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Smart insights: Retail

The pace of change in the retail industry is driven by digital advancements: more touchpoints, more product reviews and comparisons for consumers to access anytime, anywhere. And more variety in the path to purchase of shoppers.

To stay competitive and relevant, retail businesses need to understand evolving shopping behaviors and target group demands. They need to apply this knowledge to create differentiated experiences across both digital and physical environments.

Our retail industry research experts provide the insights to support you at every stage: from measuring your shoppers’ experiences and paths to purchase, to monitoring retail performance and trends.

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

    • 06/11/19
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Clashing consumer trends battle for energy efficiency – pt. 2

    In part one of this blog series, we identified two clashing trends when it comes to consumers purchasing domestic appliances: Sustainability and Performance. In this post, we’ll try to better understand the interaction of these two core trends and explore their impact on energy efficiency.

    A disputed increase in energy efficiency

    Between 2014 and 2018, the average energy consumption of refrigerators has actually decreased by 2%. This represents a mix effect of different product segments which vary massively in their energy consumption. Side-by-Side fridges consume about 50% more energy when compared to Two-Door Combi fridges with No Frost technology. The trends towards larger and more energy-hungry appliances has almost offset the increase in the energy efficiency within comparable product segments (only 2% average energy reduction remains with this mix effect). Apart from the average energy consumed, if we look at the annual energy consumption of all sold refrigerators in 2018, the total sum of kWh even increased by 7% compared to 2014 (at a unit growth rate of 9%). This means that choosing larger and more energy-hungry appliances (performance/convenience related benefits) eats up almost all the technological efforts put into energy efficient innovations.

    Promising opportunities to save more energy in the future

    Within MDA 5*, almost 60% of energy is consumed by washing machines and refrigerators sold in 2018, which implies a big impact if such markets are subject to a change. Consequently, regulation standards bear quite a potential. For washing machines, the loading capacity plays a pivotal role: A+++ washing machines with 9kg+ capacity consume 18% more energy than a 6kg washer with the A+++ label. Scientific consumer research carried out by the University of Bonn** suggests that “consumers do not put more laundry into their bigger washing machines, but wash (almost) the same amount of laundry independent of the washing machine’s rated capacity.” Hence, these additional 18% of energy consumption is a potential for additional savings in the future. Some countries also present more potential in saving energy than others. In Germany, average energy consumption of A+++ washing machines is below the European average. Meanwhile in Great Britain, an average A+++ machine sold has used 19% more energy compared to the European benchmark. Besides regulatory approaches, there is also hope to stimulate awareness of energy efficiency when it comes to smart home appliances. In case transparency of real energy consumption increases (e.g. via live monitoring), this may stimulate more educated consumer behavior when deciding on a new appliance. As sustainability becomes more and more important to consumers, however, there is also a potential for the industry players to address such “energy savvy” consumers with products highlighting the best absolute energy consumption along with a reasonable capacity (e.g. 5-6kg). Differentiation can be achieved via the lifetime energy savings as well as a lower carbon dioxide footprint during production and lifetime.

    An opportunity arises

    There is a clear battle going on between the consumer demand for performance (capacity) and the need for sustainability. While the rise of Best-in-Class energy labels suggest that energy-efficient appliances are being sold more than ever before, almost all the improvement is lost because consumers continue to purchase larger appliances. It seems that even with low-involvement products like washing machines, the benefits of larger capacity (convenience) can beat the need for sustainability. This holds especially true when energy labels lead consumers to believe that they act responsibly while absolute energy consumption increases. The great thing about this “issue” is that another opportunity arises for brands to target “energy-savvy” consumers with solutions that truly advocates of energy efficiency. Smaller appliances can be promoted to them as an honest energy-saver for the good of our planet. * MDA 5: Washing Machines, Tumble Dryer, Fridges, Freezers, Cooking  **University of Bonn: Angelika Schmitz, Farnaz Alborzi and Rainer Stamminger

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    [Infographic]

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    • 06/06/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Industrial Goods
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
    • Geomarketing
    • RegioGraph
    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Regional Market Data
    • Global
    • English

    RegioGraph LocationAdvice: On-the-go business site analyses

    GfK's newly released online tool RegioGraph LocationAdvice allows expansion and location planners to carry out location and competitor analyses on digital maps while traveling or away from the office.
    • 06/03/19
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Clashing consumer trends battle for energy efficiency – pt. 1

    What are really today’s consumer trends when purchasing Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) such as smartphones, computers, TVs or washing machines? Consumer attitudes observed by GfK Consumer Life® as well as the purchase behavior at retail POS provide us with solid evidence that the most impactful drivers for people to make a purchase are:
    1. Performance: Enabler for rich experiences through high end product features
    2. Simplification: Automating recurrent tasks or making tasks more seamless
    3. Premium: Aspirational products making a statement about own identity
    4. Borderless Shopping: Consumers: I want it now!

    More consumer trends with big impact

    Sustainability is another decisive consumer trend, strongly present in the world of domestic appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators. Consumers now seek a significant potential to save energy which means energy labels are an important factor in the decision making process. The energy label in Europe has been a success story in that sense for the past decade – allowing for differentiation of manufacturers as well as contributing to consumers’ peace of mind by saving energy. In 2012, only 24% of appliances in European countries* had an A++/+++ label while the share of sold appliances with “Best-in-Class” labels increased to 62% in 2018. Appliances sold with A+++ rating are washing machines whereas this label is still rare in refrigerators or freezers. But this is only half the truth! On one hand, appliances with comparable size became more efficient in recent years (e.g. Combi fridges with No Frost technology consumed 9% less energy on average in 2018 vs. 2014) whereas on the other hand, more and more consumers turn to larger appliances. Performance is another rising consumer trend when it comes to technical goods. Consumers are also looking rich and convenient experiences, i.e. high capacity fridges helping to stock more food and hence, fewer shopping trips are required. However, more and more consumers feel the responsibility for our environment—global warming initiatives like “Fridays for Future” convey this evolving attitude. GfK’s Consumer Life® study confirms the advance of sustainability: In 2018, 45% of global respondents said that they feel guilty when they do something that is not environmentally friendly. This mindset has grown steadily from 37% in 2015. Obviously, two consumer needs clash here: Sustainability (energy saving) and Performance (energy hungry). Check back for part 2 of this blog to find out how these trends affect energy consumption in home appliances. *Data was acquired from 10 major countries in Europe: AT, BE, DE, ES, FR, GB, IT, NL, PT & SE.

    This blog is a preview of my presentation at
    ECEEE’s Summer Study

    [Infographic]

    Download the full infographic here

    • 05/22/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the Month: Sales area provision, Europe 2018

    GfK's Map of the Month for May illustrates per capita sales area provision in Europe in 2018.
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