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    • 12/19/18
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Gaming as an ecosystem: in search of superior (gaming) experiences

    Gaming PCs continue to be one of the positive drivers of growth on a PC market which has stagnated in the last few years. Gaming is not a local phenomenon, but a global trend which is reflected in the demand for unique experiences and high-performance devices the world over. Enthusiastic customers must reach deep into their pockets for an outstanding gaming experience as well as strong performance as these devices are normally to be found in the premium price categories. Nevertheless, this situation does not seem to be an obstacle for eager gamers since they are prepared to pay more than one and a half times the average price for a gaming PC.

    Solid double-digit sales growth

    In total, gaming and gaming-capable PCs generated revenues of more than 12 billion USD in the first ten months of 2018, which accounted for 19 percent of total PC sales. As a result, gaming PCs achieved a +31 percent increase in sales compared to the same period in the previous year. Their growth remained stable within the double-digit range, but was lower than the positive growth of +55 percent in 2017. The share of gaming PCs grew from 6 percent in 2016 to just under 12 percent in the period from January to October 2018, while at 7 percent, gaming capable PCs had to endure a decrease in turnover (2016: 8 percent).

    Light price fluctuations in gaming PCs; gaming capable desktops more strongly affected

    With reference to global developments, gaming PCs are representative of two central trends: performance and premium. Correspondingly, the prices set are not surprising, especially in the premium segment. In the period from January to October 2018, the average price of a gaming notebook showed a slight increase of +4 percent to 1,100 USD, while the price of a gaming desktop was just over 1,200 USD on average. At the same time, the price of a gaming-capable desktop (including DIY PCs) grew from 680 USD to 750 USD. The prices of gaming and gaming capable PCs are contingent on, among other things, the price of components (graphics card (GPU), processor (CPU), RAM, etc.) and could trigger further fluctuations in the coming months, depending on the availability of components.

    Where to find growth?

    The largest gaming market globally by some distance (excluding North America) is China with a turnover share of more than 50 percent. Thereafter, the top 5 countries, such as Germany or France, each with 5 percent, are in the single-digit range. If we look at the top 10, there follow also Russia and Poland, which are currently performing better than Spain, Japan and South Korea. By contrast, Thailand, with a high growth rate of over +80 percent, is one of the climbers (rising star) on the gaming market and, together with Turkey, was able to overtake some of the European markets such as Sweden and the Netherlands.

    Gaming accessories: additional momentum for the gaming ecosystem

    A gaming PC is not an isolated system, but is part of a very dynamic gaming ecosystem, to which monitors, mice, keyboards, headphones (headsets) and even chairs belong. In 2017, the value of gaming monitors increased by +77 percent and achieved growth of +44 percent in the first ten months of 2018. Gaming monitors with a refresh rate of 100 Hz or more performed even better and generated an increase in turnover of +92 percent in the same period, underlining the importance of performance features for gaming experiences in the high-end sector. Gaming mice and keyboards also contributed to gaming’s momentum in 2018 with sales growth rates of +13 percent and +8 percent respectively. Headphones for gaming PCs and consoles were also among the drivers of growth, with an increase in turnover of more than +50 percent. Virtual reality glasses round off the gaming ecosystem and lend a distinctive character to immersive experiences. Furthermore, ‘mixed reality’ could provide another boost for gaming.

    Gaming beyond the PC: cell phones, consoles, cloud gaming…

    Gaming is not only limited to PCs, since consumers choose between different devices and are often active on several platforms (PC & console or cell phone & console). Thanks to the multi-platform availability of games, consumers have more flexibility regarding when, where and on which device they would like to play. This means that PCs are increasingly competing with cell phones and consoles for the attention of players, which is often use-case driven. Simultaneously, there is increasing talk about cloud gaming, which leaves the performance of the PC in the background. It remains to be seen to what extent this kind of gaming will establish itself, though one thing is certain: consumers will continue to demand fascinating and spectacular visual (gaming) experiences.

    Source: GfK Point-Of-Sales Panel, International Coverage excl. North America, Sales Value USD & Price USD incl. VAT, Jan-Oct 2018

  • Black Friday sales continue to increase in Europe
    • 12/07/18
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Black Friday sales continue to increase in Europe

    Discounts on so-called "Black Friday" are becoming increasingly popular among European consumers. 

  • Black Friday 2018: Tech durables turnover more than doubles compared to average week
    • 12/06/18
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    Black Friday 2018: Tech durables turnover more than doubles compared to average week

    Discounts during Black Friday week are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and beyond. Across the key markets Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Brazil, Russia, 125% more turnover than in an average week was generated. Italy showed the most significant sales increase (+42%) compared to the 2017 Black Friday week and Brazilian shoppers spent the most (1.2 billion €).

  • GfK and Trax forge alliance for technology and durable goods industry
    • 11/29/18
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    GfK and Trax forge alliance for technology and durable goods industry

    New level of digital insights to improve in-store performance

  • Beyond Point of Sale Data: Actionable Insights Right Across the Consumer Journey
    • 11/28/18
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Beyond Point of Sale Data: Actionable Insights Right Across the Consumer Journey

    Understand the four key phases of the journey: purchase trigger, search, moment of purchase and early usage

    Across this series of blog posts, I have explored how the new GfK Consumer Journey Module in our Consumer Insights Engine provides powerful insights on customer behavior for brands in the technology and consumer durables sectors.

    The Consumer Journey module is the first and only solution for manufacturers and retailers in these industries to combine the most comprehensive collection of point of sales data* with:


    • Mobile-first survey data
    • Online consumer behavior data
    • AI-enabled consumer review data


    With our advanced analytics platform, you can increase your return on investment across marketing, sales, product and category management by:


    • Understanding who your customers are.
    • Stimulating demand with your messaging.
    • Optimizing visibility with your marketing channel mix.
    • Becoming the chosen brand in your market.
    • Providing the optimal customer product experience.


    We have created this infographic to summarize how the solution enables brands to understand the four key stages of the consumer journey.


    Note: *In the US, GfK does not have access to Point of Sale 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.

    The examples in the infographic focus on the TV segment in the UK, but our solution covers tech and durables categories in 13 major markets – France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, US, Brazil, Russia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea. If you would like more insight into each of the four steps in the customer journey, please look at the previous posts in this series:

    Which consumer needs trigger the start of the purchase cycle?

    Search and evaluation in the consumer journey

    Understand the moment of purchase

    The importance of understanding early usage in the consumer journey

    To see for yourself how our consumer insights can impact your business, why not access our Consumer Insights Engine demo? It will show you, hands-on, how your brand can benefit from insights that go far beyond point of sale data.


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  • German consumer climate ends year with losses
    • 11/28/18
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    German consumer climate ends year with losses

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for November 2018

  • Beyond Point of Sale Data: The importance of understanding early usage in the consumer journey
    • 11/21/18
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Beyond Point of Sale Data: The importance of understanding early usage in the consumer journey

    ‘Hygiene and user experience’ factors may affect a customer’s sentiment about a new product as much as its functional characteristics

    Technology and consumer durables brands operate in an increasingly demanding retail landscape, characterized by margin pressure, fiercer competition, shorter product lifecycles and heightened customer expectations. To remain competitive in this challenging environment, retailers and manufacturers need access to both point of sale (POS) data and actionable consumer insights that enable them to make smarter and faster business decisions.

    Over the course of this blog series, I have been looking at how the Consumer Journey module of the GfK Consumer Insights Engine delivers such insights and helps brands to better understand the consumer’s purchase journey. Following my previous post about the moment of purchase, I will this week turn to what our solution can tell you about early usage of a newly purchased tech or durable product.

    Throughout the purchase journey consumers seek reassurance that they are making the right investment, especially on high ticket items such as TV’s. Using the Consumer Insights Engine to look at early usage gives us an insight as to whether or not the journey was ‘successful’ from the consumer perspective, i.e. after all the research, are they satisfied with the choice that they made? If not, it can have a negative impact, not only on their relationship with the brand they bought from, but also on the retailer they purchased from. Especially if the retailer played a highly influential role in the final decision.

    Product managers, retail sales reps, marketers and operations departments can all benefit from knowing what customers think and say about a product once they are actually using it. The Consumer Journey module fuses data from our survey around early product experience and applies semantic analysis to retailer review data.

    I am once again using the UK television market as an example, but our solution covers key consumer technology and durables categories across 13 major territories.

    Our Consumer Journey module shows that UK television brands have an average net promoter score (NPS) of +34; 48% of consumers are happy with their purchase. When you compare this to the average NPS score of +29 across technology and consumer durables product categories in the UK, we can deduct that TV manufacturers are doing an adequate job of meeting consumer demands. However, as always is the case, they could do better.

    With the right insights at hand, they could improve sentiment among the 52% of people who are passive about the products they bought or who are active brand detractors.

    To get to the ‘right insights’ we collect review data from key retailer websites in each of our markets and apply artificial intelligence to provide sentiment-based intelligence into early usage and the product aspects that lead to memorable experiences. This gives us insights into the factors that matter to a UK purchaser who has just started to make use of a newly purchased television. Below outlines the net sentiment scores* for these factors:

    • Value for money (96%)
    • Easy to set up (87%)
    • Great picture (86%)
    • Happy with the purchase (83%)
    • Picture quality (74%)
    • Picture and sound (54%)
    • Easy to use (21%)
    • TV looks amazing (17%)
    • Sound bar quality (11%)

    (Source: Consumer Insights Engine Consumer Journey, Q1 2018 data for the TV category in multiple markets)


    If you browse back to my previous post, you’ll see that functional factors such as size and product dimensions were key drivers of the consumer’s purchase earlier in the customer journey. However, once the consumer takes a brand-new television home, practical user experience and hygiene factors such as ease of set-up, connectivity with other products, and the smart TV capability all become an important part of their experience with the product.

    As the low net sentiment for ease of use and aesthetics shows, brands should pay as much attention to the out of the box experience as they do to functional qualities such as screen size or support for UHD and HDR.

    Picture and sound get the second highest number of mentions in product reviews. However, it is important to note that one in five (20%) of these reviews are negative. This highlights the importance of the performance of these factors to the UK purchasing consumer.

    It’s also interesting to see how low net sentiment is around the quality of the sound bar.  This indicates that this particular function is polarizing among consumers. When brands get it wrong, it reflects badly on them. However, when they get it right, it can create a great deal of positive sentiment about their product.

    The combination of early usage survey data and sentiment-based analysis of review data in the GfK Consumer Insights Engine allows brands and retailers instant access to deeper insights that give a more complete understanding of consumer’s purchasing decisions, their experiences against those decisions, and how that reflects on their brand.

    I invite you to look at our Consumer Insights Engine demo to see for yourself how it combines POS data with market research, and online consumer behavior data to offer you on-demand access to insights you can apply in your business.


    *Net sentiment (net positive) is the positive scores minus the negative scores providing you with a more realistic view of the market. It’s designed to avoid over inflation and acknowledge any negatives.


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  • Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power, Europe 2018
    • 11/15/18
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Industrial Goods
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power, Europe 2018

    GfK's Map of the Month for November shows the distribution of purchasing power across Europe in 2018.

  • Go Beyond Point of Sale Data: Understand the Moment of Purchase
    • 11/14/18
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Go Beyond Point of Sale Data: Understand the Moment of Purchase

    Truly understand the every factor that influences consumers’ final decision at the moment of purchase.

    To make optimal decisions about product selection, retailer and manufacturer partnerships, and marketing, retailers and manufacturers in the technology and consumer durable sectors both need a holistic view of point of sales data and consumer behaviour. Having looked at how our GfK Consumer Journey solution helps brands to understand how consumers research a purchase in my previous post, I shall now turn my attention to the insights it offers into the moment of purchase.

    Brands want to know where, how, and why consumers purchase 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.

    Powered by the GfK Consumer Insights Engine, GfK 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 such as:

    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, Q1 2018 data for the TV category in multiple markets)


    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. For a multinational manufacturer operating in multiple markets across Europe it is interesting to know that, when compared to France, a high number of recent TV purchasers in the Netherlands purchased a 4K UHD TV. 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 724,661 TVs were sold in this period in the Netherlands (fig2), 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, Q1 2018 data for the TV category in multiple markets)


    Taking a look at brand loyalty in the UK is another practical example of the value of insights derived from this data. Understanding how little brand loyalty consumers in the UK have compared to other major markets might prompt a manufacturer to focus its efforts on new customer acquisition rather than retention in this market.

    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.

    Check out our online Consumer Insights Engine demo to understand more about how it works against specific business questions. 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.

    Note: *In the US, GfK does not have access to Point of Sale 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.


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  • Beyond Point of Sale Data: Search and evaluation in the consumer journey
    • 11/07/18
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Beyond Point of Sale Data: Search and evaluation in the consumer journey

    Getting insight into which touchpoints drive the best ROI for your brand

    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 my second post in 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.

    My previous post looked at the purchase triggers in the UK television sector as an example of the insights brands can get from the GfK Consumer Journey module of the Consumer Insights Engine. This time, I’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.

    Our Consumer Journey survey data reveals that the majority of television buyers in the UK do their research online. Most of them visited major retailer websites during their purchase journey – the most popular among TV purchasers were Curry’s (63%), Argos (56%) and Amazon (49%).

    (Source: Consumer Insights Engine Consumer Journey, Q1 2018 data for UK TV market)

    Perhaps that’s not so surprising, but our numbers also show that in-store touchpoints still play a major role in the purchase journey. More than half of TV purchasers visited a physical store to research their new TV. Of those who researched their options online, 57% made their purchase in-store.


    What’s more, in-store visits have higher conversion rates than online channels. Around 82% of people who went to a store bought a television in-store, while only 42% of those who searched online made a purchase online.

    (Source: Consumer Insights Engine Consumer Journey, Q1 2018 data for UK TV market)

     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.

    In the new year, we introduce online passive behavioral data to the Consumer Journey module. The introduction of this data will allow visibility of device use, search terms, touchpoints, sites visited and more. This will provide brands an even more granular view of 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. I encourage you to try our online Consumer Insights Engine demo to understand how it works in practice and how it could help you make smart, rapid decisions.

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  • Consumer confidence – does it impact pricing of products?
    • 10/31/18
    • Retail
    • Online Pricing Intelligence
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer confidence – does it impact pricing of products?

    When consumers feel more confident about their own financial situation and about the economy they tend to be more optimistic and spend more. However, in recent times consumers are not feeling optimistic, as tracked by the GfK consumer confidence monthly report. With additional external factors like inflation and Brexit, will this impact consumer confidence further and what will retailers need to do to reduce the impact to them?

    Why does it matter?

    Consumer confidence is an indicator for businesses and economists to understand how consumers are feeling in current economic climates. It should give a good indication on what consumers feel and what their potential spending plans are, when it comes to making major purchases. This is important for retailers and manufactures to track, as this can affect profits and help with understanding a consumer’s outlook.

    The latest GfK consumer confidence index for October remains negative and decreasing from -9 to -10, which suggests consumes are ready to further scale back their spending. The GfK consumer confidence study (see table below) found that 65% of consumers that were asked, believe that prices either will have a rapid increase or will increase at the current rate in the next 12 months. This could mean that consumers decide to buy now rather than waiting for price increases, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.


    What affect does it have on pricing goods?

    With low consumer confidence and the majority of consumers think prices will rise, retailers and manufacturers need to act to entice consumers to continue spending. As both need to make sure they sustain or increase demand levels with their pricing and promotions, otherwise they could see profits fall.

    We are already seeing some action, with retailers’ pricing on 43-55 inch TV’s dropping by 18% in the past 12 months – and 10% over the last 3 months. This indicates that retailers know they need to compete for business to gain more consumers and increase sales.

    For both manufacturers and retailers, until recently there was an upward trend in the number of consumers who thought that now was a good time to make a major purchase. However, this has taken a slight decrease in the last month – as shown in the graph below. So enhanced promotions on items such as white goods or furniture may well entice more consumers to spend, rather than save in the upcoming sales events.


    What else can retailers and manufacturers do?

    This is a pivotal time for retailers, with the ONS reporting that wage growth is at its fastest for nearly 10 years, suggesting that consumers now have more disposable income to spend on major purchases. Inflation will play a major part on this with the recent announcement that it has fallen back to 2.2%. If inflation doesn’t increase it could mean consumers become more confident about purchases and feel the effects of wage growth even more.

    With wage growth on the rise and inflation not increasing as much as initially thought, what do retailers and manufacturers need to think about, going forwards, to make sure consumers choose to spend rather than save?

    Both groups will need find ways to stay competitive and relevant in an arena where consumers are now more concerned about getting value for money or having a memorable shopping experience. For example, John Lewis recently announced that they are looking to boost their in-store experience – aiming to buck the trend of more consumers moving to online shopping rather than in store. This is an ongoing battle, given that ONS reporting shows online sales have increased by 14.2% in August 2018, compared to the same time last year.

    If online sales keep growing this way, retailers will more than ever need to be able to react fast in areas such as changing their prices instantly to make sure they aren’t second best or being undercut by a rival. This could also lead more manufacturers to having their own website to sell directly to consumers, and as a way to connect with consumers directly rather than through a retailer.

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, consumer confidence is an important indicator for retailers and manufacturers for current and future plans.

    With consumer confidence not improving, prices will need to be more attractive to get consumers to spend. Manufactures may need to take a leaf from Apple’s book and offer a high-end product at a more affordable price to entice consumers – as seen with the iPhone SE and iPhone XR. How retailers plan to entice consumers will be important to events like Black Friday and the Christmas period coming up. It is crucial that their promotions and pricing are well positioned, compared to competitor promotions, to make these events a success.

    On the plus side, with wages on the rise and consumers feeling that prices will increase if they wait too long, this could lead to a new wave of spending – especially with Brexit looming. The uncertainty could mean that consumers choose to spend now, rather than waiting to see what happens.

  • UK Consumer Confidence drops one point in October to -10
    • 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.