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  • Clashing consumer trends battle for energy efficiency – pt. 1
    • 06/03/19
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • TEMAX
    • 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

  • Infographic: Stronger trade relationships through Key Account Data. Who benefits the most?
    • 06/03/19
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Key Account Data Reporting
    • Global
    • English

    Infographic: Stronger trade relationships through Key Account Data. Who benefits the most?

    A common data currency allows manufacturers and retailers to speak the same language.

  • Infographic: Sustainability Trends in European Household Appliances
    • 06/03/19
    • Energy
    • TEMAX
    • Global
    • English

    Infographic: Sustainability Trends in European Household Appliances

    What are really important for consumers purchasing Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) such as washing machines, dryers and refrigerators? 

  • Is your market segmentation lonely? 5 ways to know
    • 05/29/19
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Is your market segmentation lonely? 5 ways to know

    At their best, market segmentations can serve as blueprints for brand strategy, messaging, and targeting – almost every aspect of a brand’s engagement with its customers. But as sources of data multiply exponentially, every market segmentation needs to work doubly hard to overcome a common affliction: Isolation.

    Is your market segmentation a wallflower at the consumer insights dance?

    Too often, a segmentation is the brain child of the research department – or even a single researcher; however insightful and well designed, this vision of a brand’s key consumers may linger on a shelf because it lacks support. Many people who might help bring a market segmentation to life may not even know that it exists.

    Such is the fate of the “lonely” segmentation – one that fails to reach out and connect, whose potential is never known or realized. These unfortunate research recluses become wallflowers at the dance of marketing effectiveness, staring at their iPhone 5s while other research projects strut their insights on the gym floor.

    Signs your market segmentation needs help

    The torrent of Big Data now at almost every marketer’s fingertips makes the lonely segmentation’s predicament even more unsettling. There are so many more data sets to interact with, insights to align with. It makes a shy segmentation want to crawl away to a quiet corner with a very big book.

    Sometimes, as the developer of or advocate for a segmentation, we may have trouble realizing that our creation is feeling left out. To be sure our insights get the recognition they deserve, we need to be clearly aware of the signs and symptoms that a segmentation is running the risk of sitting on the sidelines when it should be coming into its own.

    Symptom #1: Over-reliance on lengthy online surveys

    When you ask your respondent to remain engaged, alert, and providing accurate descriptions of their attitudes and behaviors for 45 minutes straight, you will likely have a problem. Weak data may face questions about validity and have trouble winning stakeholder support.

    Symptom #2: Use of “Black Box” methodology

    The Achilles heel of “hidden” methodologies lies in socialization of the approach and findings. When “trust me” is the central rationale for convincing stakeholder teams of the solution’s validity, the chance of skepticism and tune-out grows.

    Symptom #3: No connection to other data or insights sources

    Given the sea of data sets available to complement a market segmentation solution, not building bridges to other sources is a real lost opportunity.  Fusing to your segmentation can make the difference between a segmentation that is merely “interesting” to one that is actually a “game changer” for the business.

    Symptom #4: Inconsistent or spotty buy-in from stakeholders

    The absence of consistent stakeholder acceptance can be crippling to the effectiveness of any study—regardless of how well conceived or flawlessly executed.

    Symptom #5: Ambiguous activation direction

    The issue here is insight granularity. We need to ensure that we are collecting detail at a low enough level to give clear guidance on very specific tactical executions on the back end. Otherwise, the relevance of your study will be compromised.

    Making sure that market segmentations deliver maximum value for the business means, first of all, staying vigilant to the signs of disconnection. Keep your eyes peeled for these symptoms of isolation, and you can help assure that your project is poised for real-world success.

    Learn to make your segmentations popular

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  • German consumer mood almost unchanged in May
    • 05/28/19
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    German consumer mood almost unchanged in May

    Findings of the German  GfK Consumer Climate Study for May 2019.

  • 6 Reasons why your sales management needs weekly POS data
    • 05/22/19
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    6 Reasons why your sales management needs weekly POS data

    Today, sales management is increasingly driven by promotions, product launches and seasonal sales activities. With shortening product life cycles and volatile consumer behavior, you must maximize sales during these key “moments of truth”. What does it take to succeed? Most importantly, you need to know what’s happening at the point-of-sale.

    Tech manufacturers have been basing their strategic decisions on GfK’s POS Tracking for decades. But tactical sales management is different. To stay competitive and meet targets, sales, marketing and product teams need more frequent insights into sell-out performance to spot and act on opportunities and weaknesses. With the addition of our mobile app, weekly data will be an early warning system anywhere, anytime.

    What difference can weekly POS data make for the business?

    Let’s take a look at weekly POS in action.

    1. Deep dive into sales week by week

    With our monthly reporting you know what was sold, which channels performed best, how the competition is doing, and the bestsellers. However, by detecting under- and over-performing areas across all channels on a weekly basis, sales managers can take immediate corrective action to improve the efficiency of the salesforce or distribution network and negotiate with high-potential retailers.

    2. Track price developments efficiently

    Monthly average prices can be helpful when creating a pricing strategy, but of course prices fluctuate during a month. Tactical pricing decisions need continuous attention. How much will consumers pay for a product? Am I selling at the right price? Is my competitor’s pricing better than mine? Crucially, Pricing and Product Managers need to understand the maximum price achievable for a product depending on the stage in its lifecycle. Weekly sell-out data brings valuable insight into pricing decisions on sales performance.

    3. Maximize the impact of marketing campaigns

    Sales and Marketing Managers need to optimize their trade marketing spend. Regardless of the activity – price or in-store sales promotions, or advertising displays – they need granular insights on sales uplift versus budget invested. Monthly data may show a sales increase in the respective month, but weekly POS provides detailed sales data to track the promotion’s impact shortly after the actual sales took place. More frequent reporting allows sales and marketing teams to maximize impact by acting fast, such as continuing promotional activity that delivers an uplift, or terminating a campaign that fails to deliver.

    4. Optimize distribution during seasonal events

    Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Singles’ Day – special events dominate the retail calendar. Today, Black Friday is the most important sales peak for retailers outside China. While our monthly POS data will show that November was a very strong month, the weekly view will allow you compare Black Friday against Cyber Monday and analyze sales performance on channel level.

    5. Monitor market acceptance during launch

    Launches are the ultimate “moments of truth”. Whether you introduce a new product, feature or product line, you need rapid feedback on performance. Weekly POS data provides performance data to support adjustments to a launch strategy. It also provides objective sales KPIs to better negotiate with merchandising planners and buyers on the retail side.

    6. Reporting based on objective insights

    Headquarters expect weekly reports on sales performance across countries and regions. Country Managers need quick access to objective performance insights at product, country and category level to define and implement counter-actions. Weekly POS data provides reliable KPIs on SKU level to understand the performance.

    Be in-the-know while on-the-go

    You need the right insights to take informed, tactical sales decision fast – anytime, anywhere. Our Android/iOS App GfK Performance Pulse equips you with weekly sell-out data, so you are always prepared for retail sales pitches. Benefit from at-a-glance summaries of market share, sell-out performance, strongest competitor, fastest mover and best-selling models to support discussions with retailers on product listings, distribution, and trade-marketing.

    Weekly POS is more than “monthly” data divided by four:

    1. Timely answers to quickly and confidently identify where corrective action is required.
    2. Tactical sell-out insights for your own and competing products – the full picture across all relevant channels, online and offline.
    3. Easy access – soon via app – and simple sharing with sales teams for timely course-corrections and to maximize your product’s “moments of truth”.

     

    [Infographic]

  • Map of the Month: Sales area provision, Europe 2018
    • 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.

  • GfK Webinar: Register now for free!
    • 05/21/19
    • Consumer Panels
    • Global
    • English

    GfK Webinar: Register now for free!

    GfK Webinar: "Get the most of your category! Identify your potentials on the base of the relevant purchase criteria." 

    Register now!

  • 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.