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    • 05/19/17
    • Automotive
    • Media Measurement
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Mobile is the means to improving traction for your crossmedia automotive campaigns

    As an automotive marketer, you face a great many challenges. Not only is the auto industry in the fast lane when it comes to change, but so too is the media landscape you must navigate to attract Connected Consumers. Online media’s increasing importance in the purchase journey combined with the proliferation of connected devices, however, presents a significant opportunity and route to maximizing the efficiency of your campaigns.

    While traditional TV remains the go-to media channel to drive brand image and reach a mass audience, online campaigns can add extra reach and help target a specific group. More specifically, you need to go mobile and devise content specifically for this channel. Here’s why:

    Go mobile to get more mileage from your campaigns

    Our research shows that mobile accounts for a significant share of digital ad impressions. According to our Crossmedia Visualizer data, based on online users in Germany, more than one third (37.4%) of all ad impressions within automotive online touchpoints occur exclusively on mobile devices. When looking at smartphones only, they deliver 20.4% exclusive reach, while tablets deliver 14.3%.

    Mobile use is even more pronounced among Gen Y (20-34 year olds) in this market, where 45.3% of impressions in the automotive category are exclusively on mobile. What’s more, our research shows that the reach of Facebook on mobile devices among younger target age groups is nearly three times higher than that of desktop ad placements. Also when run in addition to TV campaigns, paid placements on Facebook can extend incremental reach by 4.5%. This is even before considering the viral effects a campaign can have.

    Younger age groups are not only critical for brand building but are also, because of their affinity for using mobile and social media, open to campaigns that use these channels. What this means is that if you aren’t reaching them on mobile and via social media through paid placements and the like, your competitors surely will.

    Fine-tune your use of mobile channels for incremental reach and targeting

    The increasing usage of mobile devices among the online population in the auto sector is also evident when we look at the websites of the top three premium car brands in Germany. While desktop still delivers the greatest share of impressions versus mobile for Mercedes-Benz (64.3% vs. 35.8%) and Audi (64.3% vs. 32.2%), for BMW, mobile provides a 53.3% share of impressions versus 45.9% for desktop.

    These factors combine to underline the need to optimize the mobile elements of your cross-media campaigns to target today’s – and tomorrow’s – Connected Consumers where they are. Put another way, if you want to get the mileage from your cross-media campaigns, you need to fine-tune your use of mobile channels to deliver that all-important incremental reach and targeting of content.

    You can master today’s multi-channel marketing reality and track, analyze and optimize your media planning with our Crossmedia Visualizer tool. Test it out for yourself for free to discover:

    • which car brand sites have the highest net reach among the online population in Germany and how this has changed over last five months
    • which of the key online auto sites in Germany has the highest net reach and number of unique users
    • what the top auto sites’ reach is by device and which site indexes highest for reaching those who intend to buy a new car (timeframe)
    • and more…

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 05/11/17
    • Technology
    • Trends and Forecasting
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Looking for the future of mobile? Take a trip to Beijing

    ‘You can do without a wallet in Beijing these days but not without a smartphone.’ This came from the cab driver who picked me up at Beijing International airport when I landed with my mother last fall for the first trip back to my home country (and hometown) in years. He was completely right.

    Over the following weeks, I grew a renewed appreciation for my iPhone (now powered by a local SIM card), and constantly found myself pulling it out for all the things I had never used it for – to help open a bank account (you have to have a local mobile number and a phone that can at least receive authentication codes to be able to open an account in China), to make online reservations at restaurants (many of them don’t take reservations over the phone), to book an online appointment at a local salon and get a nice discount for the visit, to use an app to call cabs (Didi, the world largest ride-hailing service with nearly 400 million users across 40 cities in China), and of course, to make in-store purchases by scanning QR codes.

    Having followed and reported on tech trends for years, I was prepared for the role of smartphones in China. However, being there to experience and witness the smartphone culture first-hand, I still couldn’t help but constantly marvel at how involved my fellow citizens are today with their beloved phones.

    • Chinese are now the most engaged mobile phone users globally: Many visitors to China would probably share my amazement at Chinese consumers’ high smartphone engagements. According to data from GfK Consumer Life, Chinese today use their mobile phones to do more than their peers in any of the other 21 countries covered in our global study. On average, 61% of online Chinese consumers age 15+ did at least seven out of fourteen consistently tracked activities on their mobile phones in the past month, from social networking to online banking. This compares with 57% in South Korea, 34% in the US, and 32% in the UK.
    • Older consumers drive the latest growth: It’s no longer just tech-savvy younger Chinese who are inseparable with their phones. Increasingly, it’s their grey-haired parents – and grandparents – as well.

      The biggest increase in mobile phone engagement since 2014 came from older Chinese age 50+, whose growing fascination with their phones was visible when we toured around Beijing. From restaurants to buses to community parks, I was always able to spot seniors being totally immersed in the little screens in their palms. By the end of our trip, my mom’s group of 70-80 year-old friends had convinced her to install WeChat, China’s massively popular mobile social networking app with now 889 million users. And content sharing to her account has been flowing non-stop ever since.
    • China dwarfs the US in mobile commerce and payments: Our taxi driver wasn’t kidding when he said that you can survive in China’s large cities without a traditional wallet, as long as you’re equipped with a mobile one.

      From tiny street vendors to large supermarkets, numerous retailers of all types in Beijing accept mobile payments, often through popular apps Alipay and WeChat Pay. China’s relatively low plastic card penetration also contributes to the appeal of mobile wallets as a convenient non-cash alternative.

      Of course, smartphones are used not only for in-store payments, but online purchases. The latest data from GfK Consumer Life indicates that 61% of online Chinese mobile phone users used their handsets to buy something online in the past month, up 17 pts from 2014. This compares with 28% of American users, up 7 pts in the same time period. Last year, China’s biggest online shopping day Single’s Day raked in an eye-popping $17.8 billion in sales, with 82% coming from mobile transactions. To put that into perspective, last year’s record-setting Cyber Monday rang in $3.45 billion, with mobile accounting for around one-third of that revenue.
    • Chinese companies on the rise in mobile technologies: Chinese consumers’ high engagement with their smartphones can be attributed in part to the innovative solutions from local tech giants.

      Tencent’s WeChat, launched in 2011, has built itself into a ‘super app’ that allows users to not only make video calls and group chat, but shop, make payments, book a hotel, hail a ride and play games all on one intuitive platform. Its ‘super app’ approach is often seen as inspiring even to tech giants in the West.

    With a willing consumer and increasingly sophisticated local players, China is poised to continue to lead the evolution of the mobile culture. Brands trying to crack the Chinese market must recognize the essential role of mobile in the lives of these consumers. And for those curious about the future of mobile technologies, China – not the US – may be the closest to offer a glimpse.

    Veronica Chen is Vice President at GfK Consumer Life. To share your thoughts, please email veronica.chen@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

    [1]GfK PoS Measurement, 2016, Sales Units, USA and Mexico not included

    • 05/05/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    The smart home finds its voice

    Voice-controlled technology has long excited the minds of sci-fi buffs and technological prophets. Today, its promise of freeing up our hands and eyes in exchange for a more seamless user experience seems closer than ever before. Indeed, voice recognition has evolved from providing farcical misinterpretations in its infancy, to a stage where it successfully detects 95% of human speech – as much as we humans do ourselves. The hype around voice tech was at full display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, where a central theme to new product launches, no matter how different from one another, was what kind of voice compatibility they would be offering.

    The arrival of Google Home

    This Thursday, Google Home arrived for British consumers – nearly six months after its main competitor, the Amazon Echo. Such “smart” speakers are a big part of the voice push, providing simultaneously the cockpit and pilot for your smart home products. Smart home products in this instance include anything that makes your home more interactive – from mood-sensitive lighting that can adapt to your entertainment needs, to plug sockets that will have fresh toast and coffee ready just as you are slipping out of bed in the morning.

    The appeal of smart home technology

    According to GfK Point of Sale data, almost 400,000 smart home products have been sold since the beginning of 2016 up until February 2017. Of these devices, over 60% work across multiple platforms. Lighting solutions have proven particularly popular so far, accounting for a significant proportion of the sales volume, perhaps because they offer the opportunity to test out the new technology without much expense and commitment.

    The take-up of these products is perhaps not surprising given that UK consumers rated smart home highest among the technologies they consider most likely to have an impact on their lives (47%), above other innovations such as wearables and mobile payments (GfK Smart Home, 2015). The areas respondents found most appealing were exactly the ones that the Amazon Echo and Google Home cater for – Security & Control (38%), Energy and Lighting (36%), and Entertainment & Connectivity (36%).

    For now, there seems to be willingness among manufacturers to provide early adopters with choice and integrate as many different voice assistants as possible. However, as the smart home becomes mass market, hub providers like Amazon and Google may demand exclusivity to encourage usage of their own platform. A potential lack of cross-platform compatibility that would make your smart devices “unwilling” to talk to each other could put consumers off the entire smart home proposition.

    The voice assistant arms race

    Amazon and Google may have been quickest to come to market in terms of standalone hardware, but they are by no means the only participants in the voice assistant arms race. While Apple has not released its own dedicated product, their popular voice assistant Siri in combination with the Apple Home app carries out comparable functions. Similarly, with Microsoft already possessing their own voice assistant in Cortana and Samsung recently launching Bixby alongside the Galaxy S8, this space looks set for further growth in the year ahead.

    We will continue to track adoption of voice automation and smart home technology. If you would like more information, please contact Toby Jarvis, Account Manager – Consumer Electronics, toby.jarvis@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 05/03/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Valuing experiences over ‘stuff’: How consumers are shaping retail and media

    Whether we are talking shopping, viewing content, traveling or just casually socializing with friends, experience takes center stage for today’s consumers.

    The reason for this is that experiences are the modern world’s social currency, so the more we fight for them the better we can market ourselves to others. And the more experiences we gather, the better individuals we become, a truth that touches a nerve across age groups and generations, but more so for the up-to-35 year olds, Millennials or just a good mix of Gen Y and Z.

     

    Focusing on experience in a technologically evolving environment

    Rapid technological changes have impacted the way consumers perform everyday tasks. Internet enabled smart phones and tablets have placed the power in the consumers’ hands. Literally. For the last few years, online purchasing has been gaining a lot of momentum, beating the lines, registers and check outs of brick-and-mortar stores. The advancements of app shopping technology and the rise (until recently) of shopping loyalty were this trend’s enablers. But do consumers now want more?

    Whilst technology (ie. the internet) is used widely to search for information about a product, check online reviews, compare prices and check availability, experiencing the actual product/item is emerging as an intermediate step before the final purchase occurs.

     

    Think of a typical pre-Christmas shopping day. Consumers get experiences dosed up on atmosphere, lights and odors by visiting shops and malls whilst they are examining present options only to go back home and buy them online that same evening, often at a lower price. Now, this is no longer a behavior observed before the Festive season; technology ignited consumers combining seamless online and offline purchasing (and vice versa) is an everyday occurrence.

     

    The two channels have become completely intertwined in the consumer’s mind. Physical retail’s response was to embrace new ways to fuel the consumer’s imagination and please the senses while overcompensating for the digital medium’s inability to do so. As a result, stores are now becoming less about replenishment whilst focusing increasingly on experience rather than transactions.

    The ‘experience’ revolution’s effect on media and entertainment

    When it comes to experiencing content, shying away from physical purchases of DVDs and Blu-rays is nothing new. What’s more interesting is consumers’ muted response to downloading content. Most recently, consumers spoke loudly by remaining unexcited about Netflix’s newly introduced downloading option – only 3% of its subscribers have downloaded content since its launch back in November last year. (© GfK 2017 SVOD Content Consumption Tracker).

    Owning content, even if it’s just digitally, comes with the headache of storing and is missing out on ‘the thrill of the moment’ experience, which comes to life when deciding what to stream and how much of it. Streaming revolutionized the means to watch content and gave birth to a whole new viewing experience: binge-viewing.

    The binge-viewing phenomenon

    Two decades ago, back-to-back episodes of our favorite series was more than enough for a series enthusiast to make an appointment to view and turn the evening into a social event. The much cooler version of this, which gives full control over to the viewer about ‘what, when & how much’, is the binge-viewing phenomenon. ‘I stayed up all night to catch up on X’ is now a viewing treat even for the younger Gen Xs (around 40), who (via the delights of streaming) relive their student life instantanés.

    The evolution of our viewing experience re-shaped the watercooler moments in the office, which have been replaced with questions such as: “how far along are you?”, whilst there is a certain pressure on viewers to have covered (or sampled at least) the most talked about shows.

    To finesse our newly experienced viewing addiction, content creators had to revisit their scripting techniques; drip-feeding thrill and suspense throughout all episodes rather than keeping cliffhangers for the end of a series. This new, far superior viewing experience has created monster consumers, who expect everything (all content) on anything (all platforms), leaving content providers scratching their heads on the new viable model.

    Far from implying that the streaming technology is directly linked to the death of physical media, it feels that the ease of streaming content legally (or illegally) has further downgraded the sense of ownership here with DVDs and Blu-rays gathering shelf dust and the odd video rental shop serving as a museum of the pre-digital era.

    Does the balance between experiences over ‘stuff’ shift when our home is the focus?

    Technology has exploded and even though consumers take notice, they are the ones who dictate the rhythm when it comes to adopting it. Especially when it comes to technology targeting their own home. Our homes may be increasingly seen as entertainment & hobby centers, but first and foremost, they remain our private retreats. Virtual Reality gadgets and Smart Home tech are promising even more elevated sensory experiences to the average consumer, however their appeal still remains quite niche, limiting their popularity to birthday presents for loved ones.

    Cost, security issues and data privacy concerns seem to counterbalance our urge to create edgy experiences in this instance. Instead, we are seeing a U-turn to simpler things and times, like the taking up of cross stitching or micro brewing by sub-groups of the younger generations, who perceive such hobbies as an antidote to fast technology.

    One thing is certain: The search for memorable experiences continues, not least because compared to possessions, these intangible, non-measurable moments generate a feeling of happiness that doesn’t evaporate.

    *This article was originally posted on TM Forum Live

    Mary Kyriakidi is the Director of Media & Entertainment at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email her at mary.kyriakidi@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

    • 05/02/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Will online become the channel of choice for technical consumer goods?

    Internet sales have grown remarkably in recent years in Europe. In the technical consumer goods (TCGs) category, according to our POS Tracking data, online’s share of overall sales in terms of value passed the 10% mark about ten years ago. It exceeded the 20% milestone in 2014 to reach almost 24% in 2016. But is this trend set to continue? This is the big question and the cause of many a sleepless night for retail managers and sales and marketing directors.

    Online’s share of overall sales in Europe varies between countries and product groups

    Our POS Tracking data shows that many markets in Europe can be considered mature in terms of e-commerce, with their online sales accounting for 20% or more of overall sales of TCGs in 2016 (see infographic).

    Diving deeper into our POS data, online’s share of overall sales for certain categories of TCGs in certain countries is particularly strong at close to – or more than – 40%. This is the case with:

    • photographic equipment in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia and Great Britain
    • IT products in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Netherlands
    • telecommunication with Czech Republic and the Netherlands
    • small domestic appliances in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands
    • major domestic appliances in the Czech Republic and Great Britain.

    Other categories of products that you might think would sell better in a physical store where they can be seen and tried first, also sell well online. Internet sales of vacuum cleaner robots, for example, have reached about a 60% share of overall sales of this product in Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands (see table below). Online’s share of overall sales of wearables in Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands, and drones in Germany and Great Britain, have achieved a similar level. In some cases, it has increased its share further still recently.

    But this trend isn’t just impacting the sales of the latest generation of TCGs. More traditional white goods such as tumble dryers are also selling well online in certain countries. In the Czech Republic and Great Britain, for instance, online’s share of overall sales for this product is about 50%.

     

    Drivers of – and differences in – online sales penetration

    The balance between online and traditional channels’ share of overall sales is fluid and influenced by a range of factors including category idiosyncrasies, retailers’ strategies and shopper behavior. One of the biggest drivers of online sales has been retailers’ pricing strategies. As internet sales have matured, we’ve observed a general move by retail players towards aligning their online and offline prices in line with consumers’ belief that a product should be priced the same regardless of whether it is sold online or in a store (GfK FutureBuy, 2016).

     

    In Germany, for example, on average, the same TV is priced the same whether it is bought online or offline, and has been for the last couple of years. Our POS data shows that online’s share of sales for TVs in Germany is about 20%. However, there are examples where a product is priced lower online, as is the case with drones, in Germany, and online’s share of sales is higher at 61%.

    Pricing strategies impact on channel choice

    Price Index Development 2008 – 2016, Germany

    1 Top 50 identical items sold online and offline | Based below 50 items

    Saving money, however, is only one motivation that drives consumers’ purchase journeys and channel choices. While the online option is often chosen for financial and convenience reasons, seeing and feeling a product before purchasing it clearly drives shoppers to visit physical stores.

    Top five factors driving consumers’ channel choice

    GfK FutureBuy 2016

     

    Consumers currently favor an omnichannel approach

    The differences between online and traditional shopping channels have so far led consumers to use them both on their path to purchase. What the availability of internet shopping has done is provide consumers with a level of transparency on pricing, among other things, that has encouraged them to adopt an omnichannel approach to shopping. They know that by conducting their own research across online and offline channels before making a purchase they can get the best deal.

    So, what of the future of online sales?

    Will the growth in online sales share of overall sales continue? If consumers favor using channels for different reasons, will we instead arrive at a point of balance between online and offline sales in the future?

    There is one certainty: we cannot sit back and wait to find out. The retail world is constantly changing. Neither online nor traditional channels’ share of overall sales of TCGs is fixed. To the contrary, they will continue to fluctuate and be influenced by Connected Consumers’ shopping behavior, and retailers’ – successful or unsuccessful – strategies and tactics for driving channel choice.

    **********

    Source of data: if not stated otherwise, GfK POS Tracking

    Markus Tuschl is the Global Director of Digital Retail at GfK. To share your thoughts please email markus.tuschl@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • The game is on: the opportunities offered by the gaming market
    • 04/28/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    The game is on: the opportunities offered by the gaming market

    Gaming creates considerable revenue worldwide, but especially in Western Europe. Discover what opportunities are offered by the gaming market with our infographic.

    • 04/21/17
    • Retail
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Retail today and tomorrow: Innovating in the age of disruption

    Today’s changing retail environment is proving to be a major test of marketers’ agility.

    It is no secret that the convenience of online shopping has drawn customers away from traditional brick-and-mortar outlets. Walking from store to store in search of the perfect outfit or gift has transformed, in many cases, into jumping from website to website, credit card in hand.  Along with this major transformation has come many difficult adjustments.

    So where does this leave brick-and-mortar stores?

    The role of the store itself is being re-defined in our modern age, as traditional storefronts turn into immersive showrooms and leisure destinations, and much more.  Retailers, and specifically mall operators, are aiming for more experiential elements, while foregoing traditional anchors for more entertainment-based locations like movie theaters and gyms.

    GfK’s FutureBuy® data shows that people who shop in brick-and-mortar stores do so because they can physically see the product before they buy, they shop there routinely and they get “instant gratification” by getting the products much sooner.  When they shop online, however, the reasons tend to be saving money, better selection and the overall ease of shopping.

    Given these dramatic changes, marketers need to play to the strengths of traditional retail stores – and keep a few key lessons in mind.

    1. Stay agile.  In today’s retail environment, marketers have to be flexible and creative to satisfy the evolving consumer.  We see a trend where shopping spaces are increasingly being integrated into traditional urban surroundings, like the shops at the Oculus of New York’s World Trade Center or in Chinese open cities, with stores and interactive park-like features (trees, water fountains, shops and screens) that create a new shopping “village”.  There are numerous new business models that brands can leverage in new ways.
    2. Capitalize on the online-offline experience.  Consumers desire rewarding experiences.  The latest data from GfK Consumer Life shows that experience is the #1 trend in the United States, and store shopping remains a key leisure pursuit. Three in four Americans agree that “it’s fun to browse stores and see what’s new and different”.  The current market is seeing big online players capitalizing on this trend as they open brick-and-mortar retail locations.  For example, Amazon bookstores allow you to buy books in-store or have a fun retail experience, but lighten your load by having the book delivered or letting you purchase a digital copy.  Warby Parker and Bonobos are popular online players who have showrooms.  At Bonobos, you can visit ether of the “Guideshops” get 1-1 attention from a “Guide” to get the exact fit and measurement of your clothing, but you walk out hands-free, without paying for delivery of your chosen items.  This can surely help personalize the experience, and alleviate some of the operating costs that physical retailers face to be more competitive with pure online players.

      On the flipside, customization can be a challenge for online-only brands.  Nearly four in ten Americans agree that they like to buy products that can be tailored to their needs.  Major retailers are starting to optimize their brick and mortar footprint to maximize the omnichannel fulfillment with click & collect and filling excess square footage with shop-in-shop concepts.  But the real challenge for brick and mortar retailers is how to keep up online without killing their margins.
    3. Use new technology to your advantage.  We are at the tipping point of the AI explosion, and Artificial Intelligence will surely enhance the online shopping experience.  In fact, almost three in ten Americans (28%) would try out new products before buying them, such as cars or paint colors, and a quarter (24%) would use a VR headset to shop as if they were in a real store.  Virtual reality in particular could be useful in a brick-and-mortar showroom.  AI is being used much more to improve product search effectiveness on retailer websites and in making product recommendations than from a virtual “trying out” process.

      Lowe’s has been using VR well, in helping customers visualize what decorating a room in their house might look like (along with augmented reality technology) and North Face for the outdoor experience.  AI will certainly help with product search and IBM’s Watson AI is paving the way to improve product recommendations.  AI is just the tip of the iceberg as a lot can be said for bots and drones, which as they are starting to play a much greater role to the retail environment and logistics.

    Disruptive times call for staying attuned with consumers’ changing needs and lifestyles.  We are at the brink of the 4th industrial revolution, which will undoubtedly shape the future of many aspects of consumers’ lives, including how we shop.  Thus, the time for keeping a close eye on new technologies and innovating for the future has never been better.

    Jola Burnett is a Vice President on the Consumer Life team at GfK. She can be reached at jola.burnett@gfk.com.

    • 04/19/17
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    From “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”: How tech manufacturers can maximize the media mix

    As a marketer of durable goods, your likely mission is to build brand image, optimize your media budget and ultimately to generate profit. While that might sound like “mission impossible”, the good news is that there is a tested research technique that can help. Marketing mix modeling offers a way for marketers to successfully overcome the mounting challenges they face. In this blog, we explore four reasons why marketing mix modeling is as relevant to manufacturers of durable goods as it is to the consumer goods industry. In doing so, we will help you navigate from “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”.

    Mission one: Harness the digitization of media

    Put simply, in the digital age, there are more media channels and more connected devices. Consequently, Connected Consumers are exposed to more advertising messages than ever before. This media fragmentation makes it difficult for manufacturers to know where, when and how to reach consumers. In addition, the immediacy of the digital channel has placed more pressure on marketing campaigns to deliver short-term sales. Add to this the proven decline in consumers’ average attention span, and you have a challenge that even the Impossible Missions Force’s Ethan Hunt might be happy to see self-destruct in five seconds.

    The success of any campaign depends on getting your media mix right. In order to maximize your budget, it is essential to have accurate insights on how your ads are performing at any given moment. What you need to understand is which campaigns on which media platforms positively impact sales of your product. Marketing mix modeling evaluates the contribution of the different media channels – both online and offline – enabling you to allocate your budget so that it delivers maximum ROI.

    Mission two: Think omnichannel

    In the technical consumer goods (TCG) sector, e-commerce is an extremely important channel, and its share of sales is growing annually. According to our Point of Sales (POS) Tracking data, online accounted for 23.1% of overall sales in 2016 (see infographic). Shoppers have adopted an omnichannel approach to shopping in the TCG sector. The message couldn’t be clearer: if your products aren’t available across all channels, you are losing sales.

    Omnichannel shopping is becoming the norm across many categories

    % of shoppers reporting having shopped online and in store for a product, GfK FutureBuy, 2016

    Online has also given consumers the power to check prices and compare products. This, in turn, has amplified the importance of both the manufacturer’s and retailer’s promotional activities.

    Marketing mix modeling enables you to understand exactly which of your promotions work, providing you with the intelligence you need to support your marketing decisions. Measuring the effectiveness of your executions gives you the power to fully optimize your activity for each channel.

    Mission three: Dealing with product feature commoditization

    When technology is new, success can be built on product features. However, as tech markets mature, all brands and models become very similar. In this type of market, it becomes virtually impossible to stand out for having a “great product”. Commoditization is rife, and manufacturers and retailers must find new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

    Today’s Connected Consumers will only engage with, relate to and buy your product when they’ve had a brand experience. And they’ll only return to your brand if their experience of it was memorable. Consequently, we’re seeing the trend for marketing campaigns that focus more on product benefits and less on features spread across the globe. It is becoming more common for technology manufacturers to focus on a compelling brand experience in their advertising.

    Source: GfK Consumer Life

    A clear communications campaign is required if you are to succeed in conveying your product and brand values, and provide a memorable experience as well. Marketing mix modeling measures the sales impact of these campaigns and the media used to distribute them. It identifies the ROI for each channel and evaluates cross-media and cross-channel synergies.

    Mission four: Tackling the shorter product life cycle

    In consumer tech, the product life cycle is getting faster while the re-purchase ability slows down. At the same time, for almost all brands, advertising campaigns tend to be short-lived and focused specifically on new product launches. Ultimately, this means there is less time to deliver a margin.

    When planning your next advertising campaign, you may need to choose between investing in an intensive short-term but high-impact, high-cost TV spot versus a longer-term digital execution delivered via social networks. The commercial success or failure of your campaign may rest on this decision. This is where marketing mix modeling can provide directional insight. By providing weekly sales contributions for the different elements of your campaign, it can help you identify the most appropriate media plan to drive sales at the crucial moment. At the same time, it can also support your brand’s growth in the longer term.

    Summary: Mission accomplished

    We’ve addressed four of the key challenges faced by TCG marketers and manufacturers. Marketing mix modeling can help you understand how your above- and below-the-line marketing activities are driving your sales. We believe it is the way to accomplish your mission in today’s highly competitive global marketplace.

    Bjoern Kroog is Global Director of GfK POS Analytics. To share your thoughts, please email bjoern.kroog@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 04/19/17
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    From “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”: How tech manufacturers can maximize the media mix

    As a marketer of durable goods, your likely mission is to build brand image, optimize your media budget and ultimately to generate profit. While that might sound like “mission impossible”, the good news is that there is a tested research technique that can help. Marketing mix modeling offers a way for marketers to successfully overcome the mounting challenges they face. In this blog, we explore four reasons why marketing mix modeling is as relevant to manufacturers of durable goods as it is to the consumer goods industry. In doing so, we will help you navigate from “mission impossible” to “mission accomplished”.

    Mission one: Harness the digitization of media

    Put simply, in the digital age, there are more media channels and more connected devices. Consequently, Connected Consumers are exposed to more advertising messages than ever before. This media fragmentation makes it difficult for manufacturers to know where, when and how to reach consumers. In addition, the immediacy of the digital channel has placed more pressure on marketing campaigns to deliver short-term sales. Add to this the proven decline in consumers’ average attention span, and you have a challenge that even the Impossible Missions Force’s Ethan Hunt might be happy to see self-destruct in five seconds.

    The success of any campaign depends on getting your media mix right. In order to maximize your budget, it is essential to have accurate insights on how your ads are performing at any given moment. What you need to understand is which campaigns on which media platforms positively impact sales of your product. Marketing mix modeling evaluates the contribution of the different media channels – both online and offline – enabling you to allocate your budget so that it delivers maximum ROI.

    Mission two: Think omnichannel

    In the technical consumer goods (TCG) sector, e-commerce is an extremely important channel, and its share of sales is growing annually. According to our Point of Sales (POS) Tracking data, online accounted for 23.1% of overall sales in 2016 (see infographic). Shoppers have adopted an omnichannel approach to shopping in the TCG sector. The message couldn’t be clearer: if your products aren’t available across all channels, you are losing sales.

    Omnichannel shopping is becoming the norm across many categories

    % of shoppers reporting having shopped online and in store for a product, GfK FutureBuy, 2016

    Online has also given consumers the power to check prices and compare products. This, in turn, has amplified the importance of both the manufacturer’s and retailer’s promotional activities.

    Marketing mix modeling enables you to understand exactly which of your promotions work, providing you with the intelligence you need to support your marketing decisions. Measuring the effectiveness of your executions gives you the power to fully optimize your activity for each channel.

    Mission three: Dealing with product feature commoditization

    When technology is new, success can be built on product features. However, as tech markets mature, all brands and models become very similar. In this type of market, it becomes virtually impossible to stand out for having a “great product”. Commoditization is rife, and manufacturers and retailers must find new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

    Today’s Connected Consumers will only engage with, relate to and buy your product when they’ve had a brand experience. And they’ll only return to your brand if their experience of it was memorable. Consequently, we’re seeing the trend for marketing campaigns that focus more on product benefits and less on features spread across the globe. It is becoming more common for technology manufacturers to focus on a compelling brand experience in their advertising.

    Source: GfK Consumer Life

    A clear communications campaign is required if you are to succeed in conveying your product and brand values, and provide a memorable experience as well. Marketing mix modeling measures the sales impact of these campaigns and the media used to distribute them. It identifies the ROI for each channel and evaluates cross-media and cross-channel synergies.

    Mission four: Tackling the shorter product life cycle

    In consumer tech, the product life cycle is getting faster while the re-purchase ability slows down. At the same time, for almost all brands, advertising campaigns tend to be short-lived and focused specifically on new product launches. Ultimately, this means there is less time to deliver a margin.

    When planning your next advertising campaign, you may need to choose between investing in an intensive short-term but high-impact, high-cost TV spot versus a longer-term digital execution delivered via social networks. The commercial success or failure of your campaign may rest on this decision. This is where marketing mix modeling can provide directional insight. By providing weekly sales contributions for the different elements of your campaign, it can help you identify the most appropriate media plan to drive sales at the crucial moment. At the same time, it can also support your brand’s growth in the longer term.

    Summary: Mission accomplished

    We’ve addressed four of the key challenges faced by TCG marketers and manufacturers. Marketing mix modeling can help you understand how your above- and below-the-line marketing activities are driving your sales. We believe it is the way to accomplish your mission in today’s highly competitive global marketplace.

    Bjoern Kroog is Global Director of GfK POS Analytics. To share your thoughts, please email bjoern.kroog@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 04/13/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Sustainability and ethics: How to keep up with the fashion industry

    “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you…” – Ralph Lauren

    Nowadays, style is not only about the logo you are wearing but the values that it represents. With this in mind, fashion brands need to know their consumers more than ever before in order to connect emotionally with them. Here are the three values fashion companies must embrace to build brand perception and stay relevant in a demanding market.

    1. Sustainable fashion

    It is becoming easier to see why high end and luxury fashion brands can no longer ignore sustainability. In fact, our research (1) shows that ‘protecting the environment’ is significantly higher up on consumers’ priority list than ‘looking good’.

    As fashion consumers grow more conscious, they also tend to trust brands less, and being credible becomes an issue for all labels, everywhere. Our data also indicates how informed and serious about environmental and social issues consumers have become over the past decade. This is no longer ‘fringe’ behavior but a market-wide opportunity.

    2. Ethical initiatives

    Indeed, we have witnessed many brands evolving and communicating their efforts in making their production more eco-friendly and respectful of fair-trade. It is an important evolution in the history of fashion, which until recently was characterized by a “fast fashion era”, resulting in too many articles of clothing produced that become obsolete within weeks.

    It is the younger generations who are mainly to thank for this move, thus, we are observing a new age in which fashion consumers will tend to focus their spending on quality over quantity, piling less in their wardrobe.

    As a reaction to this, fashion companies are compelled to become more transparent when it comes to how their clothes are made.

    We can see how the leading fashion industry environmental group, MADE-BY, has helped make it happen. The organisation, along with major UK companies like Ted Baker, worked together on individual sustainability programmes, helping them to reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals in their production, and increase the integration of  organic materials.

    3. Recycled is the new “en-vogue”

    Now that the bloggers, critics and other public faces of fashion have taken to promoting what’s good for the planet, for consumers, and for the companies’ employees, the high-end and luxury fashion companies made sure to follow the trend:

    • Hermes created “Le petit h”, which consists of creative pieces and accessories only made from the left-over materials from other bags, scarves, etc.
    • Adidas has launched a collection being marketed as designed to “help to clean up the Earth’s oceans” by using the waste floating around the world to make their footwear. Whilst 7,000 pairs of the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley were planned, the three-stripes brand says it wants to produce more.

    Examples of these initiatives are numerous, and many start-ups followed their lead, creating a range of niche products, from salmon-skinned wallets to shirts of polyester from recycled drink bottles.

    Conclusion

    The world of fashion is powerful, and a close eye is being kept on its actions. It’s essential for brands to understand not only the role of sustainability within the decision making process of consumers, but also to explore their attitudes and behaviors. The question is, how do today’s connected consumers build brand perception and how can brands stay relevant in this demanding market?

    (1) Research taken from GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports©), global annual survey of consumer of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

    Tiphaine Nilias is a Research Manager at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email tiphaine.nilias@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

    • 04/12/17
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Why these 5 tech trends have game-changing potential for brands

    Connected Consumers live in a constantly evolving world, where emerging new technology has the potential to impact everything we do.  Each year brings exciting new products and iterations which promise to revolutionize everything from transportation to retail to entertainment.

    For 2017, we’ve identified five of the hottest and most important tech trends that have the potential to become widely adopted in the mass market.

    1. Mobile payments

    Many Connected Consumers may have experienced the act of physically paying for something using their mobile device, yet most would be reluctant to go fully cashless or card-less on a trip to the store.  And despite the many convenient benefits that mobile payments offer, security concerns remain a unanimous deterrent.

    However, retailers that take advantage of mobile payments with a branded app have a unique opportunity to bolster loyalty by improving the shopping and check out process as well as utilizing rewards and customized product offers based on user data.  Younger consumers especially are more willing to agree to share their personal data in exchange for value in return.  Retailers and brands not offering mobile payments are currently missing out on this unique opportunity.

    If we look to the Asia Pacific region (and China in particular) which is several years ahead of the western world, mobile payments are widely accepted by merchants and retailers alike.  Will an improved retail experience lead to mobile payment adoption?  This year could provide the answer.

    View our free mobile payments infographic

    2. Virtual and augmented reality

    Last year saw the release of several new virtual reality products, with PlayStation VR being the most desired device among consumers, followed by the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets.  Already appealing for its implications to the gaming and entertainment industry, VR and AR have the potential to reach the next level by expanding into other industries, from shopping to traveling to education and healthcare.

    With growing consumer interest and big investors like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, the key for the future of VR will be in understanding and meeting the needs of consumers, and incorporating VR into their personal and professional lives.  While price and safety concerns are minor obstacles towards adoption, continual improvements to the VR user experience will cause demand to grow.  As more industries seek to maximize the power of VR, this year is an exciting time and could prove to be a turning point which sees the technology approach mass market status.

     

    View our free virtual reality infographic

    3. Smart home

    There’s no shortage of products in the smart home market, with many Connected Consumers’ households already equipped with smart TVs.  But other home based devices are still catching on, and face several barriers before they meet the hype that has been circulating around smart home technology.

    The various benefits that smart home products provide appeal to different demographics, so clearly communicating them to the right consumer groups will go a long way towards encouraging adoption.  For example, home safety, security and reducing utility costs are important to Gen X-ers and Boomers, while Millennials are interested in having the latest technology as well as the environmental benefits that it can offer.

    With many Millennials (and especially the older Gen Y group) set to become home owners in the coming years, they are a key target group with a large proportion of Leading Edge Consumers that could be influential to others.  As seen with the successful recent launch of Amazon Echo, whose voice interface provides an intuitive and easy fit into people’s lives, a simple and seamless user experience is an absolute necessity for products in the smart home category.

     

    View our free smart home infographic

    4. Autonomous vehicles

    While automakers and tech companies are hard at work to realize the vision of the self-driving car, there are still several years to go before they start occupying the roads.  At the moment, too many unanswered logistical questions exist around autonomous vehicles, but there is no denying their appeal, especially with younger consumers.

    With widespread adoption predicted to begin around 2025, there is no doubt that autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize transportation and the auto industry, but the technology is still currently in its infancy.  The key to success will be matching the evolving technology with consumers’ needs, while prioritizing public safety and established protocols for drivers and passengers.

     

    View our free autonomous vehicles infographic

    5. Wearables

    The market for wearables, while enjoying healthy growth, has not lived up to the tech industry’s expectations so far.  Heralded as the next big tech item, early smartwatches didn’t quite reach mass market success, appealing mostly to early adopters and Leading Edge Consumers.

    As wearable devices evolve and designer brands begin to introduce more attractively designed offerings at varied price points, we expect to see an increase in consumer interest.  But retailers and manufacturers must understand the real-life uses of wearables and continue to tap into the trend of health and fitness monitoring.  Only then will wearables be able to reach the next level.

     

    View our free wearables infographic

    Conclusion

    This year could be a key turning point for many technologies on the verge of taking off, but new pairings of products and technology must deliver on consumers’ expectations to meet the hype.  For a true revolution to happen, brands must focus on enhancing the lives of Connected Consumers while alleviating their concerns that continue to be roadblocks to mass adoption.

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  • E-commerce increases its share of TCG sales in Europe
    • 04/05/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    E-commerce increases its share of TCG sales in Europe

    Take a look at our 'E-commerce continues to grow in Europe' infographic for more information on online/offline sales on product group and country level.

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