The handover of the Australian leadership of Gfk has paid dividends as Gwenno Hopkin, General Manager — Point of Sale Tracking reveals in our Mid-Year Report Card out now in our July issue.
How has the first half of 2015 been for your business?
It’s been an exciting first half for GfK, with lots of internal changes and developments. Following Gary Lamb’s semi-retirement back in September 2014, we welcomed our new MD, Catherine Eddy, to the business in January. This was also the opportunity to bring our two Australian businesses together, under one leadership. So, now, our tracking business (point of sale, audience measurement, social media/digital tracking, and sell-in) is combined with our consumer qual and quant business. This presents some interesting opportunities for combining research techniques for more powerful insights. We are also moving into the space of advanced analytics, which means you can do a whole lot more with existing, and external, datasets.
GfK General Manager — Point of Sale Tracking Gwenno Hopkin,
What are your predictions for the second half of the year?
Looking at the technology and appliances sectors, we saw some uplift in the early part of the year; the first positive trend for quite some time. Following the federal budget announcement on tax breaks for small businesses, we’d expect year-on-year growth to continue into the second half. If we remove smartphones from the equation, we’re probably talking about pretty moderate revenue growth, but growth nonetheless.
What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?
It’s been positive to see a focus on medium to higher-end products in the past 12 months, driving increases in average prices in many segments. This indicates a renewed focus on value, rather than volume share competition. Specific growth drivers are likely to be the emerging health and fitness tracking segment (December unit sales for health and fitness trackers were higher here than in the UK!), and the lifestyle-related segments that are continuing to drive growth in the appliances sector. In technology, a shift of focus back onto notebooks is bringing value back into the IT sector, and it’s also due to be a strong year for smartphones.
What threats are currently present in the industry?
Another driver of growth earlier in the year was the significant increase in sales of major domestic appliances. Although this has been a welcome trend for the industry, this is a sector that, on an annualised basis, usually remains pretty flat. So, this early uplift could lead to a slight ‘hangover’ effect later in the year. Looking more broadly though, the most significant threat to the industry is the general economic environment.
What is your favourite product of 2015 so far?
I celebrated my birthday recently and was given a health and fitness tracker. I’m now obsessed with my sleep patterns, heart rate, and daily steps. It’ll be interesting to see how long my resolve to stop using the lift at work actually lasts!