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    • 03/15/17
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    How to leverage consumers’ current travel sentiments

    Currently, there is indeed a heightened consumer awareness around travel, notably with much of the conversation in the US focused on travel bans and increased airport security.  There is no denying that safety is on the forefront of consumers’ minds – 61% of Americans agree that they are “always concerned about their safety and security”, according to a recent study from GfK Consumer Life.

    But how does this affect consumers and their attitudes and behaviors towards travel?  Travel is actually one of the last things that Americans are willing to give up – only behind their mobile phones (and ahead of other indulgences including dining out, out-of-home entertainment, and hobbies).  In fact nearly three-quarters of Americans have traveled for leisure in the past 12 months (60% of those by plane).  It is probably safe to assume that at least a similar number would like to continue to do so in the future.

    Building on experiences

    Rising personal values of consumers that include learning, open-mindedness and internationalism suggest that Americans are open to new experiences when it comes to travel.  In addition, 63% of Americans agree that they ‘always like to experience local culture and foods’.  Concurrently, industry trends show that international travel was up 6% in 2016 vs. 2015.

    How does this reconcile with the current shakeups within the travel industry?  Well one particular case is that advancements in technology are allowing for consumers to experience travel like never before.  The evolving wants and needs of the connected consumer continue to push for new innovations in travel.

    Incorporating relaxation

    Prioritizing experiences does not necessarily mean everyone is looking to go the backpacking-rugged-adventurous route.  R&R is also sought after – 54% (+6 pts from 2012) of Americans prefer a vacation where they can relax and take it easy (vs. only 38% looking for “active” vacations where they can do/see a lot of things).  This can probably be attributed to the increased stresses of life today – stress levels have hit an all-time high by some metrics (54% of Americans feel stressed at least once or twice a week, the highest point since GfK started tracking more than two decades ago).

    This can have implications across a wide range of categories – from food to technology to wellness… anything that will help them unwind during their travels.

    Opportunity: The appeal of business travelers

    One consumer target that can be especially attractive is the business traveler, with their overall affluence and spending tendencies (along with the notion that they probably would be less affected by any changes in consumer sentiment around travel, since it is tied to their careers). About one in five Americans have traveled for business in the past 12 months.  Priorities of course shift – work takes precedence and companies typically handle expenses.  So it comes as no surprise that 75% have stayed at hotels/accommodations rated at 4-stars or higher (+29 pts from the average traveler).  And proper sleep clearly is more important – 71% of business travelers agree that they need to sleep really well (+13 pts from the average traveler).

    Other opportunity areas that resonate with the business traveler include: health (80% actively look for health products/services, +13 pts from average travelers); technology (61% say they are passionate about tech, +28 pts); and small indulgences (81% look for novelty/fun in everyday products, +17 pts).

    Conclusion

    The recent dialogue within the travel space seems to suggest increased consumer anxiety. Yet brands and companies should not let that be a deterrent – travel is still a mainstay within Americans’ lives.  Both new experiences and relaxation can be drawn upon to give consumers true pleasures in their travels – while business travelers continue to have strong appeal across many facets.

    Mihir Bhatt is a Senior Consultant on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at mihir.bhatt@gfk.com.

  • GfK at European Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) Summit
    • 03/10/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    03/29/17 - 03/30/17
    GfK at European Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) Summit

    The European TCG Summit is the leading international retail conference with an exclusive focus on TCG retail.

    • 03/09/17
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    How to define engaging experiences in self-driving cars

    Autonomous vehicles have the potential to disrupt everything we know about driving. Earlier this year, I attended a panel discussion regarding the advancements in autonomous driving at the 2017 Consumer and Electronics Show (CES). One conclusion from this session was that it is no longer a question of “if”, but “when” autonomous vehicles will become part of our lives.

    A blank canvas for auto manufacturers

    With no need for a steering wheel, accelerator, or brake pedals, the interior of a car becomes a blank canvas. So, how will companies shape this canvas while keeping the user at the forefront?

    For example, if a passenger wanted to work on their commute, a car could be customized into an office space with a desk and internet connection. Prefer to relax and recharge after a long day? A car could offer features like a massage chair or a big screen TV. And, in the case of ridesharing, a different car could be called up to fit the user’s mood. The car has the potential to become a “third-space”, a space to be used for more than a way to get to where you are going.

    Understanding the types of experiences consumers want

    UX research methods such as ethnography will help manufacturers understand what types of experiences consumers want to have in-car, and how to deliver them in a way that engages and delights. Ethnography helps designers, engineers, and researchers build empathy by taking them out of the lab and placing them in real world situations users face every day.

    We employ this approach to uncover insights while observing common tasks side-by-side with participants. This method uncovers behaviors and insights that wouldn’t be revealed in any other form of research, and allows us to truly see the world from the user’s perspective. These insights allow us to develop use-case scenarios and solutions that are both nuanced and relevant.

    Standing apart as the landscape evolves

    As the autonomous vehicle landscape evolves, manufacturers who are able to create truly exceptional in-car experiences will stand apart. The first step to delivering exceptional consumer experiences is understanding what consumers expect and need – and how they should be delivered. Through direct observation, ethnography has the power to uncover this. The question is, which auto manufacturer will be the first to get it right?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 03/07/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Why consumer behavior and digital convergence matter for electronics manufacturers

    Since the mid-nineties, digitalization has ensured a regular boom in the tech industry. Many new products, applications and services have succeeded in massively boosting the use of the latest technology at ever lower prices.

    At the same time, consumer behavior has changed fundamentally due to the ubiquitous and unlimited access to the internet, social media and networking between content and hardware. In a relatively short period of time, the high demand for smartphones and smart TVs has drastically and sustainably reversed the use and distribution of music and television or film.

    However, the development of digital products has not only characterized consumer behavior, but has also been the source of some convergence of hardware. In many cases today a smartphone replaces the MP3 player, the navigation device, the photo camera or the tablet and the credit card, the fitness tracker and much more thanks to ever-increasing screen sizes and advanced technology.

    Structural change in the multimedia sector

    The market for multimedia products is now in a deep crisis as measured by demand. The high demand of the past years has led to strong market saturation, so the manufacturer has had to foot the bill for the end customers the past two years.

    On the one hand, a large number of devices are only in the middle of their service life, which means that the consumer often does not see any additional use or buy-in for a replacement purchase due to small or even poorly communicated innovations in conventional products.

    Even for 2017, the bottom is still not reached. The prospects for recovery are low, with a noticeable, structural change in the sector.

    Smart TV dominated CES

    The groundbreaking annual CES fair in Las Vegas produced a glimmer of hope at the beginning of the year with the industry presenting a large number of innovations. The focus, however, was once again on smart televisions with bigger and better pictures.

    The TV market is, of course, an essential part of the entire multimedia business and the decline in sales recorded in recent years is indeed striking. Whether the presented innovations can stimulate the saturated TV market in the short term, however, is questionable.

    All-in-one smartphone

    The driver in the multimedia area is undoubtedly the smartphone. The steady growth was attributable to the penetration, which had not yet been exhausted, as well as the product innovations up to 2015 and 2016. The turnover in this area was only partially compensated for by other declining multimedia categories.

    In the future, the opposite will probably be the case despite advances in new devices with higher battery operation times. The trend of growth could decline in the future as a result of the lower subsidies by the telecom providers as well as the often achieved marginal use.

    Unsteady photo market

    The whole photo and video area is almost right in the free fall, as the smartphone increasingly replaces the classic camera with increasingly better camera functions.

    As CES 2017 showed, the innovations and visions of the industry are likely to hit the market again in many places with new perspectives. Particularly interesting are 360-degree film cameras in combination with VR glasses, as well as compact film drones in addition or as a replacement to Actioncams.

    Renaissance in audio

    As far as the sound is concerned, high-quality audio seems to be experiencing a renaissance. Thanks to high resolution audio, sound quality is coming back to the forefront for consumers. Both audio-players and headphones in the highest resolution promise an unprecedented sound experience and bring the music lover into completely new spheres. This kind of innovation not only enhances the quality of the sound world, but also creates new, desirable products in the market.

    At the same time, the audio-home market is benefiting from unbroken demand in the streaming and multi-room segments, which grew by 8 percent in value and 5 percent in value respectively. This trend will continue to grow as a result of continuous development and new suppliers.

    Taking a chance on the smart home

    The smart home has become an ever-present catchword at CES. The term is as broad as it is incomprehensible, but everyone seems to be able to imagine something related to home networking. The range of products and innovations also take into account the primary need for safety, energy management and control of all possible household appliances and equipment.

    The challenge of the manufacturers is to offer the consumer simple and reliable products, which can be installed and operated easily and intuitively at an affordable price. A simple communication of the benefits and understandable advertising play an equally important role.

    Conclusion

    The recent changes in consumer behavior have presented a number of challenges and opportunities for electronics manufacturers. The convergence of hardware has made many products obsolete and led to structural changes in the sector. The markets for smart TVs and phones face growth challenges, while innovative products in the visual and audio segments are opening up new opportunities for established players. The smart home remains a mystery and presents maybe the biggest opportunity, with consumers showing interest but lacking understanding of products in that segment.

    Luca Giuriato is a Senior Market Manager at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email luca.giuriato@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

  • Optimize your retail leaflet promotions to deliver greater ROI
    • 03/07/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Optimize your retail leaflet promotions to deliver greater ROI

    With a few key considerations, you can optimize your leaflet promotions to deliver greater ROI. Take a look at our 'Creating effective leaflet promotions: Top five factors' infographic'.

    • 03/02/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Vehicle features and the importance of having the latest driver technology

    While safety, reliability, fuel economy and low running costs top the list of what people see as being ‘very important’ in a vehicle, over a third (36%) of those surveyed online rank having the latest driver technology in the same regards.  Driver technology includes steering or parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and keyless entry or ignition.

    Over a quarter (28%) of the online population also ranked having the latest passenger technology, which includes audio or video streaming and social network connectivity, as ‘very important’ to them.

    Where driver and passenger technology is most important

    Out of the 17 countries surveyed, Brazil, China and Korea have the highest percentages overall of people saying that the latest driver technology is ‘very important’ to them.

    China, Brazil and Mexico, meanwhile, have the highest percentages of people rating the latest passenger technology as ‘very important’.

    “The value of these findings for vehicle manufacturers lies in being able to assess precisely which features different consumer segments say appeal most to them – and adjust marketing content and product development to match those aspirations”, said Global Head of Automotive Research, Siegfried Hoegl. “By combining this attitudinal data with analysis of actual sales across different markets and consumer segments, or insights from running in-depth car clinics, we help our clients to fine-tune their customer insights to the maximum extent – both globally and at country specific level.”

    Vehicle technology importance and the role of income

    A notable difference in the responses was found when breaking down the results by income. In the highest income range (the top quarter of the total income in each country), 44% see the latest driver technology as ‘very important’, compared to the bottom quarter income band, which had 30%.  A similar dip was seen across income quartiles for the importance of passenger technology as well.

    In fact, income had an effect on what people see as important for a range of features, including the quality of workmanship, a comfortable and spacious interior, a powerful engine and the reputation of the manufacturer.  However, other areas such as the fuel economy and environmental friendliness had much more even results across income ranges.

    About the study

    GfK conducted the online survey with over 22,000 consumers aged 15 or older across 17 countries. Fieldwork was completed in summer 2016. Data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population aged 15+ in each market. 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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  • How to win the 2017 shopper
    • 03/02/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    How to win the 2017 shopper

    Consumers tell us that they shop using both online and offline channels for different but complementary reasons. Take a look at our infographic and discover "How to win the 2017 shopper".

    • 03/01/17
    • Health
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Mobile health: What you need to know to keep up with evolving consumer needs

    Google launched its much anticipated Android Wearable 2.0 watch platform earlier this month, with improved fitness tracking a focal point.  The move follows a similar push from Apple last fall when the smartwatch leader made health and fitness front and center for its latest wrist wearables.

    This focus on health makes a great deal of sense for smartwatch marketers, as mobile health is an area of burgeoning consumer interest and immense market opportunities. According to data from GfK Consumer Life,  about three in ten Americans (29%) today monitor their health and fitness using an online or mobile app or through a fitness band, clip or smartwatch. And nearly half (46%) of those who don’t are interested in future adoption. Health tracking and monitoring is by far the top activity, not only for fitness trackers but for smartwatches in general, and it’s the only feature that truly sets smartwatches apart from smartphones in the consumer’s mind – at least for now.

    While the demand for mobile health solutions is gathering steam, consumer needs are also evolving. Our research reveals opportunity areas that point to the future direction of mobile health.

    Gamify to motivate

    While consumers recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many struggle to follow through with action. The persistent, wide gap between health attitudes and behaviors signals the need for products that help consumers stay motivated and make behavioral change more attainable.

    For many, digital health is seen as the clear solution for motivation. Indeed, motivating oneself to exercise and eat healthy is a top reason why Americans use digital health solutions today. It’s an even more compelling driver for future adoption.

    While tracking progress itself can help motivate behaviors, opportunities go well beyond basic quantification. The sensational success of Pokémon Go as an accidental fitness facilitator last summer is a testament to the power of gamification. The likes of Apple and Fitbit are also betting on gamification in the form of competition with friends, families and other users to encourage engagement.

    Move beyond quantification to personalized coaching

    Data without insights has limited benefits. People who used to track their health and fitness but no longer do so tend to cite ‘not knowing what to do with the information collected’ as a reason for diminished interest. Ultimately, quantification should be the means, not the end result of health solutions.

    As mobile health matures, we can expect consumer demand to move beyond self-quantifying for actionable insights and real-time, personalized coaching to accomplish real results. Already, over a quarter of Leading Edge Consumers[1] (vs. 16% of all adults) have received customized, data-based advice about their physical or mental health online, via an app or wearable devices in the past month.

    Data accuracy and privacy present challenges and opportunities

    The accuracy of Fitbit was questioned last spring in a public way when the company faced a class-action lawsuit. The accusation perhaps didn’t come across as a shocker to many consumers. Almost four in ten Americans admit they are skeptical about the data accuracy of health trackers and other wearables, according to a recent GfK Consumer Life survey.

    Data privacy is another area of heightened consumer concerns and a major barrier to the adoption of digital tracking solutions. The expectations for data accuracy and security will only rise as mobile health becomes more integrated with healthcare. While these concerns may present challenges to device makers and service providers, those well-positioned on these fronts can also score a true advantage.

    The future of integrated health management

    Consumers’ health needs are complex and multi-faceted. The demand for weight management continues to soar as obesity rates reach new highs. The importance of mental health is ever more top of mind in a high-stress world. An aging population is driving the rise of chronic conditions that require constant management.

    Current digital health solutions tend to be lifestyle focused and track fitness, diet, sleep and stress separately. The progression of the industry, technology and consumer demand should propel the emergence of integrated solutions that synthesize various types of data (both medical and lifestyle) from multiple sources for holistic health management. For instance, if your fitness band knows that you had a poor night’s sleep, it may suggest that a heavy dinner the night before was to blame and recommend lighter meals or taking a walk after dinner to remedy the situation.

    In summary, mobile health is a space of exciting opportunities, but also one evolving with growing competition and raised expectations. To fully capitalize on this market, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and on top of emerging needs. In particular, personalization, security and integration will become more of an industry mandate than they have in the past.

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

    [1] GfK’s proprietary Leading Edge Consumers (LEC) segmentation identifies consumers most likely to be early adopters and influencers in a given category.

  • Tech Trends 2017
    • 03/01/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Tech Trends 2017

    Wearables, mobile payments, smart homes or augmented reality, all make the list in this year’s ultimate Tech Trends guide. Watch our video.

  • Five Tech Trends you can’t afford to ignore in 2017
    • 03/01/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Tech Trends
    • Global
    • English

    Five Tech Trends you can’t afford to ignore in 2017

    The pace of change driven by new technologies never slows. For our latest thinking on how five key trends will impact Connected Consumers now and next, explore our full Tech Trends 2017 report

  • Tech Trends 2017 - Virtual and augmented reality
    • 03/01/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Tech Trends
    • Global
    • English

    Tech Trends 2017 - Virtual and augmented reality

    2017 is set to be a turning point for virtual reality (VR). Download our infographic and get key facts why 2017 will be the prime time for virtual and augmented reality.

  • Tech Trends 2017 - Wearables
    • 03/01/17
    • Connected Consumer
    • Tech Trends
    • Global
    • English

    Tech Trends 2017 - Wearables

    Manufacturers and retailers need to understand real-life wearable users to increase appeal. Download our infographic and find out where the market for wearables is headed in 2017.

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