadcasting’s share of screen time shrinks in SA
    • 05/02/18
    • Media and Entertainment
    • South Africa
    • English

    ViewScape study: Linear broadcasting’s share of screen time shrinks in SA

    GfK launches its annual ViewScape study in Africa, showing how the rise of digital platforms is transforming consumers' viewing habits.

  • The ‘ennial tribes: understanding Generation Y and Generation Z South Africans
    • 04/18/18
    • Retail
    • South Africa
    • English

    The ‘ennial tribes: understanding Generation Y and Generation Z South Africans

    South Africa's young people - those aged below 35 years - make up 66% of the country's population. They're rapidly changing the workplace with their search for purpose, the consumer landscape with their demands for authenticity and personalisation, and society at large with their belief in social justice. Brands need to understand what makes them tick to secure a long-term future for their businesses. Rachel Thompson, Insights Director at GfK South Africa, sheds some light on the 'ennial tribes.

  • Smartphones shine in a difficult year for SA’s consumer technology sector
    • 03/15/18
    • -INDUSTRIES
    • Technology
    • South Africa
    • English

    Smartphones shine in a difficult year for SA’s consumer technology sector

    Smartphone unit sales in South Africa climbed by around 21% in 2017, even as South Africans reduced their spending in most categories of the consumer technology market. Storage, media streaming device, and speaker retail sales also saw healthy growth last year, while tablet computer, desktop computer and mobile computer sales experienced sharp declines.

  • How will blockchain play a part in the future of media currencies?
    • 02/07/18
    • Technology
    • Media Measurement
    • South Africa
    • English

    How will blockchain play a part in the future of media currencies?

    As the old saying goes: making predictions is always difficult, especially about the future. However, here is a given: there will be a lot more discussion about blockchain over the coming year.

    So many people have different views on how blockchain will affect the marketing and advertising industry that the potential applications of this nascent technology seem almost limitless. So instead of gazing too hard and long into our crystal balls, perhaps now is a good time to take stock and focus on some of the more realistic developments and what they mean for the industry.

    Following an in-depth review with leading industry stakeholders1, about how media currencies might look in five years, we discussed how blockchain might work and how it would change the way we do business.

    Previously published in MediaTel, we looked at the case for “The rise of the Super JICs” and a companion piece, “Chaos replaces order” in which tech drives a more anarchic, decentralized future scenario. Here we take a deeper look at how blockchain technology might be applied to the ad industry and how that might affect the future of media currencies.

    Firstly, what is blockchain?

    In essence, blockchain is a new way to store information. It is a digital record of all transactions related to a product or service. These transactions are recorded and shared among a secure, decentralized network of stakeholders.

    Certain attributes make blockchain technology particularly attractive to the advertising industry. It is immutable – “blocks” of transactions are continuously time-stamped and verified by the network; and once added no single party can alter it. It is shared – every party in the network can see everything, creating a transparent, “single version of the truth”. It is secure – it is encrypted so that only those agreed parties in the network can access it.

    At this early stage of adoption, many have been quick to jump on the blockchain bandwagon, resulting in some quite far-fetched applications which the industry may never embrace. However, some interesting opportunities were discussed at our roundtable, which could be exploited sooner rather than later.

    Two broad applications immediately spring to mind:

    • The regulating of agreements for buying and selling ad inventory
    • Increased consumer control over the content they are exposed to. Could blockchain replace ad blocking?

    hbspt.cta.load(2405078, 'a152c586-99ec-484f-b429-dd8155224115', {});

    Regulating the transaction of ad inventory

    Given the current issues around the “murky” supply chain in digital, it would seem that blockchain protocols are ideally placed to help provide greater transparency and accountability.

    • They could be used to regulate the agreements made between advertisers and publishers and the myriad of third parties that make up the supply chain
    • They would record all the transactions at every stage of the process
    • Only agreed parties would have access to the blockchain and be able to execute what is in the blockchain
    • All transactions would be transparent to the network

    The clearer governance that blockchain provides would no doubt go a long way to stamp out fraudulent activity such as kick-backs and arbitrage, since any re-selling of inventory would need to be agreed by the whole network. So the increased transparency would help negotiation of deals, and also help to regulate agreed contracts. Everyone in the chain would know what they have agreed to and what is delivered.

    One question, however, is how disputes might be settled if there are disagreements. Digital ads are executed in fractions of a second, but blockchain is much slower – so it is difficult to see real-time verification any time soon. However, it could still be a very useful post-campaign validation tool, but timestamping needs to be accurate to the millisecond, in order to marry financial transaction with ad delivery.

    This area also presents many additional interesting applications, if blockchain is opened up further to include consumers.

    Could blockchain replace ad blocking?

    In the future, consumers could be given more control over the type of campaigns and content they want to be exposed to. Consumers could choose which blockchain networks they want to be a part of and hence what content and ads they receive.

    This would place more power in the hands of the advertisers who can create deeper relationships with their customers. An added benefit to this could be a significant reduction of ad blocking because instead of blocking ads from certain platforms, the consumer can choose which advertising they want to receive. Ultimately, brands could only interact with consumers as part of agreed networks in the blockchain.

    Other areas of development in this area could be to verify activity and blacklist against fraudulent sites and non-human traffic. Blockchain would guarantee the validity of clicks between consumers and advertisers on verified sites.

    However, there are two key issues here. Firstly, one of trust: will consumers believe their data is secure and that brands will only execute on what has been agreed? Secondly, for everything to join up, there needs to be widespread adoption — multiple suppliers along the chain need to sign on the blockchain to make this work.

    Our conclusion

    We clearly have a long way to go before we get to this point – probably at least five years – but the incentives are there. If we can create a transparent supply chain, reduce ad fraud, reduce ad blocking and provide the protocols for greater accountability, then blockchain becomes a very attractive proposition.

    However, it’s worth bearing in mind that blockchain is unlikely to replace the media measurement systems we currently have in place. Blockchain won’t create ratings, segments, impressions and reach. Rather, it will verify whether targets have been met and confirm payment. So while blockchain promises much change, the building blocks of media measurement will remain subject to their own evolution, as outlined in our previous two opinion pieces.

    hbspt.cta.load(2405078, 'a152c586-99ec-484f-b429-dd8155224115', {}); Footnotes:

    1How it all started: voices from across the industry. GfK and IAB Europe invited industry representatives to a round table discussion on how media measurement might look in five years’ time. Participants included: digital platforms Google, Facebook and Oath; global ad agencies Publicis and Dentsu; media owners from broadcast TV and digital; a programmatic audience platform; a national advertising association and the German JIC (Joint Industry Committee) for TV audience research, AGF.  It is the first time we have been able to discuss these issues with such a broad group and, from the ensuing debate, three possible scenarios for the future became apparent:

    • The rise of the “Super JIC” as reinvigorated, neutral data arbiters
    • Chaos replaces order, with data being controlled by different competing entities large and small
    • Technological self-regulation of data, likely in the form of an adaptation of Blockchain technology
  • Five consumer spending trends to watch out for in 2018
    • 02/01/18
    • Retail
    • South Africa
    • English

    Five consumer spending trends to watch out for in 2018

    Consumers around the world are putting more value on experiences than they do on possessions, and South Africans are no different. Online shopping, commoditisation of once-expensive goods like smartphones, and a craving for simplicity among consumers are all factors that are helping to drive this trend. People increasingly agree that the thrill of a purchase fades quickly, but the memory of a great experience lasts a lifetime.

  • What the tech is going on? The latest global trends and what to look out for in 2018
    • 01/31/18
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • South Africa
    • English

    What the tech is going on? The latest global trends and what to look out for in 2018

    We’re underway with 2018 and if you’re at all interested in tech, you’ve probably already read about the latest developments in the market.

    However, you might want to take a look at what we have in stall for you. Using our world-renowned point of sales insights, we‘ve put together a guide to the major trends from last year and what to watch out for in the months to come.

    Are smartphones really still setting records?

    They may have been around for a while, but these devices are still having a massive impact on today’s tech industry. Last year, manufacturers sold a whopping 1.460 billion smartphones at an average price of USD 323, with demand in Emerging Asia and Eastern Europe boosting sales in this market. Meanwhile, consumers in North America, Western Europe and Developed Asia are purchasing premium models with improved features such as larger screens, better processing power and longer battery life. In countries like Russia and India, the sales of cheaper smartphones are gaining importance.

    Feature phones are not over the hill either. These products are proving to be particularly popular among the elderly in developed markets.

    Have tablets hit their peak?

    The increase in tablet sales and the drop in demand for PCs were big stories in the tech world a few years ago, but it seems tablets have hit their peak.

    Retail channel sales of media tablets fell globally by 18% in 2017 when compared to the previous year (Jan-Oct). This was due to a severe decline in emerging markets, where these products account for 34% of the demand for computers (desktops, laptops and tablet computers). While tablets are still popular and often the go-to device for media consumption on the go, the steady rise of this product group appears to have come to a stop.

    This trend overlaps with the resurgence of personal computer sales, predominately ultra-thin notebooks. Driven by Western Europe and APAC, these products account for 10% of the global retail demand (excluding North America).

    TV and the smart home

    Consumers are looking for bigger TVs, especially in China, where it’s expected they will push the average screen size to 54.1 inches by 2020. But these products are not only getting bigger, they are getting smarter – 68% of all TVs sold are now “smart”.

    The idea of the smart home will continue to grow in other areas too. Smart appliances and Internet of Things devices are experiencing triple digit growth rates as people are starting to buy into the industry vision for the connected home. That’s especially true in the United States, which – despite consumer skepticism – remains the largest market for smart devices.

    The reality of virtual reality

    For virtual reality, consumers are still waiting for the must have content and applications to arrive.

    However, given recent announcements from leading entertainment studios, such as VR storytelling in films and the broadcasting of sports matches in VR, this is likely to change in 2018. It’s also expected that stand alone and untethered devices will come into play, for example the Oculus Go.

    Meanwhile, the market is split between cheap VR head mounts where users can use their smartphones and more expensive head mounted displays for gaming. Due to weak sales of head mounted devices in 2017, this category has shown only moderate volume growth year-on-year with +2% in units. Nevertheless, a 19% increase in value indicates that the market is heading towards devices that are more sophisticated. In fact, their sales share increased from 17% in 2016 to 27% in 2017.*

    Another fascinating insight is that the main sales channel for premium devices is not online anymore, but the real world, i.e. offline retail stores. For VR, it appears the immediate real-life experience of the technology is an important factor in turning buyers on to virtual reality. In Europe in 2017, 50% of sales for head mounted displays came from offline outlets (compared to 39% in 2016).*

    *GfK POS data 10 European Countries 2016, 2017

    Arndt Polifke is the Global Director of Telecom at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email arndt.polifke@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

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