I must admit that I find the term “mobile wallet” a little silly. After all, wallets have always been mobile, right? At the same time, I am not at all averse to the idea of making transactions with my phone. I’m getting the hang of accessing coupons in stores, and I felt pretty cool the first time I got into the movies by having the ticket-taker scan my phone. I’m sure I will continue to move in this direction, although I consider myself mainstream rather than an early adopter in the area of financial technology (aka FinTech).
Pundits have been talking about the pros and cons of mobile wallets for several years now. Overall, these payment systems still face obstacles and adoption has been slow. Only 22 percent of American mobile phone users regularly pay for products by scanning, tapping, or passing their devices in stores, according to recent research conducted by GfK Consumer Life 2016.
At the same time, other types of digital payment are entering the playing field, such as the UPI system introduced in India last year, which moves funds directly from the consumer’s financial account to the merchant’s without a middleman. India will be an important market to watch in terms of the shakeout among digital payment systems following demonetization. Indeed, developing markets such as India and Nigeria will be testing grounds for FinTech in general, as indicated by the growing use of biometric identification ranging from fingerprints to facial recognition and palm veins.
The AmazonGo concept, currently in test mode in Seattle (where else?) goes beyond the financial transaction itself to tackle other deterrents of in-store shopping. The idea is this: You scan your phone as you enter the store and go along your merry way grabbing the items you want. Then you walk out of the store, and your Amazon account is automatically charged for your purchase.
Some may like the idea of avoiding checkout lines or the need to swipe/insert/tap/scan their payment device of choice and wait for approval. But what tickles my fancy is the prospect of cutting a couple of steps out of the usual tedious process of putting things in a cart, taking them out of the cart, putting them back in the cart, putting them in the car and taking them out of the car.
If this idea catches on, I will be on board with it much faster than I am with self-checkout, which I personally find no improvement over regular checkout aisles. In the case of AmazonGo, the potential is not merely a streamlined financial transaction, but a streamlined shopping experience.
Ultimately, consumers will adopt FinTech to the extent that it makes their lives easier. Being different for novelty’s sake will only draw in the earliest adopters; the rest of us need to be sold on more practical benefits.
The household appliance industry has been particularly impacted by rapid-evolving technology and Connected Consumer innovations. Our user experience (UX) researchers and designers are fortunate to see and test many cool-looking prototypes that integrate these innovations before they hit the market. While we draw some of our insights from UX best practices and years of experience in UX design of appliances, having a set of benchmarks in our arsenal makes recommendations that much more powerful.
We have integrated a UX measurement tool in household appliance research over several years resulting in a robust benchmark database. A scientifically-validated tool, the UX Score offers holistic insight by combining pragmatic usability aspects (learnability, operability) with hedonic qualities such as usefulness (identification, stimulation) and look and feel; this results in a score that can be compared to competitor products, different versions of the product, or, in the case of household appliances, benchmarked for the category. Our database includes years of global research covering diverse product categories from cooktops to freezers.
While the overall benchmark UX Score for household appliances indicates a good user experience through its relatively high value (about 5 on a scale from 1=low to 6=high), researchers are likely familiar with the following situation: A consumer is excited about a new idea and design, but once they attempt to use it, the disappointment surfaces. So we must dive deeper into the individual dimensions of the UX Score.
Here we see the mean benchmark values by dimension for the UX Score of household appliances.
Mean benchmark values of each dimension including overall benchmark (orange line) for household appliances
In the “inspiration” and “look and feel” dimensions, we see high benchmark values compared to the overall benchmark line. This is fostered by continuous innovations through new functionalities that show a stimulating effect on the product experience as well as the high-quality impression.
The more pragmatic “operability” dimension represents the lowest value by comparison. The location of features and information do not conform to consumer expectations. The “learnability” dimension value is also reduced – a catchy and intuitive usage of household appliances is limited.
Based on this benchmark data and UX best practices, we have established three tips for household appliance manufacturers to improve the user experience of their products:
As household appliance innovations continue to evolve, the strengths (hedonic qualities) seem to be well-considered. To address the category weaknesses like operability and learnability, appliance manufacturers should apply a holistic user experience design process to keep classic usability aspects top of mind.
Lena Tetzlaff is a User Experience Consultant at GfK. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.
Released in its entirety on November 4, 2016 and reported to have cost around £100m to produce, The Crown is one of the most ambitious projects that Netflix has taken on to date.
A 10 part original series (essentially a biopic) about Queen Elizabeth II, recounting her life from the royal wedding in 1947, right up to the present day, the show has been celebrated by all sides of the media, frequently being described as “faultless”, “magnificent”, “engaging” and “gripping”.
So what do we know so far about The Crown’s first few weeks on the service? Firstly, amongst our sample of Netflix users, The Crown was the top streamed title on Netflix in November 2016, showing that the release has been heavily streamed amongst users. But what was driving users to the show? Sheer curiosity or perhaps something else?
30% of Netflix users said they watched The Crown because it was recommended to them by someone, or simply because it looked and sounded interesting. However, a third of users also said that they had watched the series because it featured in the ‘recently added’ section of the service, and half also claimed that external advertising had influenced their viewing choice.
It is clear that Netflix were determined for this to succeed – not only was the show expensive to produce, but campaign spend across all media for The Crown was one of the highest of 2016 ensuring that the investment would not be appreciated by just users, but also reach and appeal to a wider audience.
Finally, in November, compared with the rest of 2016, a higher proportion of respondents say they signed up to Netflix in order to watch exclusive content not available elsewhere. However, the jury is still out as to whether The Crown itself was driving this. Early indications are that it attracted existing users to view rather than acted as a drive to sign up new ones.
In its first month of release, the demographic profile of those watching The Crown has shown some interesting results. Firstly, a fifth of the show’s viewers are aged 55+. This is a slightly higher proportion of older users watching than for Netflix content overall and also in contrast to new releases such as Stranger Things, which primarily attracted a younger audience within its first few weeks of release. It does highlight the strength of Netflix’s commissioning policy, allowing them to target different types of viewers by commissioning shows with differing demographic appeal.
When asked why they started watching the title in the first place, respondents mostly indicated that it was because they had a general interest in the Queen or the Monarchy or because they wanted to find out more about this period of time in British history. But what is remarkable is how few people said they started watching the title because of the A-list cast that has been employed (Claire Foy and Matt Smith both star), or because of the quality of the production for the title, further demonstrating that this title was perhaps designed to target an audience of lighter viewers less engaged by marquee names and more by the program content.
Defining a success when talking about Netflix titles can be difficult. If we look at overall content ratings, The Crown performed well. When asked to rate the show on a scale of 1 to 10, The Crown achieved an average score of 9.0 which is higher than all Netflix titles that score an average of 8.7. Compared to other recent celebrated titles, such as Stranger Things, Making a Murderer and Narcos, The Crown achieves relatively similar levels of satisfaction.
Furthermore, when we look at whether viewers are likely to recommend this title to others (again on a scale of 1 to 10), it scores in line with Netflix Originals on average, but slightly lower when compared to recent releases. So in terms of satisfaction and recommendation, The Crown can be called a success, but perhaps more was expected from this title, given the scale of investment into the show.
Overall though, The Crown can be considered a success. Critics and viewers have both celebrated the show, and early data is indicating that the title is both driving viewing as well as appealing to a lighter viewing audience demographic for Netflix. Furthermore, exposure for the SVOD service has also increased due to positive press attention and increased marketing activity. Content producers like the BBC and ITV must have taken notice at the bigger financial bets Netflix are prepared to make to increase their audience shares, which must ultimately leave them slightly nervous about the future, and fortifying Netflix’s position as a serious threat to such traditional players in the media landscape.
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2016 was another banner year for Connected Consumers, who saw a number of new technologies emerge in a variety of categories across the marketplace. Virtually every industry is adapting to a customer base that is becoming increasingly connected, changing the way they have conversations and relationships with brands. But new connected products and services do not come without their challenges, which typically revolve around user experience and consumer awareness.
Connected consumers of today are changing the existing value system and harnessing technology to reinvent themselves, their lives and their communities. And the three key drivers of these changes are freedom, acceleration and intimacy. It is obvious that trends in technology are growing and expanding rapidly… so, how can you maximize the opportunities that Connected Consumers offer?
In the smart home category, there’s no shortage of offerings available, but the adoption of smart home products has been pedestrian thus far. Our global study indicates that the appeal is there, but the benefits need to be more clearly communicated to consumers, who lack familiarity with the smart home category. To find success, product developers must understand the varying needs in specific markets and communicate how smart home technology can seamlessly enhance the lives of consumers.
The travel and hospitality industry is getting smarter. Invisible analytics, wearables, virtual reality and other technologies are revolutionizing the way that people research, shop for and experience travel. From smart hotels to sporting events and music festivals, the connected traveler is able to unlock the world as they go, providing travel brands with new ways to engage them. But disruptive competition and an overcrowded marketplace remain common roadblocks. In the quest for customer loyalty, the companies that take a holistic view of each step of the purchase journey will be successful in understanding and anticipating market developments.
In the Future of Retail, shopping isn’t all digital. Connected Consumers still embrace the role of the store, shopping as much for an experience as for a product. But online shopping offers another dimension, where Connected Consumers can compare prices and don’t have to wait in line to make a purchase. Successful retailers will combine the positive facets from both channels, streamlining online shopping while also delivering on the promise of the in-store experience.
While retailers experiment with omnichannel shopping, fashion and lifestyle brands are experiencing a revolution of their own. Whether a pure online player, a local hero or a traditional fashion retail chain, it is vital to understand how consumers are changing in order to anticipate and prepare for the next season and beyond. New paths to purchase have opened the door for competition, expanding the fight for customer loyalty to new frontiers. Making sure your brand can be found and amplifying it with social media are ways to take control of the shopper’s purchase journey, but don’t forget the crucial role of the store.
Financial services are another category being revolutionized by Connected Consumers. From mobile payments to digital banking, Connected Consumers demand that their financial institutions are proactive and transparent. Connected devices will play a key role in the future of payments, but players in the market must establish and communicate the importance of data security to build trust before adoption truly takes off.
Broadcast and print media has gone digital too, changing the way that Connected Consumers experience content and the devices they experience it on. Media measurement is now more complicated than ever, with cross-device usage varying between markets and sociodemographics. Programmatic advertising allows brands to deliver messages that resonate by building a single customer view that puts individual consumers at the center of marketing.
From brick and mortar stores to online shopping, and from inside the home to travels abroad, connected devices are changing the way that we see and interact with the world. However, for innovation to truly thrive, Connected Consumers must be put at the heart of the connected revolution.
What every brand needs to know
With more than a third (38%) of consumers globally concerned about having enough money to “live right” and pay the bills, and almost the same proportion (37%) worried about inflation and higher prices, it’s perhaps not surprising that saving money is a top priority for many shoppers.1
However, our FutureBuy 20162 study shows that this is particularly true for those who shop online compared to in-store (52% vs. 26%). If we look closer still, we see that searching for the best price online is common practice regardless of age group. It seems we’re all “smart shopping”, from Millennials to Baby Boomers.
Recent economic uncertainties have changed consumers’ definition of value. They’re reassessing and redefining what products and services justify a premium. Our most recent Roper Report study, which covers 27 countries, shows that almost a quarter (23%) of consumers would pay more for a product that makes their life easier, for example. But value is also associated with the actual process of shopping. By being shrewd, shoppers can obtain the best deal for a product. There is value in getting a deal, but there is also value in feeling like a savvy or “smart” shopper.
Our FutureBuy 2016 study shows that consumers are shopping smarter, with an increasing number of them indicating that they are checking store circulars for deals/coupons, comparing the prices of stores, and researching products online more than they did a year ago.
A growing number of consumers are also using the internet to find and purchase products more than they did a year ago. Online channels bring transparency to the shopping experience, which could explain this trend. With a choice of online and offline shopping channels, almost two thirds (63%) of consumers indicate that they are learning how to shop more efficiently than before. And a similar proportion (62%) feel more in control than ever before when choosing the best products to buy.
The transparency of online shopping has generated two phenomena and further challenges to retailers’ pricing strategies: showrooming (the act of checking out a product in a physical store and then buying it online from a different retailer) and webrooming (the act of checking out a product online and then buying it in-store). Although these previously growing trends (showrooming and webrooming) have stabilized in the past year, they are here to stay. One quarter of all respondents practice showrooming in their journey whilst equal number of respondents (ca. 25%) webroom.
The impact of these trends on consumers’ shopping habits marks the death knell of dynamic pricing strategies, whereby near identical products are sold to different consumers at different prices. Today’s consumers, as we’ve identified, are price savvy. 61% (up from 58% in 2015) indicate that it’s important to them that the price of an item is the same whether they buy it online or in-store. Although some shoppers are prepared to pay more for convenience and to accept price differentials between channels on this basis, we don’t believe this will be the case in the future. And with the ability to air their dissatisfaction with a retailer via social media just a few clicks away for today’s Connected Consumer, woe betide any retailer who ignores such shifts in shoppers’ attitudes.
The picture painted by these findings makes clear the enormous challenges to retailers’ pricing strategies brought about by the convergence of offline and online shopping. The transparency created by the online shopping channel means that consumers simply won’t accept paying a different price for the same product based on where they buy it. Pricing intelligence is currently used more often by retailers to ensure competitiveness and it is proving effective, but it will never replace a well-thought-through pricing strategy and positioning. Indeed, with the rise of “smart shopping” we could see a new retail battleground emerging soon.
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1GfK Roper Reports Worldwide Market Brief: Germany, 2015; 27 countries
2GfK FutureBuy 2016, an online survey with 20,000 consumers 18+ in 20 countries across key categories (FMCG, services, consumer durables, automotive, toys, apparel, home improvement, home and garden, furniture etc.)
The world of consumer technology has steadily moved toward an ecosystem model over the last few years; whereby a single manufacturer has created an interconnected set of devices touching upon several facets of a consumer’s life, from communication to entertainment to housework.
For manufacturers of these devices, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. If a manufacturer is able to lock in a consumer with one device, for example a smartphone, they have the potential to influence a myriad of future purchases, from wearables, TVs, and laptops, to big-ticket items, like home appliances, home automation systems, and even vehicles.
The further you dive into a particular device ecosystem, the harder it is to switch to something else. For example, if someone purchases an Android phone and later finds themselves in the market for a smartwatch, they’ll logically opt for an Android Wear watch. Once it’s time to purchase a new car, they might then decide on a car with Android Auto to get the most out of the connected features of both their phone and car. Then when it’s a year later and it’s time to upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone, the most logical route is to get another Android phone since it’s guaranteed to still be compatible with their watch and car.
This is why it is so important to have a well thought out and engaging device to grab users’ attention and lock them in early.
The phrase from a few years ago was “killer app” to describe that one great app that encouraged people to buy a given smartphone. In the age of the device ecosystem, it’s the “killer device” – that one perfect device that draws people in and (hopefully) generates the loyalty needed to keep users coming back to the same manufacturer for all of their other devices.
Creating that killer device is no easy feat and is often the end-result of lots of planning and hitting the market at just the right time. Part of this planning though is ensuring that the device is not only easy to use but fun to use, and this is where user testing becomes so important. Because the difference between a good user experience and a great user experience can mean the difference between a consumer buying a manufacturer’s product once and moving on and a consumer buying a product and becoming locked in as a customer for life.
Ryan Carney is a Senior Lead UX Specialist at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email Ryan.Carney@gfk.com.
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Latest research from GfK into the UK’s OTT viewing habits has revealed surprisingly low audience numbers on mobile devices. It seems that watching subscription video content on Netflix, Amazon and Now TV is, for now, most definitely an in-home entertainment experience.
How can you attract the attention and influence the purchasing decisions of savvy Leading Edge Consumers? Find the answer in our infographic!
Our GfK Point of Sales Tracking data shows that online sales of Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) in Europe continued to grow. Explore our infographic for more key facts.
Did you know that, each month, we publish country-by-country findings on a new topic from our international study? As 2016 comes to a close, let’s take a look back at the survey results and the sentiments from consumers around the world.
For the first month of 2016, we looked at people’s reasons for trying to look good and the time they spend on personal grooming. What we found in this study was that peoples’ top three motivations for wanting to “look their best” are in order to feel good about themselves, to make a good impression on people they meet for the first time, and to set a good example for their children. Italians, Argentinians and Americans spend the most time on personal grooming each week, and the top three motivations for looking good change depending on respondents’ ages.
In February, we looked at virtual interactions, asking participants if they felt that virtual interactions can be “as good as being there”. Internationally, 23% of online consumers agreed that virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person. Brazil and Turkey have the highest level of agreement, while Germany and Sweden disagreed with the statement the most. Internet users aged 20-29 and 30-39 years old were the age groups most likely to agree.
Company responsibility was the topic for March. We asked over 27,000 people worldwide to select the top three most important responsibilities for companies today. The three most important were providing good jobs for people (47%), producing good quality products or services (41%) and being environmentally responsible (37%).
For April, we discovered that savers just outnumber fun-lovers internationally, asking people in 22 countries if they want to “enjoy life today and worry about savings and investments later”. We found that women are more likely to be savings-minded, and that twenty-somethings beat teenagers on highest percentage of fun-lovers. Out of all the countries surveyed, Hong Kong was the only country where over half of the online population favored saving today.
In May, we studied which countries have the biggest percentage of pet owners, and what kind of pets were the most popular. Among the results were that over half of people internationally have a pet living with them, and that Argentina, Mexico and Brazil have the highest percentage of pet-owners, while Asians are least likely to own a pet.
For the month of June, we asked participants how strongly they agree or disagree that “to me, it is important to always be reachable, wherever I am”. Nearly half (42%) of the connected population internationally firmly agreed with the “always reachable” mindset, while 11% firmly disagreed. Germany, Sweden, Canada and Netherlands had the highest level of disagreement with the importance of being always reachable.
Are consumers always concerned about their safety and security? This was our focus question for July, and we found that 32% of the online population firmly agree that they are “always concerned about my safety and security”. Brazil and Turkey have the highest levels of safety concern, while Sweden, Germany and Netherlands lead for feeling safe. Age has little impact on numbers concerned for personal safety and security.
Home improvement aspirations was the topic for August, looking at which aspects of the home that people would most like to improve if they could. 39% of those surveyed chose the “interior décor or design” of their home as the area most needing improvement, while “the overall size or layout” and “the furniture” closely followed (38% and 35%, respectively). Women were more likely to choose décor, while men were more concerned about the size and layout of their homes.
September showed us that a third of the people surveyed track their health or fitness using an online or mobile application, or using a fitness band, clip, or smartwatch. China leads all countries in this trend, with 45% of its online population monitoring their health and fitness. Brazil and USA are at 29%, with Germany (28%) and France (26%) following. China, Russia, France, Australia and Canada have more women tracking their health or fitness than men.
For the month of October, we looked at consumers’ physical concerns around aging and which conditions they worried most about having now or in the future. Internationally, the top five concerns are eyesight getting poorer, not being as mentally alert, lacking energy, having trouble taking care of themselves physically, and losing mobility / being unable to walk or drive. In Russia, “losing your teeth” was a top five concern, while “getting wrinkles or sagging skin” rated highly in Japan and Korea.
The final topic for 2016 looked at how often people in different countries help others or do volunteer work. People in the Netherlands and the USA are the most generous with their time, with a quarter of their online populations helping others or doing volunteer work at least once a week or more. They are followed by Mexicans at 22%. Internationally, less than a quarter of people say they never help others or do volunteer work.
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In a world increasingly active online, more and more questions arise to define the ‘digitally savvy’ population. We know Millennials, those reaching adulthood around the year 2000, have been born into a digital world, but are they more engaged with e-commerce brands?
Using Millennials as a target group has been criticized, as marketers broadly categorize individuals at different life stages, with different interests and attitudes. However, this cohort of digital natives have already shown differentiating behavior in terms of social media usage, gaming and life priorities including health, marriage, having children or buying a house. For all the myths, Millennials are one of the largest consumer groups in history, they have an affinity with technology and are about to reach their prime working and spending years (Goldman Sachs).
Each year InternetRetailing UK releases a list of the top e-commerce and cross-channel retailers. We have taken the top 50 brands and added them to our GfK Crossmedia Visualizer platform to see how behavior varies among different age groups.
When looking at the UK online population during the first half of 2016, reach is the highest among the over 45’s, particularly females. This questions the extent to which larger e-commerce and cross-channel retailers have moved their marketing focus towards the Millennial demographic, querying the untapped purchasing potential of this target group. However, although reach amongst Millennials is lower, when looking at the average duration of time spent on these sites those in the young Millennial age group (16-24) over-index significantly. This reflects that although larger retailers don’t reach as high a proportion of Millennials compared to other age groups, those they do reach are more engaged for a much longer duration.
This higher level of engagement is particularly noticeable for retailers in the areas of Fashion, Personal Care/Cosmetics and Animals/Pets.
Although young Millennials (16-24) spend more time visiting these sites, they do so less frequently. Younger Millennials therefore may seem difficult to reach, but with engaging content should stay on site for a much greater duration of time.
No demographic group is homogeneous, yet we still find distinct differences for young Millennials compared to other age groups. When looking at the top 20 retail sites that over-index for a Millennial target group compared to the average reach for the total UK online population, sites related to Fashion and Education have much greater reach for young Millennials (16-24). Combined these industries account for 80% of the top 20 sites.
In comparison, more mature Millennials (25-34) are attracted to a wider variety of e-commerce sites, visiting more general retailers including department stores and multi-content pure play brands. Mature Millennials also shop more for other people including children, engaged with sites relating to Mother/Baby and Toys. This pattern also follows for Millennial retail sites with the greatest level of engagement.
Young Millennials are the only demographic where the top 20 sites in terms of engagement are mutually exclusive to all other age groups. This implies that Millennials are primarily engaged with brands that directly target their age cohort, including Topshop, Forever21 and Student Beans.
When looking at the top 20 e-commerce retailers with the greatest Millennial reach and engagement we have found that sites are directly targeted at this specific demographic. Therefore if retailers want to target Millennials they will generate significantly greater levels of engagement with relevant, targeted content.
However, this is only the case for younger Millennials. We have found key differences in the e-commerce activity of young Millennials (16-24) and more mature Millennials (25-34). Younger Millennials spend a significantly greater amount of time per month visiting the top 50 retailers according to InternetRetailing UK. This is primarily due to Fashion, a key e-commerce industry appealing to young Millennials with brands providing targeted content. This demonstrates an opportunity for e-commerce brands to increase awareness and purchase intent, as the first digitally native demographic reaches its prime.
Deep drills into the UK’s top e-commerce and cross-channel retailers is just a starting point when getting familiar with your audience’s cross-media and cross-device usage. The above case study on Millennial e-commerce behavior is fully based on data provided by the GfK Crossmedia Visualizer. This cutting edge tool offers up to date, clear and deep insights into all relevant indicators of online usage across different devices (PC, smartphone and tablet). Moreover the internet usage data from this platform is linked to unique users’ consumer profiles, including all relevant socio-demographic data and further profiling attributes such as media usage, TV consumption and lifestyle data.
Amy Warwick is a digital senior research executive at GfK. For more information or to share your thoughts, please email email@example.com.