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Connected Consumer Insights

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    • 07/05/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Conquering the Connected Shopper and their multiple paths to purchase

    Conquering today’s connected shopper is a battle. Consumers’ expectations of convenience, choice, price and experience are continually escalating.

    Whatever you make or sell, the true power rests in the palm of shoppers’ hands. The “always-on” culture of connectivity puts both manufacturers and retailers under intense pressure to stay relevant and create “fans for life”. This is a cut-throat, slim profit environment that is further endangered by emerging hyper-competition from global marketplaces. Conversion is more key than ever.

    No retailer or manufacturer has a free pass to success. No existing business models are guaranteed. For instance, in the recent past, the generalists and the manufacturers that supplied them were all-powerful. Today, specialists and global market places like Amazon are squeezing the generalist model. Clearly, whatever the sector, whatever the scale or geography, all players must constantly re-evaluate their strategies and tactics to ensure they win the connected shopper’s business. It is essential to constantly be on top of your shopper by focusing on the right touchpoints at the right moment throughout the whole omnichannel path to purchase.

    So, if you’re serious about conquering the connected shopper, you must understand today’s retail environment and anticipate tomorrow’s trends to plan and prepare for the future.

    The connected retail transformation: Two very different routes to purchase

    Retail is transforming to keep pace with the connected shopper and their demands. We believe that in the future, shopping will either be functional, rational and efficient, or it will need to offer an emotional connection or be an experience.

    Our two future scenarios for retail in the connected world are rooted in our extensive knowledge gained from researching consumers. What is common to them all is that the shopper is front and center, and has more control than ever before of how they shop and what they buy.

    One: Staying in

    Here the smart home of the future takes over the functional aspects of shopping, ordering and replenishing supplies as they run out.

    Never fear, this won’t disengage shoppers from brands, as virtual and augmented reality will come to the rescue. For fun, connected shoppers will be able to try on clothes, trial appliances and test drive cars – all from the comfort of their home.

    Two: Going out

    If you leave the comfort of your home to shop, there will be two very different options. On the one hand, much shopping will become uber-convenient, super-fast and easy with in-store GPS navigation, pick up points, automated payments (no queues) and minimal browsing. Mobile phones will have a key role to play, becoming hand-held shopping trip assistants. On the other, retailers will offer experiences, where shopping will be seamlessly integrated into socializing and entertainment. The smartphone will be the connector of the personalized digital and physical retail world, for chatting, browsing, sharing experiences and paying.

    Whether shopping from the home or when out and about, manufacturers will increasingly focus on their own omnichannel retail concepts. They will want to get closer to their shoppers and find personalization-driven business models where this can deliver a profit.

    Getting up close and personal with the connected shopper

    There is no one “connected shopper”, every consumer and every purchase is unique. For a 360° perspective, you need to evaluate the key target audience segments in detail. How do they behave, what are their need states, how can you meet their expectations? From Gen X, Y and Z to iBrains, Millennials and Baby Boomers, we’ll help you identify and reach your audience with the relevant product, service and experience at the right point in their purchase journey. With more consumers than ever saying they feel overwhelmed by choice, understanding and helping shoppers find the products they really want will become a core tenet of the successful retailer. Relevance and persuasion will become more important as key success factors. As a result, many retail marketing budgets are shifting to content and attribution marketing to be closer to the shopper during the moments that matter. The focus will be less on where the purchase happens, and much more on how you can influence it.

    Having an in-depth customer understanding is essential if you are to offer shoppers the all-important personalized product or service, such as H&M’s customized dress designed with Google. And it’s most definitely key if you want to anticipate their needs to increase their basket size and grow loyalty.

    Reinventing business models

    Achieving a profit requires a laser-like focus on logistics and operations, constant innovation, relevant marketing, perfect customer service, excellent customer and market intelligence… the list is infinite. By focusing on the connected shopper and building a true picture of buyers of all sorts of products and services, you can identify the business models that give you the best chance of success in the retail transformation.

    Marco Wolters is Global Industry Lead Fashion, Home & Lifestyle at GfK. He can be reached at Marco.Wolters@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 07/03/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Introducing the iBrains: Understand how to reach tomorrow’s shoppers

    By 2020, 40% of consumers in Europe, the US and BRIC markets will be “iBrains”, or Gen Z. The first generation fully immersed in smartphones and social media, these digital natives will drive disruption in retail. Always connected, they live in the fast lane. If you are to succeed in the future, you will need to identify, predict and meet their needs. And you’ll need to grab their attention to maximize the opportunities they offer retailers and manufacturers. Here’s how.

    Meet the iBrains

    You’re already familiar with Millennials, but the iBrains – the “selfie generation” – are different. They don‘t know a world without smartphones and social media. While Millennials are tech-dependent, iBrains are always connected, intense social media users and live through technology. They expect brands and retailers to do the same in a seamless, authentic way. They want an identical brand experience, whether they are in-store, online or on their mobile device. For many brands, this represents a goal still to be achieved.

    The iBrains:

    • are aged 19 or under, most live at home
    • have little spending power, but, with 93% of parents saying their iBrain kids hold sway over what they buy, they are powerful influencers of purchase behavior
    • readily share details of their lives, likes and dislikes across dozens of platforms online
    • expect to engage in two-way conversations with brands in this virtual world
    • will happily share their brand allegiance with others and are more likely to trust their peers than marketers

    How to reach the iBrains

    So far, we’ve shown that iBrains present brands and retailers with many growth opportunities. Compared to Millennials, they are more open to buying in-store, and in general they see no difference between online and offline.

    So, how should retailers prepare for the arrival of the iBrain wallet?

    Firstly, it’s key to be available 24/7 across all channels and devices. The mobile is the handheld personal life assistant of iBrains and they reach for it first when thinking about making a purchase. It connects the physical and digital worlds and holds the key to the personalization you need to offer to win over this group.

    Anticipate the iBrains’ needs and issues, and provide the solutions before they themselves identify them. Achieve this, and you’ll make fans who are willing to publicize their brand loyalties. Social media is extremely important to iBrains when deciding what to buy and where – according to our FutureBuy survey*, 59% in APAC and 34% in Europe say it’s an important source of information for making the best product choices.

    For iBrains, previous experience with a retailer is key for 57% when deciding whether to make a purchase (versus 49% of Gen X). So too are the opinions of family, friends and colleagues (50% versus 35% of Gen X). They also much more likely to search other shoppers’ online reviews (46% versus 30% of Gen X).

    Speed is also essential to iBrains. They will accept a “good enough” product or model and have it now rather than wait for a better one. Of course, you need to react fast to grab their attention – iBrains are super multi-taskers. Or, to put it another way, you only ever have their parti­al – never full – attention. Also, don’t ever ignore the fact that they are more impulsive than Gen X. Brands that get their offer right can really maximize on this trait.

    Finally, it’s worth noting that iBrains are not loyal to any one brand. They browse intensively to find the best deal. This is the case for 60% of iBrains in APAC and 55% in Europe. However, brands that involve them in shaping products can win vital brownie points – particularly from iBrains in APAC where 64% favor this option versus 53% of Gen X*. In Europe, 46% of iBrains value this involvement versus 36% of Gen X.

    The iBrain shift

    • The iBrains herald a new era in retail – in fact, it’s a revolution. Retailers must think differently. They must shift from offering new things to buy to new things to do, from telling a story, to conversing. They also need to move from making a perfect product slowly to making a better product quickly with iBrain collaboration. Here are some other pointers:
    • Be visible online and on social media. iBrains prefer peer-to-peer social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram over Facebook. Use social media and online advertising to get their attention.
    • Keep their personal information secure. Concerns about the security of personal information rank high and are a primary factor in their preferences for shopping in-store. Make sure you protect their financial and personal information.
    • Share diverse images. Make sure your advertising, window displays, website and social media accounts include images of diverse customers, and treat all customers with respect, no matter their age.
    • Let the music play. Incorporate music into your store experience if you want to attract Gen Z.
    • Help their decision-making. An iBrain’s shopping journey typically includes lots of online and offline research, getting opinions from peers in real life and online, and looking for the best value and price. You could describe iBrains as “feedback fanatics”. Stay with them during the process.
    • Experience matters. Retailers must create places – stores, websites, online communities – where iBrainers feel welcome walking in and just as wonderful walking out. Brands that help iBrainers to define and express their individuality and lifestyle will succeed with this group.

    Retail is on the brink of a revolution

    Retailers and brand owners need to fundamentally reconsider their proposition if they are going to capture the hearts, minds, wallets and attention spans of this constantly connected, partially attentive generation. A generation of consumers who will determine and dominate future shopping behavior.

    Marco Wolters is Global Industry Lead Fashion, Home & Lifestyle at GfK. He can be reached at Marco.Wolters@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 06/30/17
    • Retail
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Why travel brands shouldn’t forget about the role of the store

    You may be forgiven for thinking that high street travel agencies are a bit of an anachronism in today’s world. After all, who would go to a retail outlet filled with paper brochures while a uniformed member of staff tapped your details into their computer, when it’s possible to book a package or even tailor-make your own bespoke itinerary without leaving your home? Well, research from GfK suggests that the answer to this question may surprise you, with younger travelers and Leading Edge Consumers actually more likely to visit stores as part of their vacation purchase journey.

    A need for physical travel stores

    Of course, online retailing has been accounting for an ever-larger chunk of consumer spending for many years, but despite this many analysts feel there is still a place for physical stores, as a place you can actually look at and touch products before buying, as well as get advice from experts. While the former aspect is not one that is so relevant for travel, the latter certainly is, and could help explain why there is a continued consumer need for physical travel stores on our high streets.

    This phenomenon first came to our attention when looking at some research on the travel sector we’d done here in the UK. We asked consumers which sources they’d used when deciding what kind of holiday to go on, with 20% mentioning high street travel agents as part of this process. Interestingly, however, this figure was higher (23%) among Travel Leading Edge Consumers, who are market mavens with a particular category passion according to GfK’s proprietary definition. What’s more, the figure was even higher among those aged 25-34, at 29%, as opposed to lower among 45-59 year olds, at 11%.

    The presence of in-store travel agents

    These figures suggest that users of high street travel agencies may not be who you’d initially suspect, but in fact there are compelling reasons in both cases. Category passionates are always on the lookout for new places to go, and want to maximize the enjoyment of their holiday, while younger consumers may also be less set on going to a particular destination and would value some help and advice. In both cases, the presence of in-store travel experts is likely to be a boon. After all, buying an overseas holiday could count as one of the biggest purchases in a shopper’s year, and the level of expectation placed on a big vacation could be considerable. We know from our GfK Consumer Life data that 44% of global consumers spend quite a lot of time researching brands before making a major purchase.

    Another consideration, raised in a recent article extolling the virtues of the high street travel agent, is the simplicity and luxury of getting someone else to do the hard work and put together a great holiday. While consumers do now have the online tools available to them to book all the various aspects of a holiday and in some cases save money, there can still be a lot of virtual legwork required to find the cheapest flights, most convenient transfers and nicest accommodation. The increasing realization may be that lowest price doesn’t always equate to best value. Indeed, four in ten global consumers are prepared to pay a premium for products that make their life easier.

    Vacation curation starts with a conversation

    It also seems that travel agents themselves see the benefits of a long term commitment to retail stores. One prominent example is Kuoni, the luxury tour operator, who say that “it all starts with a conversation,” and highlight the fact that their holidays are tailor made by experts who will use their detailed knowledge of a destination and take into account the individual customer’s needs to curate the best break for them.

    The in-store experience: An opportunity to wow

    The in-store experience can also be augmented by interactive touchscreens, virtual reality headsets and more to immerse the customer in the process and bring destinations to life. According to GfK Consumer Life, the percentage of global consumers who say that virtual interactions with people or places can be as good as being there in person is steadily increasing, from 21% in 2011 to 30% now. This development highlights an opportunity for innovators in the technology sector to partner with retailers in travel and other categories to develop in-store experiences that will wow jaded customers.

    There are surely valuable learnings here for retailers in all categories. If even a category like travel, with no tangible product to display, finds brick and mortar stores to be an important part of the retail mix now and into the future, there’s bound to be a place for them elsewhere. Considering the role that only physical stores can play and the consumer needs that they address in your category could help you stay ahead in a highly competitive omnichannel environment.

    David Crosbie is a Director on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at david.crosbie@gfk.com.

    • 06/29/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Measuring technology addiction around the globe

    Do you struggle to unplug from technology? Well you’re not alone, according to the results from our international online survey where a third of those polled (34%) firmly agree1 that they “find it difficult to take a break from technology (my mobile device, computer, TV, etc.), even when I know I should”.

    In the era of the Connected Consumer, this may not come as a big surprise, but what does stand out among the data is that teenagers and higher income households rank as the most likely to be addicted to technology.

    Breaking down the results by age

    After teenagers (categorized as 15 – 19 year olds), of which 44% responded that they have difficulty taking a tech break, the numbers steadily decrease by age group, while the number of people who indicated they do not have trouble unplugging increases.  A tipping point was reached in those aged 50-59 and 60+, where a majority responded that they do not struggle to take a break from technology.

    Higher income vs. lower income households

    Additionally, those living in higher income households may also struggle more with technology addiction, with 39% finding it difficult to take a break from their devices, and only 11% indicating it is not hard to take a break.  Lower income households show attitudes that are more split, with 30% agreeing that it’s difficult to unplug, and 20% firmly disagreeing.

    Where are the opportunities for brands?

    China ranks the highest globally in online population who have difficulty taking a break from technology at 43%, with mobile devices playing an essential role in the lives of Chinese consumers.  Rounding out the top five countries are Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the United States, respectively.

    In contrast, Germany has the highest percentage (35%) of those who strongly disagree that taking a tech break is difficult, followed by the Netherlands (30%) and Belgium (28%).

    Conclusion

    These findings clearly show differences in market opportunities – from brands offering the latest devices targeting happily ‘always-on’ consumers, to brands offering ‘quality time’ services that resonate with people who like to break from technology.

    About the study

    We asked over 22,000 consumers (aged 15 or over) online in 17 countries how strongly they agree or disagree with the statement, “I find it difficult to take a break from technology (my mobile device, computer, the TV, etc.), even when I know I should”.

    1Data presented in this release represents the bottom 2 boxes (disagreement) and top 2 boxes (agreement) from on a 7-point scale where “1” means “don’t agree at all”, and “7” means “agree completely”.

    Fieldwork was completed in summer 2016. Data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population aged 15+ in each market. The global average given in this release is weighted based on the size of each country proportional to the other countries. Countries covered are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, UK and USA.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Teenagers and higher-income households most likely to struggle with technology addiction
    • 06/29/17
    • Technology
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Global Study
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Teenagers and higher-income households most likely to struggle with technology addiction

    One in three people find it difficult to take a break from technology, even when they know they should. China, Brazil and Argentina have highest levels who struggle to take a tech break. People in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium lead for finding it easy to ‘unplug’ .

    • 06/28/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Dads are shopping more and brands are important anchors

    Dads are changing.  As more mothers have entered the workforce and become empowered outside of the home, dads have become more engaged with household chores like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping.  These trends are not just born of necessity; in the US, Canada, and countries around the world, it has become more acceptable for dads to take on what might once have been seen as a mom’s tasks and roles.

    Opportunities in the grocery store

    Grocery shopping, in particular, is an area that has seen significant growth for dads.  According to GfK’s Consumer Life Global study, 78% of dads around the world shop for groceries weekly, a rise of 9 percentage points since 2009.  The increase is particularly pronounced in North America, where 87% of Dads do a weekly grocery shopping trip, an increase of 12 percentage points since 2009.

    The implications for brands

    These shopping trends have implications for brands of all categories — especially those in the consumer packaged goods space.  In our recent webinar series, “The New Contract between Moms and Dads” we explored three anchors that are important for brands to keep in mind when targeting the increasingly important dad segment of the buying population:

    1. Dads buy from brands they trust. More dads today indicate that they only buy products or services from a trusted brand.
    2. Dads are interested in what others have to say about brands. Dads are more likely than moms to agree that they are “interested in other people’s opinions about what products and services to buy.” While moms feel more confidence in selecting one brand over another based on characteristics, dads will look to the influence of others to aid their decision.
    3. Dads buy nostalgia. In the US, dads are significantly more likely than moms to buy brands they grew up with.  They will share their past and present memories of these brands with their children, as well.

    Today’s dad is much different from dads of the past.  They have increasing power and influence in the home and at the shelf.  Brands in particular are important anchor points and should establish themselves as (modern) dad friendly.  Expect these trends to continue to accelerate as the next generation of dads (aka the Now Generation) will continue to increase their shopping and other household responsibilities.  Take into account the key anchors – trust, influence, and nostalgia – to be successful with dads at the shelf.

    Tim Kenyon is Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at tim.kenyon@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • One in three people find it difficult to take a break from technology
    • 06/27/17
    • Global Study
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    One in three people find it difficult to take a break from technology

    Teenagers and higher-income households most likely to struggle with technology addiction. Find out more in our global study.

  • Global study: break from technology
    • 06/27/17
    • Global Study
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Global study: break from technology

    One in three people find it difficult to take a break from technology, even when they know they should. Explore more in our global study.

    • 06/26/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    3 things Connected Consumers want from their smart home

    Whether it’s smart speakers, thermostats or refrigerators, one thing is clear. The much hailed about ‘internet of things’ is slowly but certainly becoming a reality.

    The benefits are obvious for customers – smart homes represent the ultimate in convenience. Back in 2015, Amazon’s Dash button for Tide captured our imaginations by showing us that buying washing detergent need not involve routine, mind-numbing trips to the supermarket.

    Of course, there are other benefits. According to NEST, the company’s programmable thermostats helped customers save between $131 to $145 each year.

    Smart homes benefit businesses too. Other than making products easily available to consumers, it also changes the way brands interact with them.

    In an age where consumers are far less loyal to brands than they used to be, creating a memorable and personalized experience for customers can help one stand out from the clutter.

    Smart homes in Asia – where’s the growth?

    According to a report by the Singapore Business Review, Asia’s smart home market is expected to reach $115 billion by 2030. That’s huge news.

    Globally, smart air conditioners registered sales amounting $42 million in 2016, with Taiwan leading the market share in Asia, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam demonstrating sizable growth.

    As expected, China, with its exploding middle class and strong manufacturing and tech ecosystem will lead this charge. Japan is the other major player. Not only is it already among the world’s top five global markets when it comes to smart home penetration, its aging population will very likely continue to drive growth with the adoption of smart health and wellness solutions.

    What are some barriers in adoption?

    Despite the vast potential the smart home industry has, there is still some way to go before the technology truly becomes mainstream. In our research, we found that the most common smart device found in homes is still the Smart TV. 17.38 million were sold in Europe alone in 2016, up from merely 5.61 million in 2011.

    In comparison, to date, approximately only 8.2 million people own Amazon Echo unit, a smart speaker connected to Alexa, a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service which responds to your voice commands, plays music, controls your smart home, and gives you information on news and the weather.

    Why is this the case? Here are three areas where we think the industry can improve on.

    Compatibility

    At present, the proliferation of devices, appliances, manufacturers and retailers in the market is confusing consumers. To make matters worse, not all smart appliances work with one another. That makes the buying experience downright perplexing, especially considering how much these cutting-edge devices cost.

    The solution? We believe that it’s about building the right user experience. We have to deeply examine the user and the marketplace to identify a new set of unmet needs that offer opportunities for customer innovation. In this regard, a concept testing approach will be beneficial as it measures concepts that audiences are likely to embrace, and the extent to which the concept improves their lives, placing emphasis on consumers’ needs. With access to consumers’ emotional reactions such as level of excitement and engagement to the product concept, brands are better equipped to proactively enhance their product aligned to consumer behavior and perceptions.

    Communication

    The benefits of a smart home, and the way it will enhance consumers’ lives, need to be clearly communicated, and adapted to the different needs of each part of the market.

    For instance, when we asked people why they monitored or controlled a smart device in their home, the responses differed greatly by age group. 62% of Boomers chose “To save money by reducing my utility costs” as their main consideration. In contrast, Gen X-ers ranked “To keep my home safe and secure” as their top priority.

    Consumers have individual ways of building up commitment, energy and willingness to act. Therefore, the brands that successfully communicate the affordability of the product, ease of use and the value it brings, often see success in facilitating adoption.

    Concentration

    In our 2017 Tech Trends Report, we found that the older Millennials (Gen Y) are early adopters and leading the charge, with 33% globally planning to purchase smart devices in the next two – three years, compared to 28% of younger Millennials.

    Therefore, instead of targeting indiscriminately, brands need to concentrate their efforts on the segments that matter most.

    Smart devices and the Connected Consumer

    For businesses to successfully utilize the potential of smart home devices, it is first crucial to understand the type of consumers they are targeting.

    We live in the era of what we like to call the ‘Connected Consumer’, and there are three key benefits they seek from brands – freedom, acceleration and intimacy. Simply put, that means:

    • They want brands and businesses to help make their lives simple and convenient. From smartphones to smart homes, they do so with the myriad of devices at their disposal.
    • They have reduced attention spans as compared to their predecessors. That means that simplicity, ease-of-use and a seamless experience is crucial to retaining their interest. More than half (54%) of consumers globally agree that, “If a new technology product is not simple to use, I lose interest.”
    • They expect an experience when they interact with a brand. Using customer and data analytics – possibly collected using smart home devices – businesses that deliver that engagement can generate long-term relationships.

    Hence, it is increasingly crucial for brands to harness current and emerging technologies to deliver personalized experiences and enhance living, thus deepening customer loyalty.

    As smart homes become a reality, the most successful brands will be those that deliver the simple, seamless experience that consumers seek.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 06/21/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Get them out to the ball game: How brands can leverage the power of sports fans

    As the summer of 2017 approaches in the US, there’s a veritable buffet for sports fans to enjoy. The Warriors and Penguins have been crowned champions but baseball, soccer, racing, golf and tennis now fill the schedule. I will be a part of the crowds this summer, heading to Connecticut to see the US national soccer team play Ghana, to Citi Field for Mets games, and to Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the US Open.

    It’s also a time of change for sports teams and brands, as multiple sources of entertainment compete for our attention. We have more options to consume sports than ever before. Sports programming on television alone has increased by 160% since 2005, and this does not include the voluminous streaming options from services like ESPN3.

    Fans are also changing how we watch sports, using a mix of devices, and streaming this content now more than ever. GfK Consumer Life has found that one in five sports fans watch live events on their mobile phones (+14 pts from Americans overall). Additionally, sports fans are more likely to own streaming devices like Apple TV or Roku (34%, +10 pts).

    Facing these challenges, sports franchises and brands need to think creatively to keep fans engaged; here are a few ways they can do that:

    1. Emphasize experience. American sports fans want experiences when we show up at the stadium: 63% (+10 pts from Americans overall) agree that “experiences are more important than possessions.” It is the #1 attitude to life among American sports fans.  To keep us interested, ensure that fans have memorable and personalized experiences that reward us for the time we have invested. Recently, the New York Red Bulls hosted an event at ArteVino in Hoboken, NJ, where fans were able to paint pictures and drink wine with some of the MLS team’s players.
    2. Expand the idea of community. American sports fans are joiners: 48% agree that “the groups that I belong to say a lot about me” (+16 pts from America overall). While sports fans spend more time with friends on a weekly basis (4.9 hours vs. 3.5 hours). Staying continuously engaged in this busy world is difficult. Fortunately, sports leagues and franchises can nurture virtual communities with apps to keep fans connected – this makes sense given that sports fans are almost twice as likely as the average American to describe virtual interactions as just as good as in-person ones. The Rooter app was recently released to help connect fans of soccer and Indian online cricket during live events; an American version cannot be far away.
    3. Keep them active. American sports fans don’t just watch sports, we play them. Over half (59%, +35 pts from Americans overall) of fans play sports at least once a week, and 82% exercise just as often (+17 pts). If a team wants to get these fans to come to the stadium more often, a good way to reach them would be to sponsor a 5k race on game day like the NHL’s LA Kings or promote a weekly recreational league in the area. Brands can also align with sports entities that attract those who pursue an active lifestyle. An example of this is Michelob Ultra bringing their brand to active fans by becoming the official beer of the World Surf League.
    4. Tap into fans’ passions. Beer is a mainstay at American tailgate parties, so it’s not surprising that American sports fans are more likely to drink beer on a weekly basis (51% vs. 30% of total). While domestic beer remains popular among American fans, many are turning to craft beer. Nearly a third of the fans who drink beer have craft beer on a weekly basis. Collaborating with local brewers is a new and interesting way to increase the link between a team and its fans. Minnesota United FC of MLS has embraced this idea by working with Surly Brewing in Minneapolis to create the Rising North Pale Ale. Brands can also work to find partnerships that highlight tailgating food. NASCAR and Fox Sports recently teamed up with Allrecipes to create a food-focused social media community where fans can share their favorite tailgate recipes.

    Using these strategies will help to strengthen relationships with sports fans and keep us coming to the stadium or tuning to whatever screen we prefer. By realizing that sports fans aren’t just customers – we can also be a team’s biggest advocate online, at the local sports bar, or in the stands – you can truly leverage the power of this group.

    Adam Swift is a Senior Analyst on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at adam.swift@gfk.com.

    • 06/19/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Improving customer loyalty and retail experience through mobile payments

    Eight years ago, Starbucks developed its own app for mobile payments. Today, it’s still held up as the gold standard in the United States.

    In Asia’s rapidly developing market, where mobile payment is eight to nine years ahead of the West, things are quite different.

    In China, you can mobile pay for everything from a cab to a mojito or utility bill. In 2015, WeChat registered more financial transactions in one day than PayPal did during the entire 12 months.

    But it’s not just China that’s adopting the trend. Mobile payment is also making massive inroads in Southeast Asia as shopping apps are gaining popularity. In Singapore alone, there are 30,000 retail points accepting contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Android and Samsung Pay.

    In Indonesia, the most populous country in the region with 250 million people, most of the big traditional retailers are unveiling e-commerce plans of their own. In a recent GfK study: The Connected Asian Consumer, consumers in Singapore and Indonesia also reported fairly high usage incidence of shopping apps (37 and 35 percent respectively). This growth is fuelled by affordable smartphones, a massive young and tech-savvy population and efforts by governments and telco operators to expand and improve high-speed wireless networks.

    The future has never been clearer. It’s only a matter of time before mobile payment goes mainstream.

    The Connected Consumer

    Unfortunately for traditional retailers, the age of e-commerce has also produced a new consumer – we like to call them the ‘Connected Consumer’ – and their behaviors are shaping the future of retail.

    In the GfK 2016 FutureBuy survey of 20,000 consumers in 20 markets, it was found that shoppers are becoming less loyal to any one retailer. Almost half (46%) of all consumers (14-65 year olds) stated they were less loyal when shopping. This figure rises among the youngest consumers to 53% of Gen Y (18-29 years), and six in ten (58%) of Gen Z (14-17 years).

    For retailers who understand the Connected Consumer, there are opportunities to stay ahead of the competition – and mobile payments are a huge part of it.

    Customer loyalty

    Despite becoming less loyal, many Connected Consumers expect an omnichannel shopping experience when they interact with a brand. Connected Consumers in APAC seek the best of both worlds.

    For example, shoppers in China are the most likely to embrace omnichannel shopping – seven in 10 (71%) shop both online and in-store while Australian shoppers are the most likely to shun online: almost two thirds (62%) shop exclusively in-store. In contrast, Indians lead the way in online shopping with almost one quarter (23%) shopping the category exclusively online.

    Therefore it is important for retailers to understand the new reality of the omnichannel consumer, and know that the ‘whatever, whenever’ culture demands that user experience is seamless across all devices. If retailers don’t understand this, customers will simply delete their app and move on.

    We predict that mobile payment could halt the current trend for a decline in shopper loyalty. It makes sense, really. There are numerous benefits for shoppers: avoiding queues, centralizing loyalty rewards, checking stock, ordering ahead, enjoying customized offers and easy price comparison.

    At the same time, using customer and data analytics, retailers can receive customer data to offer more personalized services. In turn, this presents an opportunity to generate long-term relationships.

    However, it is important to note that not all Connected Consumers are the same. For example, older consumers aren’t as comfortable with sharing personal information as younger consumers.

    Understanding the shopper’s purchase journey is easier these days with research intelligence offering detailed information on the route shoppers take when making a purchase, and ways in which online and offline touchpoints influence their decisions. We believe that brands that understand, respect and protect consumers’ individual boundaries will deserve the loyalty they earn by doing so.

    As mobile payments continue to grow in APAC, businesses in various sectors such as financial services, cybersecurity and telco stand to gain and can evolve to support the changing landscape.

    For example, for telco operators, engaging with retail merchants and partners can help strengthen the overall service ecosystem to provide better end user experiences for consumers. Additionally, the design and development of payment services can also be integrated with other emerging technologies and competencies to offer differentiation to target audiences.

    Customer experiences

    Loyalty is great, but to really retain customers in today’s omnichannel space, shopping experience is equally important.

    To Connected Consumers, simplicity and convenience is paramount. Not only do they expect everything quickly, they also lose their patience faster.

    What does that mean for retailers?

    For large retailers, mobile payment offers the opportunity to segment and target consumers much more effectively with highly personalized offers and incentives. Discounts and offers can be integrated into mobile payment, replacing the need for physical coupons and entering information into a terminal. Connected Consumers will wave goodbye to the traditional checkout queue and benefit from a wealth of customized rewards.

    Mobile payment also offers a chance for small retailers to move into a new era of retailing. Freed from high transaction fees and with new ways to connect with consumers, small retailers can now embark on the kind of personalization and targeting that is usually the privilege of larger players.

    With e-commerce here to stay, there is plenty of potential for retail businesses to leverage research intelligence to adequately design and develop strategies to target this group of consumers. Essentially, the key to success is to fully understand shopper behavior and be led by what consumers ultimately want, without being blinded by what the technology can do.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

  • 360° Shopper insights: Identify future consumer needs
    • 06/16/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    360° Shopper insights: Identify future consumer needs

    Watch our video to explore the challenges, opportunities, research and benefits of identifying future consumer needs.

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