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Press release
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Only 13% of Canadians Say Virtual Interactions Are “as Good as Being There” – GfK

Toronto, ON, 24.02.2016

Significantly below global average in 22-country study

Even in this era of virtual information and communication, Canadians still prefer the personal touch.

As today’s technology continues to become more sophisticated and more integrated into daily life, market research experts GfK conducted a global study to see if virtual interactions with people and places are seen to be as good as being there in person.   

Canadian data on this subject is almost the polar opposite compared to the global average. While 23 percent of internet users across 22 countries said that virtual interactions can be just as good as reality, only 13 percent of Canadians feel the same way. Conversely, 15 percent of global respondents said they disagreed with the statement, compared to 23 percent of Canadians. As consumers are inundated every day with marketing and advertising through virtual technology, these findings give a much clearer insight regarding which markets and consumer segments are more open to virtual interactions.

For example, almost one in three (30%) working Americans aged 20 to 49 fully agrees that a virtual interaction such as FaceTime or Skype rivals that of real-life communication. This means that these people would be more amenable and accepting towards allowing technology to be a bigger part of daily life.

In contrast, GfK’s report has demonstrated that Canadians prefer the personable approach and feel that in-person interactions still surpass virtual communication. Only 16% of Canadians aged 20 to 49 would support virtual technology as a viable equal to real-life. When looking at the Canadian data by province, we see that Ontario (16% agreement) is most in support for virtual technology equaling in-person contact, compared to just 5 percent in the Atlantic provinces.

Among all 22 countries surveyed, the highest majority of those in agreement that virtual interactions can be as good as in-person ones, came from Brazil and Turkey, with 34 percent of online consumers in agreement. On the other end of the scale, 32 percent of Germans did not feel reality and virtual interaction were equal and therefore would be the least receptive.  

To download the full 22-country findings, go to www.gfk.com/global-studies/global-study-overview/

Notes for the editor
1Top two / bottom two box responses from a 7-point scale where "1" means "disagree strongly" and "7" means "agree strongly. The survey question asked: Please indicate how strongly you personally agree or disagree with the following statement: “Virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person”.

About the study
GfK conducted an online survey with over 27,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 22 countries. Online data were collected using a staggered field start that completed in June 2015 and weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population age 15+ in each market. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and USA.

About GfK
GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

For more information, please visit www.gfk.com or follow GfK on Twitter.

Virtual interactions can be as good as being there: total international agreement / disagreement

Virtual interactions can be as good as being there: country comparisons on agreement / disagreement