Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions

The Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions (NIM) is a non-profit institute for research on consumer and market decisions. At the interface between science and practice, NIM examines how decisions of consumers and company decision-makers change in the face of new technological and social trends – and what the resulting impacts are. From its research, NIM generates new and relevant insights into how people can make better decisions in markets.

The Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions is the founder and anchor shareholder of GfK SE.

Anchor shareholder of GfK SE

As an anchor shareholder, the NIM accompanies GfK SE in its economic development and helps to set the course for future growth. Our history, our role as a shareholder and our affiliation are also underlined by the addition of "Founder and Anchor Shareholder of GfK SE" alongside our name.


The crises of the twenties proved that goods could not simply be produced with the expectation that demand would necessarily follow. Mass production and the emergence of trade had alienated producer from consumer. High-quality and neutral information about consumers and markets became necessary.
Two individuals, in particular, took it upon themselves to fill this information gap:
Prof. Wilhelm Vershofen and Consul Wilhelm R. Mann.

Our establishment marked the birth of market research in Germany.

Our establishment marked the birth of market research in Germany.

Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions

1925 - Forerunner

In 1925, Wilhelm Vershofen founded the "Institut für Wirtschaftsbeobachtung der deutschen Fertigware"(Institute for Economic Observation of German Manufactured Goods) (IWF) at the Nuremberg School of Economics. The aims are cost comparisons and applied "consumption research" to observe and better understand consumer behavior. Prof. Vershofen enlisted Consul Wilhelm R. Mann, member of the board of IG Farben, for his project.

1934 - Foundation

In 1934, the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung e.V. (Society for Consumer Research e.V.) (GfK) was founded. In addition to Prof. Dr. Vershofen, the Board of Management also includes Dr. Erich Schäfer and the later German Chancellor Dr. Ludwig Erhard. Members can be individuals, especially business executives, but also companies and economic policy associations.

1934 - The rise of the term "market decisions"

As early as 1934, our founders laid the intellectual basis that researching market decisions is a very central topic for understanding markets and consumers as well as the success of products.

Until 1945

The association conducted 71 different surveys up to the end of the war, including the awareness of trademarks, personal care and soap consumption in Germany, structure of beverage consumption in Germany, patient and medicines, assessment of fuel company road maps.

After 1945 – Business restart

Prof. Dr. Georg Bergler rebuilt GfK's business unter difficult conditions. An important step was his application for permission to the American occupation forces. After the permission was granted in 1947, work began on the rebuilding. In 1950, the situation stabilised due to the rapid increasing number of members.

1950s – Upward trend through panels

Panel research was established at GfK from the 1950s onwards. In 1954, GfK began measuring the shopping behavior of Bavarian consumers: 1,000 households completed a shopping diary for two months.

End of the 1960s – International research

From 1967, international research was expanded. This led to the foundation of companies initially in Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden. From around 1980, GfK companies were founded in the key European countries, initially in the UK and France, and later in Italy and Spain.

1970 – Expansion of retail research

In view of the growing importance of retailing for sales, the association began to strategically expand its retail research in 1970.

1984 – Spin-off into a GmbH

The reason for the spin-off of the commercial divisions in 1984 was a ruling by a regional court stating that the entrepreneurial activities were no longer compatible with the legal form of an "ideal association". From this point on, the association concentrated on enhancing market and sales research through studies, basic research and its role as a shareholder in GfK GmbH and its successor companies.

1990 – Stock corporation

In 1990, GfK GmbH was transformed into a stock corporation, and in 1999, it was listed on the official market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. At the time, GfK was already a globally oriented market research company represented in 37 countries. The association – as a non-profit organization – continued to fulfill its statutory task: the enhancement of market research.

2018 - Renaming to NIM

The association should be perceived as independent and no longer as a "part" of GfK SE. In order to give it a distinctive identity with the research focus "market decisions", it was renamed "Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions" (NIM) at the end of 2018 – founder and anchor shareholder of GfK SE.

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Sandra Lades

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