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  • In the fourth industrial revolution, customers remain king. What about workers?
    • 06/05/18
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    In the fourth industrial revolution, customers remain king. What about workers?

    There is no doubt we are in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution – one in which digital technology is more than just an accessory. We are past simply talking about the internet as a business enabler; instead, we are seeing the lines between the physical, biological, and digital worlds begin to blur. AI and automation are being integrated into the very fabric of our lives, as workers and consumers, such that we may not know when we are talking to a real person on the phone as in the case of Google Duplex, or whether the competition for our next job is human or android.

    This is also a time marked by hugely accelerated change. Twenty years ago, smartphones and social media did not exist, and “digital targeting” was something you did in a video game. (Who remembers “Monkey Ball”?) There is no sign that this speed of revolution will let up.

    According to research by GfK Consumer Life, many Americans agree that change is good, and that we need more of it – a sentiment that has dramatically increased since 2011. Technology is boosting efficiency and productivity, giving employees room to focus on more valuable tasks; but it can also be so effective that it makes humans expendable. Many of the jobs our children will hold do not exist yet; and many of today’s jobs are destined to become obsolete. Some argue however that AI will generate more jobs than it will kill.

    So how can we prepare for this uncertain future, as workers and concerned consumers?

    New generations, new expectations

    At the World Economic Forum this year, Alibaba founder Jack Ma stressed the values of creativity and emotional IQ as critical to human success when competing with machines for the jobs of tomorrow. A new focus on future education and training will also be critical to prepare workers; this means re-training and re-skilling the current workforce to ready them for the changing environment.

    There is also no doubt that the workforce itself will be much different from today. Looking at the youngest segment of American consumers – known alternately as the Now Generation, post-Millennials, Gen Z, Centennials, or the iGen – we see that these future employees represent the most diverse generation in US history (according to the US Census Bureau).

    Compared to Millennials when they were the same age, this young generation is also highly ambitious. Being creative and imaginative is one of their core values, and technology is seamlessly embedded in their everyday lives. This means that they are tailor made for the flexible workplace, whether its self-motivated entrepreneurship or working at a distance for a traditional company.

    According to GfK MRI research, roughly 12.9 million US employees (employed either full or part time) report working primarily from a home office – up from 10.7 million just a decade ago. And GfK Consumer Life data shows that roughly 1 in 2 Americans want to work for themselves, with some of the prime reasons including the ability to be one’s own boss and flexibility in schedule and location.

    But this flexibility may come at a price – a loss in job security. We might see more companies leverage AI to match employees with gig jobs in real time; platforms like Working Not Working  already match freelancers and creative talent for various assignments. But there are often no benefits and no guarantees about tomorrow with such situations.

    When workers become consumers

    As consumers, we can now be targeted with offers so specific to our needs that we wonder if Google and Facebook can read our minds. Customization is no longer a perk, but a must-have, and consumers today are empowered to find the right products at the right prices as never before. Over 60% of Americans say they spend quite a lot of time researching brands before making a major purchase, thanks to real-time access to product information.

    AI and robotics will continue to streamline the processes that deliver speed and value to consumers – and put growing pressure on traditional retailers to compete on price, convenience, and customer service. This may mean that there will be fewer of the retail jobs we already know, but also potentially a variety of opportunities that we cannot yet imagine.

    The streamlining of tech devices working together to deliver seamless experiences is also something we might see replicated in the way businesses operate, with an increase in partnerships and collaboration to create new, unique consumer experiences. As digital devices enable communication in more and more ways, the hurdles that prevent co-working will slowly disappear.

    This even applies to intercontinental business. Internationalism – learning about other people, cultures and equality – is among the differentiating values for the youngest consumers (the Now Generation), when compared to Millennials at the same life stage. Working with people in different cultures, environments and time zones will be a huge benefit for tomorrow’s workers – and likely a source of added competition in some cases.

    The worry factor

    In all of this, a key factor for workers and consumers is privacy. As news reports of hacked corporate databases have mounted, anxiety among digital consumers has grown. The youngest generations are by far the most concerned about the security of their personal information – and, perhaps in a related point, also more environmentally conscious. Doing things the right way will be a must for companies that want to earn and keep consumer trust; these concerns will be every employee’s responsibility in workplaces of tomorrow.

    So where is this fourth industrial revolution leading us? Today’s world is just the tip of the iceberg – but it is surely an exciting time to see technology and its effects on many areas of our lives, as products and business models become more fluid. Consumers remain king – but workers may not always get the royal treatment. As employers and employees, we need to be sure we see tomorrow as clearly as possible – and start to take action today!

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  • GfK rises in ranking of innovative MRX companies
    • 05/31/18
    • Technology
    • Consumer Panels
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    GfK rises in ranking of innovative MRX companies

    GfK has once again placed among the most innovative market research firms, according to an annual ranking published by the American Marketing Association’s New York chapter.

  • Slight decline in consumer climate in Germany
    • 05/24/18
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Slight decline in consumer climate in Germany

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for May 2018

  • UK digital radio hits listening milestone: Time to turn off analogue FM or not?
    • 05/17/18
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    UK digital radio hits listening milestone: Time to turn off analogue FM or not?

    UK radio reached a significant milestone on 17 May 2018 when the RAJAR Q1 2018 listening figures were published. For the first time, over half (51%) of all weekly radio listening was via a digital platform, such as DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), online or through digital TV. In other words, more radio listening is now done through digital means than through analogue on FM.

    Why is this figure important?

    In 2009, the UK Government published its criteria for turning off the analogue FM signal and having only digital broadcast. Those were:

    • When 50% of listening is to digital; and
    • When national DAB coverage is comparable to FM coverage, and local DAB reaches 90% of the population and all major roads

    The Government’s intention was for these criteria to be met by the end of 2013, pushed by an industry ‘drive to digital’. Without this ‘drive to digital’, they expected digital radio listening to reach 50% organically by 2015.

    In fact, it has taken until 2018. The DAB standard for broadcasting digital audio services has been around in the UK since 1995, so one could say the 50% listening threshold has taken the UK almost 25 years to reach. Ultimately, the timetable was dictated by the listener.

     

    Although the UK has now (just) crept past this specific Government criterion, the UK has, in fact, already embraced digital radio.

    In an average week, well over half of the UK population (63%) do listen to some radio via digital means (known as ‘weekly reach’) – and our GfK data show that DAB radio set sales have declined by 26% in the last five years because most people have already replaced some or all of their analogue sets; or are listening through other digital means such as the Radioplayer app or ‘Alexa’.

    What happens now?

    Theoretically, the Government should now trigger the two-year migration process for turning off the FM signal by 2020. This feels unlikely. Both the public service (BBC) and commercial radio broadcasters prefer nothing to happen for the time being and to continue broadcasting on FM, as well as digital. This aversion to disrupting the market is felt especially in commercial radio, as they enjoy a relative buoyant period for advertising expenditure.

    The UK, and many other countries, will also be keenly observing listening trends in Norway, which underwent a digital radio switchover in 2017. Radio listening figures published so far in 2018 show an initial dip in overall listening followed by signs of a recovery. It has also benefitted the smaller and new stations to digital, who have captured around a third of all listening, and brought more choice to the Norwegian listener.

    Our forecast for the UK market: from collecting data to connecting data

    We believe that we’ll see plans put in place to gradually phase out analogue FM radio broadcasting; this is something the Swiss radio industry wants to happen in their market from 2020. This slow migration would suit a number of local stations whose share of digital radio listening is below 50% and who therefore, understandably, are not keen on losing the majority of their listening.

    This landmark digitization of radio may also provoke some movement in how radio audiences are measured. With more listening happening digitally, so the volume and granularity of listening data that can be captured increases.

    The emphasis will shift from collecting data to connecting data, such as online streaming or consumer behavior. GfK are already harnessing big (and small) datasets in several markets, such as the Measurement Innovation Program in Australia for radio, and integrating TV and online viewing in Sweden. As different markets operate at different speeds in their digitization journeys, so we recognize that media measurement needs to be tailored accordingly to maximize the value of the audience data to the stakeholders.

    Whether the FM signal gets turned off or not in the short term, this is a moment for celebration for the UK radio industry and for Digital Britain, and opens up exciting new opportunities for radio stations, for radio audience measurement and, most importantly, for the radio listener.

    John Carroll is Global Director Business Development, Media Measurement at GfK (@MediaCarroll)

  • Gamers often run counter to stereotypes: Here’s what you need to know about them
    • 05/15/18
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Gamers often run counter to stereotypes: Here’s what you need to know about them

    “That was close… watch out!” That was my husband, his eyes fixated on his 32-inch UHD monitor as he coordinated with his squad mates over the microphone-equipped headset to escape death in the massively popular online game Fortnite. The excitement over live actions was palpable, contagious even for me who never really got into multi-player online games or computer games for that matter. My first-hand gaming experience is largely limited to playing Luminosity on my iPhone, for now.

    One way or another, electronic gaming has become an important part of the leisure time for many of us. According to the latest data from GfK Consumer Life, about three in ten online Americans age 15+ now play electronic or video games daily or on most days, up from less than a quarter in 2009. Another 22% do so weekly, and one-tenth play monthly. Younger men remain the most engaged with gaming – nearly six in ten daily gamers are men and the majority (55%) are Millennials or Post-Millennial teens; but women and older Americans have also come to claim a notable share of the pie.

    Contributing to the growing popularity of gaming is a more flexible, engaging, and multi-dimensional experience. Take Fortnite. You have the option to play on gaming consoles, computers, and starting in March this year, iOS mobile devices. You can not only play the game but watch the gameplay live while interacting with the broadcasting player in real-time. In fact, on March 25th, a global Fortnite match orchestrated by popular Spanish YouTuber elrubiusOMG drew in a record of 1.1 million concurrent viewers, shattering the previous record set less than two weeks before on game streaming site Twitch by pro-gamer Ninja and hip-hop icon Drake. The three-and-a-half hour tournament racked up an astonishing total of 42 million views for the entire duration. And it does not stop there. The first Fortnite eSports tournament took place this April in Las Vegas, where hundreds of fans, semi-pros and pro-gamers from all over the country played against Ninja and each other. The riveting event has been hailed as adding a welcome new dimension to the rapidly growing eSports market by allowing casual gamers to not only observe but play alongside pro-gamers.

    Gamers represent an enticing target group for marketers for reasons beyond their sheer size and the rise of eSports or streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. GfK Consumer Life findings reveal a few key facts about gamers that marketers need to know.

    • Willing to spend: PC gamers, often swearing by the platform for its superiority in graphics, processing power and selection of games, have been fueling the upsurge of gaming PCs even as the overall PC market faced challenges in recent years, motivating computer manufacturers from HP to Dell to boost up their gamer-focused offerings.Gamers’ openness to spend, however, goes well beyond gaming devices or even electronics overall, which these tech enthusiasts are naturally drawn to. With a high level of consumer confidence and often in the acquisition stage of life, gamers – particularly daily and weekly gamers – are substantially more inclined than the rest to plan for large purchases including vehicles, homes and home appliances.
    • Social and influential: That image you may picture when thinking of a hardcore gamer – an isolated “geek” with no social life spending most of his time playing games alone – is far from the reality. Gamers today are among the most social – for example, daily gamers are highly engaged with social media. And many feel that belonging to the groups that share their interest is essential to their wellbeing. After all, with the rise of online multiplayer and social network games, gaming today is often an intensely social experience and gamers are more likely a virtually connected bunch. But gamers’ social experience is by no means limited to teaming up with their gaming buddies to battle for glory in the virtual world. On average, daily gamers spend over an hour more than the rest per week hanging out with friends around town.

    With a broader network and a willingness to connect, gamers are influential. Daily and weekly gamers show a high tendency to make product recommendations to various types of people – from those who share their hobbies and interest to perfect strangers they simply run into at stores. And the majority have posted online reviews in the past month.

    • Beyond function: Gamification is a way of life for devoted gamers. Out of a list of 57 personal values that GfK Consumer Life measures, Having Fun and Excitement are the most differentiating for those who play electronic games at least weekly. And this focus on fun is reflected in their product expectations. Compared to the average American consumer, daily and weekly gamers are more likely to seek out fun and novelty in everyday products and admit that the look, feel and smell of a product is very important to them.
    • Beyond fun: Fun-seeking they may be, the typical gamer today is NOT a laid-back free-spirit only concerned about having a good time. Often Millennials and Post-Millennials trying to establish themselves at work and in life in general, daily and weekly gamers demonstrate a high propensity to fall into the Achievers values segment, a group that prioritizes on getting ahead and obtaining social status. Part of that status comes from being ‘in the know.’ Gamers, especially daily gamers, often want to be seen as knowledgeable and smart. This points to opportunities for not just products that entertain but those that inform and enable productivity.

    While intended for a broader audience, the commercial ‘open your eyes’ for the freshly released Oculus Go – Facebook’s first standalone virtual reality (VR) headset hyped to finally take VR beyond the niche – may actually resonate particularly well with gamers by promoting enrichment through ‘living every story” and learning to “love a life different from your own.’

    In conclusion, gamers – the newfound darling of many marketers across categories – deserve the attention. But stereotypes don’t always apply. To resonate with this group, think enabling fun but also function, and personal achievement but also social connections.

    Veronica Chen is a Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. She can be reached at Veronica.chen@gfk.com

  • Smartphone shopping in Indonesia
    • 05/09/18
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    Smartphone shopping in Indonesia

    Smartphone shopping in Indonesia

    Indonesia is a growing market, which offers huge opportunities for consumer brands, tech and media companies. With over 250 million inhabitants, it is the world’s fourth most populous country and has millions of people rising into the middle class each year. Much of its internet access is smartphone-based, which makes it a lucrative market to study online mobile behavior.

    We run regular research looking at device use and online behavior in 14 countries. This is passively collected behavioral data, which creates an easy-to-use round-up of the cross-media metrics that matter. In this blog, we share some of the top trends in Indonesia.

    Indonesia smartphone users spent an average of 96 minutes on their handheld device per day during 2017. That is higher than UK, Germany, Poland, Russia, Brazil, Mexico or Spain. This usage is also growing – we measured a 15% rise in smartphone minutes across the year. This rapid growth of smartphone adoption has already been reported in publications such as Telegraph and Techcrunch.

    Smartphone use

    So how are Indonesians using their smartphone? By comparing minutes used per day across key categories, we can create a “share of clock” for smartphone use.

    Across the top five web categories, Indonesian smartphone users spent an average of 6.4 minutes per day on shopping sites during 2017. This figure is relatively high in Indonesia compared with other markets in keeping with growing smartphone use. Usage grew across the year, from around 6 minutes in the first 6 months to just under 7 minutes for the second half of the year. This is a key metric to watch in order to evaluate potential growth and assess season fluctuations. For example, shopping time grew to 7.5 minutes per day for Dec 2017.

     

    Shopping related websites also have one of the highest reach figures. An average of 92% of Indonesian smartphone users access shopping sites on a month-to-month basis versus other categories. So while players may spend more time per day on Gaming sites, for example, at 13.3 minutes the number who do so is around a third less at 62%.

     

    Almost 60% of Indonesian smartphone users visited online shopping sites 10 or more days per month and around a third (32.8%) visited shopping sites 20 days or more per month. The frequent visitation of these sites provides marketers with a great opportunity to engage with shoppers on a regular basis.

     


    Top 10 shopping sites or apps

    Drilling down to look at the most popular (defined by reach) shopping sites visited, Google Playstore leads the pack with (92%) followed by more local eCommerce sites Blibli and Lazada. Lazada seems to be benefitting from Alibaba’s investment and growth plans in Southeast Asia. Already we can see local sites competing strongly with global brands. Apps/sites such as Grab and Go-Jek, offering similar services to Uber are very popular. Google has started investing in Go-Jek, which in addition to taxis and motorbikes, also offers services like grocery delivery. Uber has dropped out of the Top 10 (although it was a top 10 player in January 2017) with Grab acquiring the company for its Southeast Asian operations earlier this year.

     

    Given the large amount of time Indonesian smartphone users spend each day on communication (32.6 minutes) and social networking (24 minutes) there is huge potential to create potential shopping opportunities. By using the latest online data measurement, we can help brands better understand the purchase journey of today’s mobile-first consumers and convert those clicks to sales.

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    About the data

    GfK has developed digital behavioral panels in 14 markets around the world. Panellists allow us to passively follow their digital behavior across their devices – desktop, tablets and smartphones – in order to explore patterns of behavior. The Crossmedia Visualizer tool enables clients to mine the information collected within these panels to develop a view into how consumers are spending their time online. This provides insights into creating strategies to further engage and connect with these consumers.

    For this analysis, we focused on data from Indonesian smartphone users and how they spend their time online for January to December 2017.

    For a broader snapshot of device use for January 2018 please download our free sample report.across 8 diverse markets: Germany, Mexico, UK, Poland, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil and Netherlands.

     

     

  • Wireless audio equipment still highly demanded in Germany
    • 05/09/18
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Wireless audio equipment still highly demanded in Germany

    GfK's findings on the German audio market

  • UK Consumer Confidence drops two points to -9 in April
    • 04/27/18
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Global
    • English

    UK Consumer Confidence drops two points to -9 in April

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index decreased two points in April 2018. Four of the five measures were lower, with the remaining measure increasing.

  • Insecurity causes the consumer climate in Germany to dip slightly
    • 04/26/18
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    Insecurity causes the consumer climate in Germany to dip slightly

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for April 2018

  • Global quarterly smartphone demand down year-on-year though revenue growth remained strong
    • 04/25/18
    • Press
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Global quarterly smartphone demand down year-on-year though revenue growth remained strong

    Global smartphone demand fell two percent to 347 million units in the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18). 

  • Consumer sentiment in Europe remained cautiously optimistic
    • 04/19/18
    • Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Consumer sentiment in Europe remained cautiously optimistic

    Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Europe Study for the first quarter of 2018

  • Tapping into people’s need to take a break
    • 04/16/18
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    Tapping into people’s need to take a break

    I had two friends who posted on Facebook recently within hours of each other. One had spent the day at a theme park with her family, all of whom left their phones “in the car ON purpose. Best way to enjoy the day together!” The other had been sharing many stunning photos of a vacation in Egypt; yet on the last day, she decided not to take photos but “just to see with my own eyes.”

    This is hardly surprising. “Experiences are more important than possessions” perpetually ranks among the highest-rated attitudinal statements in the annual GfK Consumer Life global study. It ranks seventh out of 42 statements listed. It also ranks third for teenagers 15-19 and in Canada.

    Taking a tech break

    It is certainly ironic that my friends talked about their tech breaks on social media, yet this reflects the mixed feelings many people have toward technology. Yes, it helps us do many things we could never do before, but people are increasingly recognizing its addictive nature as a real problem. This is something that we warned about two years ago when we found that Technology Leading Edge Consumers were in the forefront of being concerned about this drawback to technology. Fully 45% of global consumers belonging to this early adopter group agreed “I find it difficult to take a break from technology, even when I know I should,” 13 points higher than average.

    Taking a tech break can be easier said than done, of course, and going cold turkey isn’t necessarily the answer. Some brands take a hybrid approach by promoting tech use specifically to make time for real life. For example, Citi is promoting its mobile app with a cute dad-and-kids ad and the slogan “spend the moments in the moment.” The Pocket Points app motivates students to focus on classes; when they lock their phones while on campus, they earn rewards points for local and online merchants.

    Another approach is to take a complete if temporary break from tech. Musician Jack White has banned phones from his upcoming concert tour because he “wants people to live in the moment.” Organizations such as the YMCA and Boy Scouts encourage families to help children take a tech break.

    The Story Inn goes a step further with its slogan “One Inconvenient Location Since 1851.” The Inn is actually a cluster of buildings in a virtual ghost town in Indiana that offers lodgings, dining, and a venue for special events. Rooms are billed as “One Distraction-Free, Tranquil Escape” and have been converted from the likes of a one-room schoolhouse, carriage house, and grain mill. They don’t have TVs, phones or internet service.

    Taking a real-life break

    Vacations represent a different kind of break, a pause from the real life that so many people find stressful. Destinations like Walt Disney World epitomize this type of experience on a grand scale, but an infinite number of products and services can offer mini-breaks at any time and anywhere.

    The Rituals home- and body-care brand emphasizes the benefits of incorporating soothing experiences into everyday life. “They are the seemingly meaningless moments we all tend to overlook. Rituals unveils these moments and reminds you to experience them with joy.” L.L. Bean encourages people to “live every day like it’s the weekend.”

    Then there is literal escapism – the phenomenon of escape rooms, a hybrid of team role-playing and the classic locked-room mystery. Although not for everyone (such as those with claustrophobia), they can provide respite for problem-solving thrill seekers.

    Most people prefer more serene escapes, however. The share of respondents to a GfK Consumer Life global survey who prefer a relaxing vacation over an active one is 62%, up 7 points from 2012. Photos submitted by respondents indicate that sandy beaches top the list of places where people like to relax, followed by other outdoor venues such as forests, lakes, gardens and parks. We don’t need research to tell us that nature makes us feel good, but in fact, research does bear this out.

    And yes, video games provide escapism, too, but it’s important to keep in mind that most people still don’t view virtual experiences on par with the real thing. Just 30% of global consumers agree that “virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person,” ranking it #40 among 42 attitudinal statements.

    Conclusion

    Virtually every product and service can tap into people’s desire for experiences, whether they be social or solitary, physical or intellectual, tech or non-tech. The key is to understand precisely what kind of experience your customers crave.

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