Sales research and market expertise

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The GfK Retail and Technology works with retailers and resellers in more than 80 countries worldwide. The GfK data platform, Star Track ensures that manufacturers and industry leaders receive comparable information at an international level. GfK market experts offer fact-based consultancy on brand share and channel performance at both country and international level.

Market information is available monthly and weekly for analysis at both strategic and tactical level. GfK offers complete market coverage by collecting data from all major distribution channels, including traditional retailers, online players, B2B and resellers.

In 2009 GfK launched ‘Digital World’ – a unique database of actual, real-time sales, tracking all technical consumer goods across every continent in conjunction with US industry association, CEA.

The ever-decreasing life cycles of products means having the right information as quickly as possible is essential to retailers, and it makes GfK RT’s services more crucial than ever. GfK’s accurate data and in-depth analysis enables companies to identify and react to market dynamics with confidence, equipping them with the right navigation system for their international activities and ensuring they maintain a competitive advantage in their industries.

The importance of independents

Independent retailers are highly valued partners of GfK and their cooperation is essential for building a comprehensive picture of each market sector. Some of them have been working with GfK for more than twenty years and their contribution has been very beneficial for both parties. Individual companies provide their sales and stock data, along with other product developments on a regular basis.

“In order to create a robust independent panel measurement within an industry, all channels need to be reflected accurately. The independent sector is a crucial element.  This year alone, 700 independent businesses have become GfK panel members supplying weekly automated data via their software programmes. These independent retail businesses become part of the GfK ‘Data Exchange Programme’ benefiting from valuable market reports free of charge,” explains  Kevin Lipscombe – GfK business group director, Field (, 0870 603 8165.

Home Appliances (MDA/SDA) market

GfK Retail and Technology has been tracking the major and small domestic appliances market since 1976, providing clients with weekly and monthly reporting and intelligence via the GfK Retail Panel.

GfK monitors both local and global sales of home appliance products in all major distribution channels such as electrical specialists, technical superstores, hypermarkets/C&C, department stores, mail order houses and online retailers, and, for MDA in particular, kitchen and furniture specialists.

“GfK Retail and Technology’s information and analysis are sought from a very diverse array of clients and this is not merely restricted to the manufacturers of the appliances themselves.  The scope is in fact much broader; suppliers of food and beverages, component manufacturers, industry associations and government departments all recognise the value of our data to their organizations, and new companies are being added to our portfolio all the time,” comments Erol Sukan, GfK business group director, responsible for the home appliances sector.

The UK home appliance market in 2009

“Major and small domestic appliances have been two sides of the same coin this year with major appliances bearing the brunt of hard times falling by nearly 9% in volume. The strong Euro has helped keep value from collapsing too far along with a flight to quality by some consumers replacing washers and fridge freezers which resulted in stark polarisation this year. For the independent sector, 2009 will be seen as particularly harsh as it is on course to see well over £20m in lost sales,” commented Anthony Williams – GfK account director, home appliances, MDA/SDA (, 0870 603 8115).

“By contrast, small domestic appliances, covering everything from air conditioners to vacuum cleaners, saw nearly a 3% rise in total sales. Significant contributors as diverse as kettles, shavers and cookware have all seen growth in the last 12 months and not all of it focused around the key Christmas period.

“Whilst independents make up just 1% of the overall sales of small appliances, they remain robust in high value categories like vacuum cleaners and coffee makers. This has helped them grow in line with the market reaching nearly £50m in the last year.

“There is also reason for some optimism next year in major appliances as those forced out of the premium ranges offered over the last three years are more than likely to trade up in the future.“

The consumer electronics market

GfK Retail and Technology has been tracking the sales of consumer electronics products since 1973, providing clients with weekly and monthly reporting and intelligence via GfK Retail Panel. All major distribution channels are monitored, including electrical retailers, technical superstores and internet traders.

Consumer electronics in 2009 and beyond

“2009 has been one of the toughest years in the industry for many years. The weakness of the pound, low consumer confidence and various other economic factors have made CE a struggle for retailers and manufacturers alike. The most frequently used products, new technologies and products perceived as ‘essential’ have been the best performers. Many other traditionally strong categories which have a lower frequency of use and are therefore seen more as ‘nice to have’, have struggled,” explained Nigel Catlow, GfK business group director, Consumer Electronics.

“In retailing, buying online has continued to grow whilst traditional store shopping has seen more mixed results. This trend has probably been accelerated by the recession but started well before. It is clear that some electronic specialists have done well using their expertise to install and /or offer customised solutions, or simply take advantage of consumers’ need for information on ‘new’ technologies in HD or the digital switchover. Mass retailers in the more price aggressive or bargain sectors of the market have also performed well in general terms for consumer electronics, due in part to the expansion of display and range of CE products. The middle ground of electronic retailing has been more of a struggle and remains so, under price attack from high footfall mass merchants at one end and more personal expertise from specialists at the other.

“The prospects for 2010 are unclear. There is, of course, room for optimism as many of the key indicators such as consumer confidence are becoming more positive and a number of key CE markets are recording growth again. Inevitably the advent of terrestrial HD broadcasting will help drive higher value flat panel TVs, set top boxes, Blu-ray players and their associated accessories. Linked with the World Cup, this should ensure a strong second quarter. These HD products are, for the consumer, a more unknown proposition. This clearly gives the chance for all specialists to regain some lost ground using their product expertise. We have seen in the past that general elections can create a negative effect as campaigning tends to highlight deficiencies, however this is still some months away (early May) leaving the path clear for a strong second quarter. By then, 2010 models with new features and technologies will adorn stores.”


Home appliances market

EROL SUKAN is a business group director at GfK Retail and Technology. He has more than five years experience working closely with retailers and manufacturers in the kitchen sector.

Erol advises GfK’s extensive client base on consumer behaviour and high street trends and o
n online trading environments, aiding decisions about product ranges, marketing and merchandising.

0870 603 8275

Consumer electronics

NIGEL CATLOW is business group director for consumer electronics at GfK with over 25 years of experience in market research, marketing management, and marketing communication.

Nigel has gained his consumer electronics experience at Philips and at Taylor Nelson across diverse markets. Nigel’s career at Philips included both UK and European roles as well as involvement in product development.

0870 603 8109

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