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Gfk Consumer Panel: Experiences with Gfk market research

GfK is the largest German market research company. GfK stands for "Society for Consumer Research". The head office is in Nuremberg. With around 10,000 employees, GfK is one of the largest market research institutes in the world and obtains information from over 100 countries. In addition to the consumer climate index, which represents the propensity to consume in households, GfK is also busy measuring the ratings on German television.

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GfK Consumer Panel in comparison


General information about the GfK consumer panel

GfK was founded in 1934 under the name "GfK-Nürnberg Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung e.V." by some university lecturers from Nuremberg. In 1984 the e.V. became a GmbH and in 1990 also an AG. 2009 was converted into an SE (European Company). GfK's business is divided into three sectors according to its three sources of information. These are Custom Research, Retail and Technology and Media. GfK is one of the largest market research institutes in Germany. The abbreviation GfK stands for society for consumption. The company operates worldwide under the name GfK Group.

The Gfk consumer panel represents a process for obtaining and evaluating market research data. In this panel, purchases by private individuals over a certain period of time are recorded and evaluated. This enables the market to be analyzed. The so-called GfK Panel Services differentiate between two business areas: the ConsumerScan and the ConsumerScope. ConsumerScan includes things of everyday use such as food, whereby ConsumerScope deals with goods that are acquired or needed in the long term (e.g. electrical appliances) and services.

Participation in the GfK consumer panel

If you want to actively support the GfK consumer panel yourself, you can register on the homepage with your name and address. If you are lucky, you will be selected to participate in the market research studies. If you have been selected by GfK, you will first receive a call from a GfK employee. This carries out a short survey in which you have to answer questions about your own household, for example how many members the household has, how old the household members are and in which environment you live. You will then be informed that you will receive a high-quality data acquisition device from GfK in the mail in the next few days. This is a handheld scanner called ScanIT.

After a few days, the package actually arrives. In addition to the scanner, this includes all cables and connections that are required to use the device, as well as instructions, a book with barcodes for shopping goods that cannot normally be scanned (e.g. services such as a hairdresser visit), a bonus catalog and one Docking station for the scanner.

The scanner is connected via the telephone socket and a socket and is described in detail in the manual. The scanner is then immediately ready for use. The principle is the same as for shopping: all purchases are recorded via barcodes or by manually entering the barcode number and transmitted to GfK Marktforschung. GfK emphasizes that it is important to always keep the scanner connected, even when you are on vacation, for example. There are extra settings in the scanner that allow you to program in advance what times you will be absent.

Collect the data

After shopping, the scanner is switched on. You need the receipt to collect data. First, you select the shop where you were at the device and enter the total amount of the purchase. Then all purchased products are scanned one after the other. If scanning is successful, the device emits a tone, similar to when shopping at the supermarket checkout.

However, the products are not simply scanned. After entering each individual article, the scanner wants to have answered a number of questions, such as the quantity of the respective article purchased, the price per piece, whether it is a special offer and how the article is packaged (whether it is about is a bottle from a six-pack or similar). In addition, all household people are stored in the scanner, so you have to choose who made the purchase.

For products without their own barcode there is the supplied code book, in which you have a large selection of codes for fruits, vegetables and the like. GfK expects the participants to scan every purchase, but you should scan a purchase at least once a week. If you do not do this, after a while you will be asked to send the whole package back. However, you even get a return slip and do not have to pay postage.

What is ScanIT about?

At ScanIT I scan my weekly / daily shopping products and transfer this data to GfK. It can be used to determine who buys where and how often in which household. In addition, you can then see which fruits are bought the most, for example, in which months or whether more regional or international fruit is bought. ScanIT makes it clear whether consumers often shop in brand stores, prefer to go to discounters or whether they prefer to buy things from the special offer. With ScanIT the complete buying behavior of the consumer is disclosed. Of course, the private data also remains private. The details of the address and name are only used for premium delivery.

How does ScanIT work?

If you have confirmed that you would like to participate in this study, you will receive a package after about six to eight weeks. This package contains all the necessary utensils to run ScanIT. The corresponding scanner with a docking station is included so that it can be recharged again and again, a code book, a cable for connecting the docking station to the PC and to the socket and a shop sheet.

It should also be noted that GfK only gives these utensils to households on loan and is therefore the property of GfK throughout the study. You do your weekly / daily shopping and take the receipt home. With the shopping center sheet you then look for the appropriate department store or supermarket and you can start scanning. But you should also make sure that every supermarket, drugstore ect. must be scanned individually. You have to scan every single product with the scanner. Just like in the supermarket, the scanner is held over the barcode and saved in the scanner. A small "bimmel" sound will alert you that the scanner has captured and saved the product. If it happens that a product does not have a barcode, such as fresh goods, you can look up the corresponding barcode for your product in the code book.

When you have completely scanned your purchase, place the scanner in the docking station and connect it to the PC. Then you open the ScanIT client and all you have to do is click on transfer barcodes and all the scanned articles are forwarded to GfK. It is important that you make a purchase at least once a week. If this is not the case, you have to notify us via the free hotline or by email that you do not have to make a purchase in the corresponding week. The same applies to illness as well as vacation trips. The operability of the device is child's play and understandable for everyone. The website also explains a lot about open questions. Customer service is also available around the clock. Of course, the GfK Group works according to the legal provisions on data protection, as it is also a member of the working group of German market research institutes. Your own person is not recognized because GfK generally does not pass on any data. This means that the current provisions of the Data Protection Act are always complied with by GfK. GfK keeps the questionnaires and the respective purchasing data strictly separate from each other. Because the respective purchasing data are summarized and evaluated in groups. It is therefore no longer possible to see who this information comes from.

Bonus system and remuneration

GfK receives 12 bonus points per weekly entry, which can be exchanged for various awards. The awards are of high quality, for example there are products from brands like Braun. From 400 award points you can choose something, the most expensive award "costs" 2100 points. There are awards such as MagLite flashlights, weather stations, Braun food processors and Severin microwaves, and much more. The premiums change frequently so that the premium offer is constantly updated and new products are added. Depending on the value of the goods, the points that must be achieved for the corresponding product also fluctuate, of course.

surveys and interviews

From time to time you will find surveys and interviews on the panel page which are also rewarded with bonus points. These surveys deal with various topics such as television behavior, reading behavior or automobile behavior. How often you watch TV, how often you read, what you read or what kind of car you own and how often you use it. Just like with the ScanIT, you remain anonymous in these surveys, because filling out these forms is only used for statistical purposes. There is a certain number of reward points per completed questionnaire that you can then collect. The amount of the points reimbursement depends on the length and effort one had for the respective survey. From a point value of 2500, the points can be exchanged for rewards. Here 2500 reward points correspond to a value of € 25.

Questions about data protection

In its data protection declaration, GfK affirms that all personal data will be treated confidentially and only passed on within the GfK Group. In principle, names and addresses are only necessary when participating in the Electronic Diary in order to be able to send the device to the respective person at all. Information on the environment and the household is required for assignment to categories and more precise buyer group analyzes. GfK is only interested in market research and only uses the data it needs for categorization.

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