Annual Report 2018 Greetings





Professor Hubert Weiler

President of the GfK Verein (until 5th July 2018)


Dear Readers,

Is knowing enough? No – we must also apply knowledge. Is it enough to want to explore new horizons? No – you also have to do it.

These questions, based on a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, have determined our activities over the last twelve months. Creating and sharing knowledge so that it can be used by as many people as possible is an important goal of the GfK Verein. As a market research think tank, our work focuses on promoting market research as a consumer- and marketing-oriented discipline as well as the transfer of knowledge between science and practical application.

The fact that the digitalization of products, processes and services leads to fundamental changes in consumer behavior and business processes is not new. That this also leads to relevant changes in market research is undisputed. In our industry, there are massive shifts in the value chain away from the collection and aggregation of data towards data analysis and its connection to the trend for real-time quality. At the same time, there is an increasing need for intelligent interpretation and concrete recommendations for action. As a think tank for market research, we therefore want and have to think outside the box and focus strongly on these issues. This is why we have realigned our research both in terms of content and organizationally: In the future, we want to analyze customer behavior and especially market decisions using an interdisciplinary approach. Our goal is to understand exactly how new technologies impact markets and how this changes decision-making and market mechanisms. We are also planning to expand the activities of the GfK Verein internationally. This includes networking with leading think tanks and innovators.

In terms of personnel, we have also strengthened our strategy as a think tank for market research that investigates consumer and market decisions: Manfred Scheske, CEO and cofounder of infirst Healthcare, is part of our Executive Board since August 2017. With Manfred Scheske, we have gained a top manager with a precise understanding of markets, consumers and trends. He uses this knowledge to inspire and drive forward our research activities.

In addition to these research tasks, the GfK Verein has continued to fulfill its tasks as a responsible shareholder of GfK SE and also provides extensive support to the transformation process currently underway at GfK SE. Our focus, first and foremost, is on putting GfK SE back on its way to sustainable and long-term profitable growth as well as on emphasizing the importance of the Nuremberg location.

The expertise, commitment and willingness to change of all employees are essential factors in order to break new ground in research and to continue to successfully position the GfK Verein for the future. I therefore thank in particular the GfK Verein team for successfully driving forward our work day by day with their creativity and expertise. I would also like to thank all the committees, organizations and individuals that have contributed to the success of our work as a non-profit organization and investor in GfK SE. This includes the Advisory Board, Members’ Council, Executive Board, management, our cooperation partners in the fields of academia and business, external advisors, service providers and, last but not least, our members.

Prof. Hubert Weiler 

President of the GfK Verein