Infobox Company
company_name = GfK Group
company_logo =
company_type = Public
foundation = 1934
location = Nuremberg
key_people = Professor Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst (Chief Executive Officer)
industry = Marketing research
products = Research Social research Marketing research Audience ratings
revenue =
operating_income = €80.7 million (2005)
net_income = €67.517 billion (2005)
num_employees = 7,700+ (2006)
basic_earnings_per_share = 1.77 (2005)
homepage = []

The GfK AG, established in 1934 as the "GfK-Nürnberg Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung e.V." [cite web
title = What does the name ‘GfK’ stand for?
publisher =
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-11
] is Germany's largest market research institute, located in Nuremberg, and the fifth largest such organisation in the world, after Nielsen Company, Taylor Nelson Sofres, Forrester Research, and the Kantar Group. It was founded in 1934 by an association of university teachers, among them Ludwig Erhard, later minister of economics and chancellor of Germany. The institute is probably best known for its measurement of German TV audience ratings, which it has carried out since 1991, but it has long since expanded into other countries and into all fields of marketing research.

In April 2005 it acquired NOP World, based mostly in the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy and rated ninth largest market research business in the world, from United Business Media for £383 million, a move the company described as "the most important decision made by GfK since going public in 1999." [GfK AG, 'To Our Shareholders and Business Partners', Annual Report 2005]


GfK AG is a worldwide market research organization providing services in the five business divisions: Custom Research, [ Retail and Technology] , Consumer Tracking, Media and Healthcare. "Aktiengesellschaft" (AG), a German company type used as a suffix on company names, the German word meaning "corporation limited by shares". As of 2006 GfK AG is a holding and joint stock company with a turnover in excess of 1 billion euros. GfK is traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and is included in the SDAX index. The Group has more than 115 operating companies in over 90 countries and over 8760 employees, including about 1500 in Germany and 1,028 in the United States. The company signs off using the slogan "Growth from Knowledge".

Business Divisions

GfK offers its clients from the consumer goods and pharmaceuticals industry, retail, media and the service sector a comprehensive range of information and consulting services in five business divisions. Clients use these services to aid the decision making process in the areas of product and pricing policy, logistics and sales as well as marketing and advertising.

Custom Research: through around 50 subsidiaries in more than 30 countries and via partnerships in another 60 countries, GfK’s Custom Research division provides information services on operational and strategic marketing decisions. These services include test and studies on product and pricing policy, on brand positioning and brand management, on traditional and modern forms of communication with consumers and users, on optimizing distribution as well as on customer loyalty issues.

Retail and Technology: GfK’s Retail and Technology division provides clients from trade and industry with regular information services based on continuous surveys and analyses of sales of technical consumer goods in the retail sector in more than 70 countries worldwide. Among the market segments in which GfK surveys and analyses data are office communications, photographic technology and optics, electrical household appliances, information technology, telecommunications, sports equipment, tourism, consumer electronics and entertainment media.Global website: [ GfK Retail and Technology]

Consumer Tracking: GfK’s Consumer Tracking division provides its clients with regular information services based on continuous surveys and analysis of the purchasing decisions and behavior patterns of consumers in 26 European countries. The information and consulting services cover nearly all fast-moving consumer goods as well as numerous other consumer goods and services.

Media: GfK’s Media division provides information services on the intensity and nature of media usage and acceptance. The services are directed at clients from media companies, agencies and the branded goods industry in more than 20 European countries and – since 2005 – in the United States. These services relate to information about traditional media as well as the Internet and online media.

Healthcare: GfK’s Healthcare division provides its clients from the pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry worldwide with information and consulting services for special health markets covered by GfK’s network in America, Europe, and Asia. The services include analysis of product development and market communication, image cultivation and price control of medicines, market positioning, customer satisfaction and information on the sales volume of products used in the dental and veterinary sectors and in laboratories.

Other: the business divisions are supplemented by the Other division, which covers in particular GfK’s central services for its subsidiaries and participations as well as their partners. The division mainly includes GfK Data Services, GfK Methonden-und Produktentwicklung (English: Method and Product Development) as well as the departments of GfK’s Group Services. Up until the end of 2005, GfK Business Solutions and Processing was included in this division. However, after deliveries and services to the company Information Resources were terminated, GfK Business Solutions and Processing was integrated into GfK Data Services.

History by Geographic Region


GfK is Germany’s oldest market research company, established 72 years ago at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. In 1936, GfK AG conducted the country’s first brand study, on the cross logo of pharmaceutical company Bayer, and a year later it published the first German purchasing power figures, which are now also produced for the rest of Europe and overseas. In the mid-1950s, GfK joined the European frontrunners when it adopted consumer panel research after the research methodology first developed in the United States. It also began expanding its international network at an early stage, and in 1960 GfK AG co-founded the Europanel, which, together with British partner Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), conducts continuous studies of consumer purchasing patterns in 26 European countries. The GfK consumer climate study, launched in Germany during 1983, now covers Britain, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, and a series of central and eastern European countries. In 1985, GfK began producing German television ratings, first for state-owned broadcasters and later for the Television Research Partnership (AGF). During September 2005 GfK AG was a sponsor for the “Du bist Deutschland” (You are Germany) advertising campaign, the country's largest multimedia initiative to date, aimed at enhancing Germany’s image. Today, GfK AG is widely acknowledged as Germany’s undisputed market leader, with a market share of well over 25 percent. Germany continues to account for the largest share of GfK’s annual sales.

Western and Southern Europe

GfK AG began its international expansion into western and southern Europe during 1960 by establishing a subsidiary in Austria. In the late 1970s, GfK set up further companies in the Netherlands, France and Switzerland. GfK AG is currently the leading market research company in Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands, the second largest in Belgium and Italy (since 2002), and the third or fourth largest in France, Greece, and Portugal. GfK’s Retail and Technology and Media divisions are the regional market leaders, with continuous television and radio audience research contracts in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The electronic measuring technology used in this type of media research was developed by GfK subsidiary Telecontrol, while GfK Eurisko has also created a similar tool for measuring radio audiences electronically.

Central and Eastern Europe

GfK was among the first market research companies to move into central and Eastern Europe. The Group opened its first office in the region before the fall of the iron curtain in 1989, in the form of GfK Hungária. This was only the second foregin-owned company of any kind to be established in Hungary, and was followed in rapid succession by GfK Polonia in Warsaw, GfK Praha in the Czech Republic and GfK-RUS in Russia. The region now comprises twenty companies in sixteen countries. As of 2006, GfK is the largest market research company in Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine; the second largest in Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, the Czech Republic and Turkey; and ranks third or fourth in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Serbia and Hungary. In 2005, the newly established GfK Kazakhistan launced its Custom Research and Consumer Tracking operations. That same year Russia’s consumer protection association granted an award to GfK-RUS for its outstanding contribution to the creation of a modern consumer market. During January 2005, GfK Belgrade received the Coca-Cola Company’s Strategic Consumer Insights award for excellence in marketing consultancy. Of GfK's total sales for 2005, roughly 5.6 percent came from this region. [GfK Group Annual Report 2005, Section 4.4 Regional Assessment] In 2007, GfK Group acquired a 51% majority shareholding in Macedonia’s biggest market research agency, Stratum Research, now trading as GfK Skopje in Macedonia.

Asia and Pacific

The GfK Group has been active in Asia-Pacific for 20 years, starting in Japan, where it acquired its first minority interest in 1985. It now has subsidiaries in nearly all of the region’s key economies, including Australia and New Zealand. In 2005, GfK had subsidiaries in 15 countries and although GfK was only active in the Retail and Technology division until 2005, it was already the region’s fifth largest market research company. In 2005, GfK launched its Healthcare business in Asia in the form of subsidiaries in Singapore, Hong Kong (acquired SoHealthAsia in August 2005) and Thailand, as well as the former NOP World company, GfK Healthcare, in China, and [ GfK Retail and Technology] in the Philippines. GfK Marketing Services China held its first client conference in Shanghai, on the theme of convergence and digitalization. This was attended by some 250 representatives of over fifty Chinese and international retailers and manufacturers.In November 07 GfK Group acquired the optics panel from The Nielsen Company in Japan. The acquisition allows GfK a very strong measurement representation to the world market for Optics industry.In 2008, GfK Asia will track the broader Asian Optics industry which includes contact lens, ophthalmic lens, spectacles frames and sunglasses to give the industry a comprehensive view of this expanding market segment.

United States and North America

The GfK Group came one step closer to its long-held aim of gaining a foothold in the United States with its flotation in September 1999. In the same year, GfK Custom Research became the Group’s first U.S. research company. This was followed in 2003 by V2 GfK and a year later by GfK Arbor. However, the most important step in GfK’s U.S. business development strategy was the acquisition of NOP World in April 2005. This meant that all of the company's divisions except Consumer Tracking now have a presence in the United States and GfK AG has rapidly advanced to be the No. 8 company in the sector. U.S. revenue in 2005 was $316.3 million, up 3.9% from 2004. In 2005, 72.8 percent of total worldwide revenue was from outside the U.S. [The 2005 revenue and growth rate include the full year NOP World U.S. revenue] Roughly 22.1 percent of total sales came from the U.S., and roughly 25.3 percent of the company's income for the year.

Custom Research in North America

#GfK Arbor is a full-service marketing research and consulting firm, specializing in brand healthcare management, customer relationship management and related strategic areas. The firm’s practice groups specialize in consumer goods, telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and business-to-business industries. It provides advanced quantitative analysis and cross-engagement perspective and counsel.
#GfK Custom Research (GfK-CRI) provides marketing research, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and database marketing services worldwide, through offices in Minneapolis and New York, and through client service centers in Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Francisco, California. Clients include Fortune 500 companies that are involved in both business-to-business and consumer markets, including consumer goods, financial services, restaurants, retail, automotive and technology. Its services includes new product development (NPD), tracking, brand equity management and leverage, customer satisfaction and loyalty, segmentation, qualitative, database marketing, online research and delivery of secure Internet client portals.
#GfK NOP, based in New York with offices throughout North America, provides services developed from a comprehensive view of each client’s market. These include both custom market research and syndicated data resources. GfK NOP’s custom research is supplemented by several of the world’ oldest and largest databases [Some of these databases include Roper Reports U.S., Roper Reports Worldwide, Starch Ad Readership, AFI Automotive Intentions and Shopping Trends] which provides clients in with customized decision support and returns on marketing investment (ROMI) analysis at each phase of the marketing cycle.
#GfK Automotive is a full-service marketing research and consulting firm specializing in the automobile industry, based in Southfield, Michigan, with offices in Southern California. The company advises clients regarding NPD, brand maintenance and market communications leveraging its U.S. database of purchase automobile behavior. Its suite of products provides a comprehensive set of tools to understand the dynamics of the automotive industry and its performance from various aspects. The firm also offers custom research capabilities such as advanced product clinics and qualitative research.

Retail and Technology in North America

GfK Audits & Surveys, based in New York, provides retail data collection services, which include sales, distribution, shopper and retailer attitudes and other data on a broad range of products and outlet types, as well as measurements relating to the Hispanic market. Its National Retail Census of Product Distribution provides the size of the retail universe and a complete picture of distribution across all types of outlets. Global website: [ GfK Retail and Technology]

Media in North America

Mediamark Research offers comprehensive demographic, lifestyle, product usage and exposure to all forms of advertising media collected from a single sample. As a U.S. supplier of multimedia audience research, the firm provides information to magazines, television, radio, Internet and other media, leading national advertisers and more than 450 advertising agencies, including 90 of the top 100 agencies in the U.S.

Health care in North America

The GfK U.S. Healthcare, comprises three healthcare marketing research agencies: GfK Market Measures, GfK Strategic Marketing and GfK V2. Each of the firms has its own set of core offerings, which provides a full range of customer and syndicated marketing research.

# GfK Market Measures provides a mix of syndicated and custom marketing research services, supporting market assessment, brand tracking, message effectiveness, sales force effectiveness, healthcare consumer and product launch applications. The firm’s custom research skills include pricing, forecasting, positioning, concept testing, message development, promotional effectiveness evaluation and opportunity assessment.
# GfK Strategic Marketing, with a full range of quantitative services, supports clients in areas such as pricing, forecasting, clinical trial optimization and market segmentation. Key products include Uniter, Hospital Uniter and Perceptual Deficit Simulator. The firm’s Qualitative Institute uses a variety of qualitative research methodologies, including cross-cultural projective and elective techniques, to provide counsel at each stage of the product lifecycle.
# GfK V2 conducts qualitative marketing research with patients and physicians, as well as conducting advanced analytics and quantitative research. Products include "Information Architecture" (product positioning), "Competitive Analysis of Strategy and Tactics" – CAST (war gaming), "Market Analysis of Patients and Products" – MAPPs (patient flow and treatment maps) and "PracticeView" (strategic account management). [Jack Honomichl, HONOMICHL Top 50, "Marketing News", H19 - H20, June 15, 2006]

Financial Performance

In financial terms, 2005 was considered the most successful year in GfK’s history. Together with the former NOP World companies consolidated since June 1, 2005, GfK achieved sales in excess of 937 million euros. This represented growth of 40 percent. At more than 125 million euros, income was up by over 50 percent compared to 2004. Worldwide revenue of GfK AG in 2005 was $1.31 billion, including the NOP World companies for January 1 through December 31, 2005.

Top 10 of the Market Research Sector 2006

External links

* [ GfK Group]
* [ GfK Retail and Technology]
* [ Media Control GfK]


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