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Trends and Forecasting

Today’s speed to market of new offerings and shortening product lifecycles place a unique pressure on businesses to stay ahead.  Consumer purchasing behavior is shifting more rapidly than ever.

To succeed, businesses need accurate sales forecasts -- based on robust analysis -- and the most up-to-date purchasing and market trends.

We deliver detailed forecasts of consumer demand for technology devices, as well as global technology market trends. 

Our forecasts are built using the world’s largest sample of point of sales data, combined with our global expertise and local knowledge. This combination provides our clients uniquely granular and timely forecasts of future demand – forecasting what products consumers will purchase, in what volume, at what price, and where.  

Forecasting for investors and capital markets

Institutional investors face pressure to perform. To succeed, businesses need visibility to significant trends at the earliest stage(s). Businesses need to acquire reliable and compliant information on where to invest. 

We provide investors with robust forecasts using the world’s largest sample of point of sales data. We predict and document turning points in consumer demand, providing regular, detailed company analyses on technology hardware, semiconductor and consumer durable companies. 

Our forecasts allow investors to make successful recommendations backed up by credible and compliant sources.

Stefan Ferrari-Peinl
For investors and capital markets
+1 617 523 3455
Latest insights

Here you can find the latest insights for Trends and Forecasting industry. View all insights

    • 12/04/19
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global
    • English

    What does the future of Millennials look like?

    As the oldest members of this oft-discussed group prepare to turn 40, the future of Millennials will have a significant impact on the global marketplace. Although they haven’t suffered from a lack of media attention in the past decade, Millennials are worth another look simply because of their significant impact on the future. For example, they are currently overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest adult generation and approaching their Boomer parents in their share of the US electorate heading into the 2020 Presidential election. And in the past few years, they surpassed Generation X as the largest generation in the workforce. Millennials may also be the first truly global generation. Technology has broken down geographic boundaries, and these young adults are the product of not just their native cultures, but the tumultuous time during which they came of age. A second look at Millennials uncovers three key lessons that will be essential for engaging with them meaningfully in the future.

    Future of Millennials as parents

    Millennials are now the focal points of families and leading households that look quite different than those headed by previous generations. For example, GfK Consumer Life research shows that Millennials today are about as likely to be parents, but less likely to be married, when compared with Gen Xers at the same age in 2003. With Millennials leading more non-traditional households (e.g., single parents, unmarried couples), messaging needs to evolve to encompass these different types of families. Even more interesting is the marked difference in the way that Millennial moms and dads approach parenting today. In contrast to the Boomer tendency to raise “latch-key kids,” and Gen X’s “helicopter” parenting approach, Millennials have their own unique take on the parent-child relationship. Research from GfK Consumer Life shows that they reject “over-scheduling” by reducing the amount of time their children spend on extracurricular activities, are more liberal when it comes to limits on a child’s technology and media exposure, and are eager to spend more time with their kids on a variety of activities, from video and board games to shopping and exercising. With less of a strict dividing line between parent and child preferences across categories like media, entertainment, and health, brands can rethink how their offerings are classified and marketed; they can also create more opportunities & platforms for parents and kids to interact.

    Financial future of Millennials

    Coming of age during the Great Recession left many Millennials with low incomes and record levels of student debt. In fact, the typical Millennial’s net worth is 40% lower than that of Gen Xers in 2001, and 20% below what Boomers experienced in 1989. What’s more, significant financial polarization exists within the Millennial group: income gaps by levels of education are significantly wider than those of previous generations, and the change in net worth among young adults over time has declined among unmarried Millennials while rising among those who are married. And while many did receive financial help from their parents during tough times, many Millennials actually have been playing the caregiver role with their own mothers and fathers. With many forecasting that a possible recession in 2020 will again hit Millennials the hardest, brands need to adapt pricing, marketing, and merchandising to reflect a challenging and more diverse economic reality. Financial stress is just one of the reasons that Millennials have come to be known as the “burnout generation.” This segment—particularly those who are also parents—tends to lead on many indicators of modern-day “hustle culture” tracked by GfK Consumer Life. For example, they are very likely to report high stress levels and more likely than average to admit that they work most weekends and are often so busy, they can’t finish everything they need to do in a day. They’re not “lazy,” they’re simply exhausted – and it’s likely that shaky job security and major financial commitments are partially driving this mindset. This tendency to “hustle” is not unique to Millennials in the US – members of this generation index higher than average on aspirational values such as social recognition and status across all regions of the world. But while Millennials tend to lead on many of these attitudes, they aren’t the only generation suffering from burnout; recent studies of Generation Z (the generation following Millennials) show record-high stress levels among this emerging segment as well.

    Fun is still a priority for the future

    Despite their stress – financial and otherwise – Millennials have not yet outgrown the focus that has long distinguished them from other cohorts: their desire to have a good time. GfK Consumer Life research finds that personal values such as enjoying life, excitement, and having fun are still prioritized more highly among this generation than older age groups. Millennials’ signature optimism hasn’t taken too hard of a hit, either: they report high levels of confidence about their own immediate futures, as well as the lives their children will lead as adults; this mindset is consistently higher than average on a global level as well as in the US. Further, Millennials are more likely than average to seek novelty and fun in everyday products. Appealing to Millennials’ pleasure-seeking tendencies, and giving them enjoyable outlets in their daily lives, will inspire brand loyalty.

    What can brands do in order to keep up with these shifts in Millennials?

    In just a few decades of life, Millennials have experienced significant social, political, and economic upheavals, many of which have had a long-lasting impact on their lifestyles today and prospects for the future. As they enter the “middle era” of their lives with different approaches than their predecessors, brands will be wise to understand that:
      • The economic instability that has defined, and will continue to impact, this generation gives brands the opportunity to offer health innovations to relieve Millennials of their financial stress
      • Millennial parents enjoy a closer bond with their children compared to their predecessors; communicate to the entire family, not just the parent or the child
      • The future of Millennials still needs to include fun – give them opportunities to enjoy life!

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    • 11/13/19
    • Retail
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • TEMAX
    • Global
    • English

    4 facts you can’t ignore about Black Friday

    Seasonal promotions are one of the core reasons consumers make a purchase. The importance of good deals to consumers can be clearly seen in GfK’s weekly long-term sales trends for Technical Consumer Goods. GfK has found that about a quarter of cumulative global sales come from select promotional events that only take place during 10 weeks of the year. Of course, there are regional differences, but Christmas, Singles’ Day and Black Friday dominate the promotional calendar in many countries around the world.

    1. Black Friday 2019 is timed perfectly

    Every year, Black Friday falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This year’s Black Friday takes place on the latest possible date, 29th of November: right after payday and only three weeks before Christmas. As a result, many consumers will already feel the pressure to buy gifts and, probably more importantly, will have money to spend on Black Friday deals. For some shoppers, this might be the first time that they can go bargain hunting without having to organize a loan before making their purchase. This year’s Black Friday could well set new sales records thanks to its timing.

    2. Black Friday is bigger than Christmas

    Traditionally, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of the United States’ Christmas shopping season. Today, both in volume and value, Black Friday is bigger than the original peak trading periods including Christmas and the January sales – and it continues to grow. Our Weekly Point of Sales Tracking shows that Black Friday week in 2018 generated more than double the turnover (+113%) of an average selling week across the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy Spain, UK) markets. For those countries plus Brazil, Black Friday is the most important week of the year in terms of sales value generated. Latin America has seen unprecedented peak sales during Black Friday.

    3. Black Friday attracts aspirational bargain hunters

    In general, consumers love bargains and they are actively looking for them. shows that with the ease of making price comparisons online, a growing number of consumers shop around before making a purchase decision. Globally, nearly half of all consumers (44%) have increased the frequency they compare prices from different stores. This is true for 58% of shoppers in Latam, 45% in Europe, 41% in APAC and 35% in North America.  And this is what makes Black Friday so successful and important – but retailers need to make sure the price drops are genuine in this environment of comparing prices. And our research shows that a significant proportion of shopping decisions might be driven by consumers wanting to treat themselves. A growing number of shoppers state that they want to “indulge or pamper themselves on a regular basis” or that they “prefer to own fewer, but higher quality items” or they “only buy from trusted brands”. These types of shopper attitudes give an indication of what aspirational bargain hunters could be looking for on Black Friday.

    4. It’s happening – so don’t fight it

    Black Friday has become an essential part of the annual retail calendar for deal-loving shoppers. So for retailers, it’s a question of “do or die”. To “do” it successfully, it’s important to understand the nuances of purchase behavior and shoppers’ attitudes. To make this key event in the “golden” quarter of the year deliver for your business, manufacturers and retailers alike need accurate weekly point of sale data to evaluate performance and plan tactics. In today’s competitive retail environment, it’s vital to respond quickly to consumer purchase behavior and competitor offers. And in the more mature markets, we’re seeing a trend in retailers and manufacturers finding new strategic answers on their quest to make Black Friday profitable despite the challenge of meeting consumers’ demand for bigger and better bargains. This trend is called “Premiumization” and it could transform Singles’ Day, Christmas and the rest of the 2019 shopping season.

    Can “Premiumization” save shopping season 2019?

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    • 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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    • 06/11/19
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • TEMAX
    • Global
    • English

    Clashing consumer trends battle for energy efficiency – pt. 2

    In part one of this blog series, we identified two clashing trends when it comes to consumers purchasing domestic appliances: Sustainability and Performance. In this post, we’ll try to better understand the interaction of these two core trends and explore their impact on energy efficiency.

    A disputed increase in energy efficiency

    Between 2014 and 2018, the average energy consumption of refrigerators has actually decreased by 2%. This represents a mix effect of different product segments which vary massively in their energy consumption. Side-by-Side fridges consume about 50% more energy when compared to Two-Door Combi fridges with No Frost technology. The trends towards larger and more energy-hungry appliances has almost offset the increase in the energy efficiency within comparable product segments (only 2% average energy reduction remains with this mix effect). Apart from the average energy consumed, if we look at the annual energy consumption of all sold refrigerators in 2018, the total sum of kWh even increased by 7% compared to 2014 (at a unit growth rate of 9%). This means that choosing larger and more energy-hungry appliances (performance/convenience related benefits) eats up almost all the technological efforts put into energy efficient innovations.

    Promising opportunities to save more energy in the future

    Within MDA 5*, almost 60% of energy is consumed by washing machines and refrigerators sold in 2018, which implies a big impact if such markets are subject to a change. Consequently, regulation standards bear quite a potential. For washing machines, the loading capacity plays a pivotal role: A+++ washing machines with 9kg+ capacity consume 18% more energy than a 6kg washer with the A+++ label. Scientific consumer research carried out by the University of Bonn** suggests that “consumers do not put more laundry into their bigger washing machines, but wash (almost) the same amount of laundry independent of the washing machine’s rated capacity.” Hence, these additional 18% of energy consumption is a potential for additional savings in the future. Some countries also present more potential in saving energy than others. In Germany, average energy consumption of A+++ washing machines is below the European average. Meanwhile in Great Britain, an average A+++ machine sold has used 19% more energy compared to the European benchmark. Besides regulatory approaches, there is also hope to stimulate awareness of energy efficiency when it comes to smart home appliances. In case transparency of real energy consumption increases (e.g. via live monitoring), this may stimulate more educated consumer behavior when deciding on a new appliance. As sustainability becomes more and more important to consumers, however, there is also a potential for the industry players to address such “energy savvy” consumers with products highlighting the best absolute energy consumption along with a reasonable capacity (e.g. 5-6kg). Differentiation can be achieved via the lifetime energy savings as well as a lower carbon dioxide footprint during production and lifetime.

    An opportunity arises

    There is a clear battle going on between the consumer demand for performance (capacity) and the need for sustainability. While the rise of Best-in-Class energy labels suggest that energy-efficient appliances are being sold more than ever before, almost all the improvement is lost because consumers continue to purchase larger appliances. It seems that even with low-involvement products like washing machines, the benefits of larger capacity (convenience) can beat the need for sustainability. This holds especially true when energy labels lead consumers to believe that they act responsibly while absolute energy consumption increases. The great thing about this “issue” is that another opportunity arises for brands to target “energy-savvy” consumers with solutions that truly advocates of energy efficiency. Smaller appliances can be promoted to them as an honest energy-saver for the good of our planet. * MDA 5: Washing Machines, Tumble Dryer, Fridges, Freezers, Cooking  **University of Bonn: Angelika Schmitz, Farnaz Alborzi and Rainer Stamminger

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Stefan Ferrari-Peinl
For investors and capital markets
+1 617 523 3455
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