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  • Connected Consumer Index
    • 05/06/16
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Home Appliances
    • Financial Services
    • Health
    • Health Technology
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Home and Living
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Connected Consumer Index

    GfK’s Connected Consumer Index provides a single measure covering how much, and on what devices, consumers in each of 78 countries and 8 world regions digitally connect with each other and with digital content. 

  • GfK releases 2016 purchasing power for Austria and Switzerland
    • 04/13/16
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Health
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Geo+SalesTerritories
    • Geo+BranchNetworks
    • Geo+TargetGroups
    • Geo+MarketShares
    • Geo+DistributionPartners
    • Retail Consultancy
    • Retail Real estate consultancy
    • Global
    • English

    GfK releases 2016 purchasing power for Austria and Switzerland

    New 2016 GfK purchasing power data is now available for Austria and Switzerland. Purchasing power levels vary substantially both between and within these two neighboring countries. GfK's study reveals the regional distribution of this purchasing power.

  • Check the vital signs of your business: Is the prognosis good or is the condition chronic?
    • 04/07/16
    • Health
    • Germany
    • English

    Check the vital signs of your business: Is the prognosis good or is the condition chronic?

    Our preliminary examination shows the health industry is under increasing pressure. To succeed in this environment, businesses need to prescribe to a ”full picture” market view and gain deep multi-stakeholder insights into patients' demands and health experiences, today and tomorrow.

    • 03/10/16
    • Financial Services
    • Health
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    Putting the minimum in Minimum Viable Product (MVP): It’s about the experience!

    Getting to market first can often be the difference between success and failure. But getting there too early can also be disastrous. If quality is judged to be poor, the brand suffers and reputation might not be recoverable. If adoption is low, the innovative technology itself might seem irrelevant, obscuring its value rather than exploiting it. So the challenge for technology leaders racing to market is this: How good is good enough for a minimum viable product?

    Great idea + great technology + great experience = disrupting an industry

    You’ve got a great idea, you think it will be a hit in the market and fill an untapped need. Your team develops innovative technology to transform the idea into a working product. What’s next? Successful disruptors focus on the entire consumer experience to increase the likelihood of adoption and reduce the risk of low adoption. For example:

       

    • Uber released an initial product with an addictive experience coupled with innovative technology. The design of the engaging mobile app succeeded by combining simple visualization of cars and location with a straightforward payment workflow. This ensured quick adoption and that consumers would not quickly switch to next-to-market competitors such as Lyft and others.
    • Warby Parker made the experience of getting new glasses seem fresh by combining technology with a great, personal brick and mortar experience. In addition, the experience includes an understanding that the socially conscious brand will donate one pair of glasses for each pair purchased. This focus on multiple ways to interact with consumers created an initial product suite that reflects a dynamic, multi-channel approach.
    •  

    Designing a great experience: The Holy Grail of product development

    Developing the consumer experience has never been a hotter topic. A recent Harvard Business Review article quoted Bridget van Kralingen, a senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services, saying “there is no longer any real distinction between business strategy and the design of the user experience”. As a society, we are fascinated by products that seem to become ubiquitous overnight. In his book, Contagious, Jonah Berger ascribes this success in part due to personal recommendations being prime influencers in behavior – if you have a great experience with a product, you are very likely to tell your friends and family to check it out, and they are very likely to do it.

    This rapid, viral adoption is what all product developers seek: rather than investing heavily in promotion and marketing, a great product experience will sell itself and early adopters will become the product’s most effective spokesmen. In fact, our data has shown the direct relationship between user experience and active brand equity – a direct contributor to market share.

    How should an organization (and its investors) decide when a product is ready to ship?

    It’s all about the user experience:

       

    • The technology has to be “ready” enough that the experience communicates a quality product. This means no bugs and no typos. Details matter, a lot.
    • The value of the product is apparent to users: the use of disruptive technology, innovative approach, etc. need to be readily seen both from the marketing messaging and the product itself. Example: Uber and those little black cars on your mobile device, clearly communicate information and expectations.
    • The first shot needs to have a clear purpose. You can always layer in more technology (e.g., targeting additional devices such as watches) and more features but the first launch has to provide a great (possibly infectious) experience even for the early adopters.
    • Delight your intended customers. Measure beforehand what the experience feels like and use this to inform your go-to-market strategy.
    •  

    The race to market has never been tighter. As soon as a company decides on a cool, new, innovative, disruptive technology, there are dozens of competitors right on their heels. The winners of this race will determine what’s good enough by developing strategies that incorporate a focus on the experience in their definition of minimum viable product.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at Lauren.Zack@GfK.com. And find out more about user experience.

    • 02/24/16
    • Health
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Shield Therapeutics raises £32.5m in London IPO

    On 12th February 2016, despite challenging market conditions, Shield Therapeutics raised £32.5 million in an initial public offering (IPO) of shares on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Upon admission the Company had a market capitalisation of approximately £162 million at the placing price of 150p.

     

     

    • 02/23/16
    • Health
    • Recommendation Driver
    • Global
    • English

    Why recommendations of healthcare professionals matter

    Brand recommendations made by healthcare professionals (HCPs) are of high importance for consumers and a relevant reason for making a purchase in the consumer health market. Despite of, or because of, the overwhelming number of digital information sources that can often be confusing, the high relevance of a personal brand recommendation given by HCPs is a top reason for a consumer’s purchase decision.

    A GfK Medic*Scope study on the purchase behavior of consumers in German pharmacies showed that 16% of all over-the-counter (OTC) product purchases are influenced by a doctor’s recommendation. This means that a physician’s recommendation in the area of self-medication is almost as important as one from a pharmacist.

    The study provided a deeper analysis of consumer’s purchase reasons – based on 174 OTC markets broken down by conditions (e.g. heartburn, flu, pain). It revealed that the role of an HCP recommendation has an even greater impact in some markets. In such HCP recommendation-driven markets, a doctor’s brand recommendation is more supportive of sales than those given by a pharmacist, although the pharmacist is often directly involved in the OTC selling process.

    Three key effects of a physician‘s recommendation on OTC brands

    OTC brands whose purchase is influenced by a doctor’s recommendation benefited in three different ways. And according to shopper analysis conducted with GfK’s Medic*Scope panel (covering consumer purchases in German pharmacies), a physician’s recommendation:

    1. Often levers the price acceptance significantly: Depending on the product type, the average prices for purchases influenced by a doctor’s recommendation are between 5% and 54% above the average price.

    2. Results in a higher fulfillment of demand: The number of purchased units in the area of curative and preventive products rises significantly.

    3. Is long-lasting: Recommendations given by doctors are more sustainable than ad messages (depot effect).

    The topic of HCP recommendation is increasingly the focus of OTC brand manufacturers

    The high relevance of HCP recommendations in the market for consumer health is also recognized more and more by OTC brand manufacturers. A study of 45 OTC manufacturers in Germany, conducted by GfK and Sempora Management Consultants in 2015, showed that more than three-quarters of them consider HCP recommendations as “important” or “very important” during the customer’s purchase journey.

    Almost two-thirds even expect the importance of HCP recommendations, and their relevance to the consumer, to increase significantly within the next five years. Therefore, it is no surprise that 75% of all involved OTC companies claimed that they want to intensify their efforts to influence HCPs recommendation behavior.

    Measurement of success via HCP recommendation tracking

    In the context of so-called “expert marketing”, the sales force is highly significant for generating brand-specific recommendations. This is cost-intensive, of course. That’s why a very good success measurement approach is needed. For that reason many companies implement ongoing HCP recommendation tracking.

    For good sales-force performance measurement, it’s not only crucial to measure generated recommendation shares and rates, but also to cover qualitative components. For example, there are very often professional marketing claims that aren’t correctly assigned to brands by HCPs. So they do not support sales force activities appropriately. At GfK we’ve found that using a sophisticated HCP recommendation tracking tool can directly determine a sales force’s potential for optimization.

    In addition, profound market expertise is also needed for good data interpretation.

    Benchmark data across countries, markets and target groups are also very helpful.

    Direct usage of HCP recommendation tracking results for consumer marketing

    A few companies do more than just generate and measure their and competitors’ brand recommendations. They use, if study findings allow it, high-recommendation rates actively for their consumer marketing. Therefore, consumer-oriented claims are generated based on HCP’s measured recommendation behavior.

    The oral health market is a good example for the usage of such claims. Typical claims are: “Brand X – #1 recommended brand by dental professionals” or “9 out of 10 dentists recommend brand X”. In this case, results of a HCP recommendation tracking study are even used at the point of sale (POS) for supporting sales.

    The personal recommendations of HCPs are highly relevant as a top reason for a consumer’s purchase decision. And measuring recommendation behavior brings an even greater level of understanding that consumer marketers can use to intensify their sales strategies.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below. For more information on the importance of HCP recommendations in successful consumer marketing initiatives, contact me at christian.reuschenbach@gfk.com.

  • GfK Demographics Germany 2015
    • 02/23/16
    • Health
    • Retail
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Global
    • English

    GfK Demographics Germany 2015

    The university city of Heidelberg has Germany's highest share of households whose main earners are 30 years old or younger. By contrast, the highest share of senior households can be found in the district of Suhl in Thuringia. These are some of the findings of the study "GfK Demographics 2016", which reveals the regional distribution of family types, age ranges, income levels and accommodation types in Germany.

  • GfK Demographics Germany 2015
    • 02/23/16
    • Health
    • Retail
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Denmark
    • English

    GfK Demographics Germany 2015

    The university city of Heidelberg has Germany's highest share of households whose main earners are 30 years old or younger. By contrast, the highest share of senior households can be found in the district of Suhl in Thuringia. These are some of the findings of the study "GfK Demographics 2016", which reveals the regional distribution of family types, age ranges, income levels and accommodation types in Germany.

    • 02/22/16
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Grow Your Over-The-Counter Medication Business by Courting Millennials

    What you know about the nuances of the Millennial demographic can inform and inspire your communications strategies. And we know the specific needs of Millennials may vary by life stage. For instance, a college student might be looking for hangover cures or energy supplements for late-night study sessions, while a new mom might be focused on how to relieve her baby’s teething pain. Yet, there are common drivers for this generational group that over-the-counter (OTC) marketers should consider when developing targeted communication strategies – and the following four key characteristics of Millennials can help you grow your OTC business:

    1. Millennials are more likely to seek information before they shop

    Millennials are more likely than other age groups to seek information prior to a shopping trip. They often get this information online, especially from product reviews and prices.5 Campaigns to help guide them to make decisions – those that answer questions on symptoms and then provide product recommendations designed to alleviate those symptoms – could be quite effective with this target group.

    2. For Millennials, word-of-mouth is the main source of OTC product information

    It is common to associate the digital marketing environment and its influence when thinking of Millennials. While this is a valid assumption, word-of-mouth is equally important. In fact, it is the main source of OTC product information for Millennials.4 Keep in mind that word-of-mouth can often be a virtual recommendation from friends and family, with in-person interactions on the decline. As such, referral campaigns can be very effective with this group.

    3. Millennials are becoming the biggest users of in-store clinics

    The lack of a need for personal interaction is apparent even when it comes to Millennials and primary care physicians. A patient-doctor relationship is less important to this age group, leading to Millennials becoming the biggest users of in-store clinics.1 Marketers would be wise to develop programs with these clinics to help Millennials on their journeys to health and wellness, including OTC remedies to be recommended when needed.

    For example, Millennials purchase vitamins/supplements2 less than older generations (Generation X and Boomers). Marketing communication in in-store clinics could help Millennials think more about adding vitamins to their repertoire and avoiding illness and therefore trips to the clinic.

    4. Personalization and customization are very appealing to Millennials

    Personalization and customization are very appealing to Millennials, who are willing to spend the extra money and time it takes to design and buy customized products.3 Targeted campaigns that allow Millennials to develop a customized regimen for prevention or treatment would be enticing for this group – for example, suggested health and prevention tips, including vitamins/supplements, to use during cold and flu season.

    When courting Millennials as your target audience for OTC, be assured that this is a very self-directed age group that thrives on word-of-mouth and customized solutions. And keep in mind; they are more likely to search online for product information and reviews. Shaping your optimal communication strategies, especially through digital media, will go hand in hand with knowing what and who influences them.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below. For more information on the influence of Millennials in the development of targeted OTC communications, contact me at Kimberli.murphy@gfk.com.

    References:

    1. PNC survey

    2. GfK MRI

    3. Roper Reports (Consumer Life)

    4. AccentHealth

    5. GfK FutureBuy report

    • 02/17/16
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Top Health Trends to Watch: How American Consumers are Staying Healthy

    Food, health and fitness topics occupy a lot of real estate in the 24/7 news cycles. Consumers are being bombarded with content and marketing touting the latest and greatest super foods, revolutionary diets and miraculous fitness regimens. And marketers are rushing to identify how their audiences’ needs are evolving and how to best connect with them.

    The big picture of U.S. health trends

    Significant numbers of adult consumers in the US aspire to live healthy, and they want information and products/services that can help them reach their goals. Using GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer®, we have learned about consumers’ attitudes and actions regarding health and healthcare. Some of these beliefs and behaviors have been gaining momentum over the years – going back as far as ten years – while others remain constant.

    About one-third of American adults are passionate about their health. And they agree strongly that they are always looking for ways to live healthier. About the same proportion report they try to eat healthy and pay attention to nutrition. And one-quarter claim to exercise regularly. Following doctor’s orders, nearly one-half of those surveyed visit their physicians for regular checkups.

    Trend 1: A shift to generic prescription meds

    Consumers are reporting higher use of generic prescription medications for a number of conditions compared to ten years ago. They include medications for hypertension/high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety/panic and acid reflux. This shift may be prompted by factors such as the greater availability of generic medications and cost savings to patients. But the trend also points to consumers’ growing confidence that generic medications are as effective as those with a brand name, with nearly one-half of adults strongly believing in the effectiveness of generics. Some of their thinking may be influenced by positive media reports about generics, such as a 2014 article from BusinessInsider.com, “Here’s why you should always buy generic drugs.”

    Trend 2: Herbal and homemade treatment usage more common among younger adults

    Use of home/herbal treatments remains significantly lower among all adults than over-the-counter or prescription medications. However, there has been a slight rise in the past ten years in the number of people who strongly agree that they prefer alternative medicine to traditional medical practices.

    Younger adults and women are more inclined than overall adults to adopt home/herbal remedies as part of their treatment regimens. For example, Millennials (those born from ’77 to ’94) are 24% more likely than the average adult to use them, and Gen Xers (those born from ’65 to ‘76) are 17% more likely.

    Trend 3: Women taking an active stance in managing health

    There is a gender gap in healthcare: Higher percentages of women than men are more proactive when it comes to staying healthy. They visit their doctors for regular checkups and pay more attention to nutrition by eating healthy and cooking meals more frequently. Women are also more likely to use any type of medication to treat an illness. This includes prescription, over-the-counter or home/herbal remedies.

    Trend 4: Information-seekers going online

    More than one-third (36%) of consumers agree strongly that, before taking any medication, they try to get as much information about it as possible. The internet is a growing source of knowledge. In 2015, more than one-quarter of adults obtained medical information online within the past 30 days, compared to 14% in 2005. Providing up-to-date and helpful content about medications, symptoms and side effects will help educate and inform consumers.

    Trend 5: Leading Edge Consumers setting the stage for healthy living

    So where are consumer health attitudes and behaviors headed? GfK’s Roper Consumer Life Trends introduces us to Leading Edge Consumers (LEC), early adopters in the health and wellness category, who are passionate and strong influencers in the category. Furthermore, their influential behaviors typically become popular with others, providing a glimpse into the future.

    Based on the LEC behaviors, we believe that a few upcoming trends will continue to gain popularity:

       

    • using innovative products and services geared toward tracking and monitoring fitness, measuring weight and/or calorie intake
    • seeking customized advice about physical or mental health based on information people provide
    • getting recommendations about ways to improve fitness
    • getting recommendations for healthy food and beverages
    • tracking sleep patterns
    • performing activities/solving puzzles/playing games that exercise the brain and improve memory
    •  

    New medical findings, along with new products and services that support those findings, will inform consumer choices. Customized advice about physical and mental health and a greater appeal for curated and more targeted health recommendations is and will continue to be essential to the future of consumers’ health-related choices.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Or if you have any questions or would like more information, email me at shirley.felix@gfk.com.

    • 02/12/16
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    5 reasons for a call for change in French health technology assessments

    The French Ministry of Health, in their role as implementers of France’s national policies for medical care, public health and more, wanted to determine the challenges with their current process for health technology assessments (HTA). Their plan was to develop alternative solutions for reimbursement and pricing of medicines by leveraging economic evaluations. They commissioned the “Rapport Polton”1 (Polton Report) from Dominique Polton, advisor to the director-general of the French National Health Insurance Fund (CNAMTS). One of the main areas of focus for the Rapport Polton was the challenges associated with the evaluation of patient medical benefits2 (SMR) and the evaluation of the improvement of those medical benefits3 (ASMR) by the HTA agency, HAS4. Through the Rapport Polton, five reasons surfaced that clearly outline why there needs to be a change in French health technology assessments.

    Here are five key findings of the report:

    1. The SMR was found to mimic the marketing authorization evaluation

    SMRs are supposed to be an accurate reflection of:

       

    • a medicine’s efficacy and safety
    • its place in the therapeutic strategy
    • the severity of the disease targeted
    • the type of action (preventive, curative, symptomatic)
    • its public health benefits2
    •  

    The Rapport Polton published the results of an HAS audit of assessments from 2014. It showed that the main drivers for receiving a “good” SMR were the same as for being granted marketing authorization. In both cases, the emphasis is on efficacy, safety and place in the therapeutic strategy.

    2. A lower SMR may mean physicians simply choose a more fully reimbursed, newer, more expensive medicine for their patients

    Routine SMR re-evaluations of older medicines by HAS have provided lower SMR levels and thus lower reimbursement rates. This is true even if the older medicines still offer benefits in a particular subpopulation of patients. This phenomenon is leading physicians to prefer the latest (and more expensive), well-reimbursed medicines for their patients.

    Example: anti-H2 vs. proton pump inhibitor (PPI)

    Anti-H2 and PPI are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Anti-H2s were marketed at the end of the 1980s, and PPIs were launched during the 1990s with both being awarded SMRs of “substantial” for the treatment of GERD. In 2005, the SMR for anti-H2s was downgraded from “substantial” to “low”, with reimbursement falling from 65% to 15%. Moreover, HAS does not consider that anti-H2s have a place in the therapeutic strategy; “the anti-H2s have a rapid and short action on GERD and should be reserved for the patients who have infrequent reflux, while PPIs should be the first-line treatment of patients who suffer from typical and frequent reflux”. If physicians were to follow HAS recommendations, their patients with infrequent symptoms would bear a higher co-payment than patients with frequent symptoms. In reality, physicians are more inclined to prescribe PPIs to all patients (incurring higher healthcare system costs).

    3. The ASMRs are not being routinely reviewed

    SMRs for community-setting products are reviewed every five years. ASMRs, measuring the improvement in medical benefits, are therefore more likely to be dynamic over time. Even though ASMR scores are given to every new medicine reaching the French market, they are not being reviewed on a regular basis.

    4. It is difficult to evaluate the ASMR in the absence of a comparator, providing manufacturers with the opportunity to try to negotiate a higher price

    In the absence of a direct comparator and when the medical benefits are unclear to the HAS, medicines usually receive an ASMR IV5, together with a low or moderate SMR. However, an ASMR IV allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to negotiate on the price, associating some new types of treatment with a higher price.

     5. ASMRs are ignored by physicians who are not obliged to follow the HAS reports

    HAS recommendations are not enforceable, and French physicians are not required nor expected to follow the HAS guidelines.

    Example: gliptins

    The gliptins are one of the latest therapeutic classes of medicines intended for treating diabetes. Gliptins are meant to be used third-line and are reimbursed; however, for certain subpopulations, they have received an SMR rating of “insufficient” meaning that HAS believes they should not be used (or reimbursed) for these particular subpopulations. Despite this, 8% of gliptin prescriptions have actually been reimbursed for patients from subpopulations where they were not recommended for reimbursement. This is an indication that physicians ignore HAS recommendations and prescribe the gliptins as they see fit, regardless of subpopulation and HAS recommendation. Ultimately, there is no mechanism to prevent reimbursement of a prescription for a patient from an “insufficient” subpopulation.

    It is unclear yet how these Rapport Polton criticisms will contribute to the development of a revised evaluation in France, but they have clearly demonstrated the limits of the current SMR/ASMR evaluations and the adverse effects of these, incentivizing physicians to prescribe more innovative medicines than required.

    Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Or if you have any questions or would like more information, email caroline.conti@gfk.com.

     

    References:

    1. Rapport de Dominique POLTON sur la réforme des modalités d’évaluation des médicaments, Decembre 2015, last accessed February 2016.

    2. Service Médical Rendu (SMR)

    3. Amélioration du Service Médical Rendu (ASMR)

    4. Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS)

    5. ASMRs range from I to V, I being the best achievable, and V meaning that the medicine does not offer any improvement of medical benefits.

    6. Décret n°99-915 du 27 octobre 1999.

     

  • Optimizing the structure of sales territories
    • 02/11/16
    • Health
    • Geomarketing
    • Geo+SalesTerritories
    • Global
    • English

    Optimizing the structure of sales territories

    We helped our client to uncover growth potential of 20% by targeting promising regions.

General