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  • Join GfK at DISTREE Russia
    • 05/17/19
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Distribution and Supply Chain Management
    • Global
    • English

    05/29/19 - 05/31/19
    Join GfK at DISTREE Russia

    Russia’s leading hosted buyer event for consumer technology and B2B Channels, DISTREE RUSSIA, will take place from May 29 to 31 in Moscow.

  • Total media measurement and beyond
    • 05/16/19
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    Total media measurement and beyond

    What is the future for total media measurement in a complex, fragmented market?
    GfK held a roundtable discussion with leaders from across the media industry to debate this pressing issue. 

  • A growing demand for ethical innovation in technology
    • 05/13/19
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    A growing demand for ethical innovation in technology

    The reckoning of the importance of ethics in tech and the need for new approaches to steer innovation in the right direction have been rapidly gathering steam, and not just among regulators.

    For example, last year saw the formation of the Center for Humane Technology, a coalition of ‘deeply concerned tech insiders’ aiming to re-direct the course of technology away from extracting our finite attention towards a better alignment with humanity. And in April, the European Union released its guidelines for achieving “trustworthy” artificial intelligence (AI), a milestone in putting ethical guardrails around the development of technology.

    Approaching ethics in tech

    In March, Stanford University, the birthplace of the term ‘artificial intelligence,’ launched the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), a sprawling think tank whose mission is to “advance AI research, education, policy, and practice to improve the human condition.” Industry behemoths have also started to take actions. Both Google and Microsoft, for instance, released ethical principles for the development and use of AI in the past year.

    A re-assessment of the industry’s status quo is in order, gauging from consumer sentiment as well.  Consumers’ attitudes towards technology seem to have reached an inflection point. As pointed out by my colleague Kathy Sheehan in her recent blog post, concerns about data privacy and tech addiction have soared amidst high-profile data misuse, privacy breach scandals and mounting evidence of the effect of technology on mental health (incl. World Health Organization’s classification of gaming addiction as a mental health disorder last year). As AI grows ever more powerful and increasingly extends its reach into our lives, consumers also increasingly recognize the risks it poses to humanity: According to a survey conducted last year, the majority (59%) of Americans feel that AI has the potential to be good but comes with some inherent risks.

    A shift of perception towards technology is crystalized in recent research from GfK Consumer Life. Today, just above half of Americans (53%) feel optimistic about the effect of technology on society, down 10 percentage points from the record high registered in 2008. While technology remains Americans’ top source of optimism on a list of 13 aspects of life measured – from the healthcare system to the quality of the environment – the 10-point drop also makes it the fastest declining area of optimism among all.

    Time for realignment

    Although some question tech companies’ ability to self-regulate, it’s clear that inaction isn’t an option. Failing to address consumers’ growing concerns about technology risks falling out of touch with potential customers, and falling behind competitors who demonstrate the will to put their customers’ – and humanity’s – best interest in mind.

     

    Goodwill matters to the consumer. Data from GfK Consumer Life reveals that people are increasingly socially conscious – “helpfulness” and “social responsibility” are among the fastest growing personal values globally. And a rising number (43% globally, up 10 pts from 2011) state that they only purchase products and services from brands aligned with their values and beliefs.

    So how should companies re-align and consider ethics in tech innovation? A few thoughts to consider.

    Put humans in the center, not technology

    At the core of the tech realignment is a paradigm shift from a tech-centric to a human-centric approach. Long have tech companies been caught in the cutthroat race to churn out novel products enabled by the latest technology designed primarily to maximize usage. But an ethical approach to address some of glaring issues of technology – from tech addiction to its role in social isolation – would require companies to pause and question the long-term impact of its innovation on the wellbeing of its users and the society. Some have already started to do this.

    In February, OpenAI made its step towards pushing ethics in tech with the company’s rare announcement of a ‘non-release.’ Concerned about the powerful technology being potentially misused to create fake news, the research firm announced that it would not release a version of a text generator they developed.

    It’s also worth noting that, ethics aside, a tech-led approach is increasingly at odds with consumers’ changing sentiment towards technology. As the excitement over technology’s promise gives way to a sobering reckoning of its side effects, there are signs that consumers are growing more solution-oriented and less enticed by novel technology in their product adoption. Global research from GfK Consumer Life shows that “providing a solution to a problem” has surpassed “harnessing the very latest technology” as a top association of true innovation among consumers.

    Design with inclusivity in mind

    There is widespread evidence that AI has been struggling with a bias issue, from facial recognition technologies that are less effective in detecting people of darker skin to an AI-powered hiring tool that discriminates against women. The increasing spotlight shining on such issues will drive greater scrutiny over algorithms. Growing consumer social consciousness will also help drive the demand for inclusive technology free of bias—an inclusion of ethics in tech progression. “Equality” has emerged as a top tier value globally, now #15 on the list of 50 personal values that GfK Consumer Life has been tracking consistently, up from #22 in 2011. As pointed out by numerous experts, having broader representation in the design, development, and test of technology may be part of the solution.

    Step up on data privacy and security

    Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement in March to shift the focus of Facebook to a ‘privacy-focused’ platform marks a drastic and telling change of course for the social media giant. It reflects the changing tide in the public’s sentiment towards privacy, which will likely impact companies well beyond social networks.

    According to the GfK 2018 Smart Home study, privacy has emerged as a top barrier for the adoption of smart home products, trailing only slightly after cost and ahead of worries about interoperability between devices, product knowledge and more. It is in fact the top hindrance for the adoption of digital home assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home Assistant.

     

    As the digital age deepens with more products becoming connected and reliant on user data to deliver optimal, personalized customer experience, digital privacy and security is set to become an ever more important front of competition for companies. With growing concerns now harder than ever to ignore, the need for ethics in tech is now.

    Want more from GfK Consumer Life?

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  • Timely reports from GfK Consumer Life
    • 05/10/19
    • Consumer Life
    • Global
    • English

    Timely reports from GfK Consumer Life

    These reports contain information from our 2018 study and prior years, which cover 21 countries around the globe, beginning with consumers ages 15 and up.

  • New digital maps available for Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    • 05/10/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Industrial Goods
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Global
    • English

    New digital maps available for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

    GfK has released updated map editions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with coverage of hundreds of changes to administrative and postcode regions. Up-to-date digital maps are the basis for carrying out accurate geographic analyses in geomarketing software and BI systems. 

  • Brick-and-mortar retail in the EU: Highest 2019 growth in Romania and Lithuania
    • 05/09/19
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    Brick-and-mortar retail in the EU: Highest 2019 growth in Romania and Lithuania

    GfK study on European retail

  • Retail trends and technologies – pt. 2
    • 05/08/19
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • TEMAX
    • Global
    • English

    Retail trends and technologies – pt. 2

    In our previous blog on retail trends & technologies, we discussed how retailers can adapt to intelligent retailing and increase their security in retail stores. In this post, we’ll cover how important it is to provide a connected customer experience and steps retailers can take into automation.

    The consumers of today want to not only make a purchase, but also have a great experience doing so. A rich experience is extremely relevant for shopping behavior—a key factor for retailers. Good experiences can provide additional value and trigger new or additional purchases.

    Retail Trend #3: Creating a seamless shopper experience

    Whether a customer is shopping in a brick and mortar store, at home or on the go, the most adequate experience should be available at all times. In retail trends, round the clock availability and situational independence are slowly becoming the norm. Our GfK FutureBuy study reveals that consumers regard “social media as an important source of information” and “mobile [as] an important tool for making a purchase” which further demonstrates the increasing importance of these experience drivers. Let’s look at different scenarios to describe what it means to provide a connected experience.

    Scenario 1: Connecting online with offline

    Let’s assume different shopper journeys for John. In his first purchase journey, he starts from home using a mobile/tablet to shop online. While browsing, he can use various technologies to help him find what he’s looking for such as:

    1. Voice assistant to bring up a specific item or store
    2. A store’s mobile app and its chatbot assistant
    3. A chatbot through the store’s social media page

    If John selects a product online and decides to collect it at the retail store, we’d call that retail trend “Click and Collect.” But if John schedules an appointment at the store to test the product and then decides to purchase it, he’ll be using the “Click and Reserve” model. If he does go with the “Click and Reserve” option, a trial room would then be available for John to try out the product or the store would provide a consultant to demonstrate the product at a specified time.

    In case of a fashion or luxury product, the store is equipped with smart mirrors and augmented reality that enables John to try out the products very quickly. If the size or color doesn’t suit him, John can change the item by using the smart mirror & AR features.

    Alternatively, the store consultant can be informed during the whole process using a chatbot assistant. In this case, the store consultant gets an alert on his digital assistant to provide help to the customer. This enhances John’s shopping experience by saving him the extra effort while the store reduces the risk of damage or theft.

    Smart mirrors and augmented reality can help shoppers try products quickly

     

    In case the product is not available, the store would then have a real-time ERP system and up-to-date information linked to its warehouse that can assist John by telling him the product availability. If the item is available, John can request to get it shipped to his home—called the “Select and Ship” model.

    Alternatively, he could also schedule another appointment to test it again when it’s in store. This technology could eliminate the issue of a more limited assortment that traditional retailers experience vs. online retailers.

    Scenario 2: Providing transparency and relevance

    While John is walking down the street near a store, he can also receive a message regarding new products or discounts. If John is already an existing customer, he can also get notified of loyalty offers. This is possible using technologies like beacons, Geo-fencing and Near Field Communication (NFC). Retail trends & technology like Geo-targeting can:

    1. Create awareness among consumers who are not yet customers
    2. Retain and up-sell to an existing customer


    Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) and digital signage can help the retailer to efficiently control product information dissemination, pricing and promotions from a central system. Once John is in the shop, he can get to know more about the product using digital screens and signage. Using visual search screens showing the store map, John could search for the product from the screen and can directly go to the appropriate section of the store. A connected shopper experience is as a catalyst for better sales.

    The two aspects in retail trends that are driving consumer towards online channels include:

    1. Finding products or services that a consumer specifically wants
    2. General information regarding products and services

    Visual search screens showing the store map helps a customer search for the product from the screen

    Scenario 3: Delivering custom products

    If John decides to buy a shirt that he wants tailored, he can use the phone or tablet cameras to scan his measurements and features to order such a custom fit product.

    Scenario 4: Making it fun

    GfK FutureBuy tells us that buying additional items while making a routine purchase is a key driver for the customer to visit the store. If John has a mobile app which contains his shopping list, he frees up time to browse and discover other items for purchase which makes his shopping trip less like a chore. And the fun isn’t just limited to consumers—for store employees, too. Gamification can assist in shelf stocking (like a game) and can motivate the employees to finish their work in the most efficient way. A fun experience for both the customer and employee aids to the success of the retailer.

    Retail Trend #4: Cost savings with automation

    Automation whether it is hardware (e.g. autonomous warehouses and store robots/vehicles) or software (like real-time monitoring algorithms, chatbots, etc.), improves efficiency, saves time and delivers value-added services and a high-tech shopping experience.

    Scenario 1: If it’s mundane, automate it

    Instead of a real-life person, John walks into a store and is greeted by a “Greet and Guide” in-store robot which welcomes and asks questions to guide him to the appropriate section of the store. In case John asks a complicated question, the robot then generates an alert for a store consultant intervention. Another way to use robots in retail is to automate item stock and flaw detection. The value proposition for these robots is to reduce mundane tasks, giving store employees more time for value-added services like consulting the customer and providing excellent service.

    Scenario 2: Anytime, anywhere assistance

    Chatbots are already part of many automated customer support procedures and they can assist customers like John inside the store via the mobile app or social media bots. Chatbots can answer standard questions, help with recommendations, scheduling an appointment (Select & Try model) or assist John in the online purchasing workflow.

    Retail trends and technologies like automation is all about cutting cost on redundant activities and enabling more time for value-added services. Although automation needs an initial capital investment, cost savings and efficiencies are pegged to be much higher in the long-term.

     

    It’s all for the consumer

    In conclusion, retail players who align their strategy to incorporate aspects of intelligent retailing, security, creating connected experiences and automation will end up creating a more efficient, secure and transparent value chain that enhances the shopper experience. Adapting to new retail trends and technologies is essential to satiate the highly demanding, informed customer.

     

    Want more? Get answers to key business questions at GfK Insights Summit

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  • GfK releases 2019 purchasing power for Austria and Switzerland
    • 05/08/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Industrial Goods
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Global
    • English

    GfK releases 2019 purchasing power for Austria and Switzerland

    According to GfK's latest study, the Swiss have a 2019 per capita purchasing power of €42,067, significantly outpacing the Austrians (€24,067) and Germans (€23,779). 

  • Consumer climate remains stable
    • 04/30/19
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer climate remains stable

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for April 2019.

  • How do Indian TV consumers make their final purchase?
    • 04/30/19
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    How do Indian TV consumers make their final purchase?

    Brands want to know where, how, and why consumers make final purchase on products, so that they can make smart decisions about retailer partnerships, product selection and development, and marketing and promotions. Retailers, meanwhile, need to understand how they are performing in different channels (in-store and digital), as well as which brands and models sell best and why. Manufacturers and retailers alike also want insights into competitor performance and partnerships.

    A case study of the TV market in India

    Having looked at how our Consumer Journey solution helps brands understand how consumers research a purchase in my previous post, let’s dive into the insights it offers into the moment of their final purchase.

    Truly understand all the factors that influence consumers’ final decision at the moment of purchase

    Powered by the GfK Consumer Insights Engine, our Consumer Journey offers technology and consumer durables manufacturers a full view of the online and offline consumer purchase journey. This enables them to answer key business questions, including:

    Lost shoppers

    • How many shoppers did we lose during the purchase journey and what is the size of this lost opportunity?
    • Who are these shoppers?
    • Which competitive brands or retailers did we lose out to and why? 

    Partnership opportunities:

    • Which retail or manufacturer brands should we partner with?
    • Which retailers or brands could offer access to unique customers?
    • Which competitive brands or retailers attract the same consumer profile as we do?

    Channel conversion:

    • What are my channel conversion rates?
    • How can I improve them?
    • What role does each channel play in the consumer journey?

    As a subscriber to the Consumer Journey module, you can use the Consumer Insights Engine to get instant access to insights that will allow you to answer your key business questions. To provide you the data that leads to trusted and actionable consumer insights, we seamlessly integrate multiple data sources into this advanced analytics platform: global sales data*, consumer research, behavioural data, and AI-enabled review data.

    The data visualized below is pulled from a cross-market analysis of the TV category using the Consumer Insights Engine and is used to answer many important questions our clients are asking about the moment of purchase.

    Source: Consumer Insights Engine Consumer Journey, Q2-Q4 2018 data for the TV category in multiple markets

     

    Percentage of respondents in the four key Asian markets who are influenced by Price is the lowest in India, at 69%. On the other hand, Indian consumers holds the highest regard for the product’s Features, as compared to consumers from the other markets. In addition, the product’s Brand is also a significantly more important factor for Indian consumers with 55% mentioning this as a key driver during the final purchase stage– the highest across all markets we track. Manufacturers therefore need to recognize the importance of product’s Brand and Features, and not consider Price as the only factor.

    As the data above illustrates, our solution provides a coherent view of – and granular detail about – the consumer’s purchase journey and the factors that influence his or her final purchase decision to equal granularity across participating markets, in this case, India. This data informs the marketing team that messaging around this feature should resonate in this market. When this data is coupled with data identifying that 9,304,460 TVs were sold in Q4 2018 alone in India, it can begin to inform other business units within our clients’ organisations, such as supply chain and logistics. This total market view of units sold is achieved through our calibration with actual point of sales data*.

    Fig2. Source: Consumer Insights Engine Consumer Journey, Q4 2018 data for the TV category in multiple markets

     

    Importance of Brand during the final purchase cycle

    Taking a look at the importance of Brand as a driver during the final purchase cycle in India is another practical example that highlights the value of the insights derived from the data in the Consumer Insights Engine

    Our solution covers 13 major markets – France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, US, Brazil, Russia, China, India, Japan and South Korea. Thus, multinational brands can not only get insights into national markets, but also compare brand performance and consumer behaviour across multiple territories.

    Note: *In the US, GfK does not have access to Point of Sales (POS) data. US data is calibrated using information gathered from a telephone survey based on probability-based sample representative of both mobile phones and landlines. No retailer data is used in the development of the US offering.

    Get an online demo of our Consumer Insights Engine to find out how to get actionable business insights at speed that go beyond point of sale data and help you get inside the mind of your consumers.

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  • Map of the Month: Six-digit postcodes, Colombia 2019
    • 04/24/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Industrial Goods
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
    • Geomarketing
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the Month: Six-digit postcodes, Colombia 2019

    GfK's Map of the Month for April depicts the six-digit postcode boundaries for a region of Colombia.

  • The TV consumer journey in India
    • 04/23/19
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    The TV consumer journey in India

    My previous post looked at the purchase triggers in India’s television sector as an example of the insights brands can get from our Consumer Journey module of the Consumer Insights Engine. In this post, we’ll look at how the solution can give brands accurate, actionable information about how and where consumers research and evaluate their options when they are looking to purchase a new TV.

    To maximize their performance in today’s competitive retail landscape, brands need a single, accurate view of the market with instant insight into consumer purchase behavior. In this post of this blog series, I’ll look at how the GfK Consumer Journey solution delivers that and enables brands to understand how consumers do their research when they buy a new product.

    Touchpoints that drive the best ROI for your brand

    Our Consumer Journey survey data reveals that the majority of television buyers in India do their research both in-store and online. While 45% did their research only through offline channels, a majority of the remaining 55% used both offline and online channels. Only 12% customers relied solely on online channels.

    Overall, an average customer in India typically visited 1.7 physical stores while researching to purchase a TV, while those who conduct online research visited 2.8 retailer websites.

    Perhaps that’s not so surprising but our numbers also show that in-store touchpoints still play a major role in the consumer’s purchase journey. More than half (52%) of TV purchasers in India visited a physical store to research their new TV prior to purchasing. Of those who researched their options in-store, a whopping 89% went on to make their purchase in-store. It is interesting to highlight that over three-quarter (76%) of those who researched various options online, also eventually made the final purchase in-store.

     

     

    Even in a digital age, in-store advertising and displays play a major role in driving sales but as our Consumer Journey insights research shows, this does differ somewhat by brand.

    This sort of insight is invaluable to marketing teams in optimizing their online and offline marketing and advertising channel and touchpoint investments throughout the consumer journey. They will know which channels and brand/product touchpoints consumers use during their search and evaluation of new products, helping them to make better decisions about campaign execution.

    They can also see which consumers considered their brand but bought something else, and why they made that choice. We will look into why consumers in this market purchase products in my next blog post. These insights enable brands to plan ahead and improve conversion rates amongst lost shoppers. Product category managers and operations departments, meanwhile, can learn about where consumers are researching and buying product, so they can make better stocking decisions.

    We will soon be introducing online passive behavioral data to the Consumer Journey module and this will give us visibility of device use, search terms, touchpoints, sites visited and more. Brands will be given an even more granular view of the consumer’s online behavior during the purchase cycle

    One way in which GfK Consumer Insights Engine is unique is that it provides all of these insights in a single platform. This eliminates the need for multiple data and insights suppliers and provides a coherent view of your consumer’s purchase journey.

     

    Get a demo of our Consumer Insights Engine online to understand how it can help you make smart, rapid decisions