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  • Six steps to gain the competitive edge at your key retailer
    • 07/05/19
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    Six steps to gain the competitive edge at your key retailer

    This white paper contains our insider guide that shows how to maximize sales insights at a retail account level.

  • GfK Supply Chain Insights 3rd Webinar
    • 07/02/19
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Distribution and Supply Chain Management
    • Global
    • English

    GfK Supply Chain Insights 3rd Webinar

    Would you like to know how to optimize your supply chain management? Join our free partner webinar based on point of sales and distribution panel data and discover more about today’s key tech trends. 

    • 07/01/19
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Global
    • English

    Smart car technology and the evolution of brand loyalty

    Summer is upon us and the chance to enjoy a road trip with car technology glory is here. What are today’s consumers looking for when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle? Are car brands meeting their expectations?

    It had been a while since I bought my last car – and, as someone who follows the auto industry closely, I was keenly aware of all the smart gadgets and services I could choose from. From self-driving capabilities to Wi-Fi to safety features, today’s cars are essentially smart homes on wheels; the options are extraordinary, and every choice comes with a price.

    Tech upgrades become a priority

    I had a number of luxury wagon models in mind – and when it came to car technology, I also had some clear “wants.” As mobile tech has grown, I have watched what were once gee-whiz gizmos and functions transform into mainstream “must haves.” So, apart from all-wheel drive, a sunroof, and curb appeal, I wanted my new wagon to have Bluetooth, standard connectivity features and Apple CarPlay. It is true—the other car in my household is just fine and would serve my transit needs; but I was looking for some upgrades to my connectivity suite, so I would feel safer on the road.

    But when I decided on a vehicle and looked up the trim/package that included Apple CarPlay, I was aghast to find that it would cost me nearly $10,000 to get this simple feature. The manufacturer was holding CarPlay hostage within wheel upgrades and other frivolous nonsense – on the assumption that spoiled, tech-loving folks like me would bite the bullet.

    My reaction was immediate and surprising, even to myself – I decided to find another “first choice” model. Forget about heated and cooled 10+way power-adjustable front seats or any semi-conscious investment I had in the iconic badge; getting Apple CarPlay into my vehicle at a reasonable price became my top priority.

     

    Smart car technology is the new normal

    Recent research for GfK’s Auto Tech study in the US shows that my decision was actually somewhat predictable. We found that 50% of auto intenders will switch brands or models if a vehicle does not have most-wanted technologies. Car purchases are no longer about the car brand that your mom or dad insisted on, but whether you can link your latest playlist to the car stereo.

    Luxury intenders are most likely to choose smart tech over brand loyalty. Over one-third (35%) said they would definitely consider switching brands to get cutting-edge, in-car technology – compared to 23% of non-luxury intenders. Another 55% in the luxury crowd said they would probably think about switching – essentially the same as non-luxury (57%).

    Luxury intenders are also more likely to say that specific technologies are “must haves” for them; for example, almost two-thirds feel this way about active safety technology, versus 46% of non-lux intenders. Not surprisingly, Luxury intenders overall hold  significantly higher interest, demand and willingness to pay for, a range of technologies from autonomous driving to infotainment systems and continue to be a driving force in the adoption of new technologies.

    In my strong but pragmatic desire for advanced car tech, I reflect the intersection of Gen X and Gen Y perspectives—drawn to tech’s perceived ability to improve the driving experience (Gen Y optimism), yet keenly aware that new technologies will be leveraged to command a premium (Gen X cynicism). In this case, the democratization of iOS coupled with Bluetooth might serve my purposes just as well, and I could save the scratch and enjoy a great family vacation or look for a vehicle that doesn’t extort me for this feature. A major car maker recently added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality after years as a holdout, with some backwards compatibility to shore up recent models. And other brands have built the capacity for future flash updates into their vehicles to keep them relevant.

    The bottom line

    One thing the car industry has learned – the customer always wins. Overall consumer attitudes are changing especially when it comes to mobility and independence. When auto buyers want something badly, they will not let a little thing like brand loyalty stand in their way. If one manufacturer does not build it, consumers will leave for one that will. And as smart technology becomes more mainstream in other areas of people’s lives, the pressure on auto makers to provide the same devices and access at reasonable prices will only grow.

     

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  • Consumers seek health innovations from brands
    • 06/17/19
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Consumers seek health innovations from brands

    The relationship between consumers and their health is transforming at an unprecedented speed. From athleisure and cannabis to plant-based burgers and in-mall fitness centers, the trend behind so many of today’s breakthrough consumer movements is wellness. Consumers are seeking health innovations and depending on brands to help them achieve their goals. Regardless of industry, understanding these trends more deeply can help brands leverage this extraordinary moment.

    While there are many societal shifts driving health and wellness today (e.g. rising healthcare costs, aging population), consumers are also playing a major role in the changing marketplace today as well – many shifts in people’s attitudes and behaviors are worth a closer look.

    Seeking health

    Stress and anxiety are rising at an extraordinary pace.  Out of the 20+ concerns that GfK Consumer Life tracks annually, more societal worries have risen than declined since 2009 – from climate change and terrorism to economic inequality and the cost of healthcare.  What’s more, one of the fastest-rising mindsets from just 2016 until today is the worry about personal safety and security.  It’s clear that consumers are on the hunt for products and services that make them feel protected.

    This has manifested itself in the rising focus on self-care and mindfulness. More than half of Americans are seeking control over their unpredictable lives, and over a third are looking for opportunities to pamper themselves, a sentiment that has risen significantly in recent years. But these desires are often not material – they are much more about mental and emotional indulgences, products and services that give people the safety net they’re looking for. Health innovations include meditation apps like Headspace and Calm, increasingly part of the mainstream, deliver on this need, providing a safe space that makes users feel empowered and centered.

    Consumers are also telling us that safety and well-being are increasingly critical aspects of innovation. New offerings can take many shapes – from physical items that may offer new levels of comfort like weighted blankets to innovative textiles used by companies like Under Armour that convert your body heat into energy that is reflected back to you.

    Pivot to prevention

    The impact of the rising cost of healthcare cannot be understated. Today, this is the #2 concern among all Americans, who often have to make tough decisions about what level of healthcare they’re able to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Experts believe that the traditional model of healthcare delivery is shifting to a preventative mode, where the focus is more on healthy behaviors and real-time monitoring. It follows, then, that almost 7 out of 10 (69%) Americans today are taking a more proactive approach to their health through their behaviors and the products that they choose to consume.

    Many are re-examining their diets with this approach in mind and learning a lot more about the medical benefits of functional foods. For example, almost 3 out of 10 Americans today decide what to eat or drink based on whether pre- or pro-biotics are included. And in response, established brands like Tropicana now offer items that are friendly to the digestive system.

    Detection will also be an important element in health innovations. GfK Consumer Life research shows that Americans share a growing strong desire for proactive identification of threats such as allergens, contaminants, polluted air, and much more. New devices and services that do better jobs of identifying these threats to our health will become more of a “must have” in the future.

    Pushing for health innovations

    More and more, consumers are playing the lead role in managing their own health, and the roots of this trend are in the evolution of the consumer’s broader worldview. Today, freedom (#4) and self-reliance (#9) are top-10 personal values in the US. What’s more, we increasingly define ourselves by more personal metrics of success (such as being true to ourselves) than our relationships with others, whether it’s as a parent, spouse, or friend. Autonomy, which has in many ways been accelerated by technology, is dictating more consumer needs today – but this doesn’t mean that brands can’t be involved as well.

    This manifests itself clearly within the health and wellness space. Americans agree that their top physical concerns, particularly as they age, are closely tied to mobility and independence – it’s critical to them that they’re able to do what they want, when they want, for as long as they want.  Brands that support this need for both physical and mental mobility will be successful in the future, like this concept of a “smart rehab” device from Nokia.

    This shift of control from brands, retailers, and advertisers to customers is apparent across many other categories.  This is due to not only how attitudes and personal values are shifting, but also the vast amount of information now available from our peers via social media, review sites, and more. This is one of the reasons behind the growth of the direct-to-consumer industry in recent years. Consumers are informed and self-directed, and successful brands of the future need to accommodate them as such. Recently, we’ve seen established companies such as Nike take advantage of this business model, selling more products directly to individuals and creating more ways for them to find community.

    As consumers increasingly take charge of their well-being, brands of every kind need to track their changing desires and concerns to stay a step ahead of demand and build close relationships with their customers seeking health innovations.

    Access our latest recording on this topic

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  • RegioGraph LocationAdvice: On-the-go business site analyses
    • 06/06/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Industrial Goods
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
    • Geomarketing
    • RegioGraph
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Regional Market Data
    • Global
    • English

    RegioGraph LocationAdvice: On-the-go business site analyses

    GfK's newly released online tool RegioGraph LocationAdvice allows expansion and location planners to carry out location and competitor analyses on digital maps while traveling or away from the office.

  • Infographic: 6 Reasons why your sales management needs weekly POS data
    • 06/04/19
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    Infographic: 6 Reasons why your sales management needs weekly POS data

    Today’s retail sector moves at light speed. The pressure on commercial teams is intense and the task of optimizing sales performance and winning market share and trade deals harder than ever before. To hit your targets, you need to make the most of the critical moments in a product’s life cycle.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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  • 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.