GfK (company)

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legal form Societas Europaea
founding 1934
Seat Nuremberg , Germany
  • Peter Feld Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  • Bobby Rajan Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Number of employees 13,069 (December 2016)
sales 1.5 billion (2016)
Branch Market research
Status: 2016

The GfK SE (slogan: English Growth from Knowledge , growth of knowledge ' ), based in Nuremberg is the largest German market research institute , currently the world's number five in the industry. Since March 2017, GfK has been majority-owned (96.7%) of the investment fund Acceleratio Capital NV , a holding company of the American private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

The company collects the ratings for television in the Federal Republic of Germany. The municipality of Haßloch serves as an average place as a test market for the GfK BehaviorScan instrument, which primarily examines the effect of television advertising and simulates the launch of new products. The company also calculates the GfK consumer climate index , among other things .


GfK building on the Nordwestring in Nuremberg
New GfK headquarters at the former Nuremberg main freight station under construction (2018)

GfK was founded in February 1935 as GfK-Nürnberg Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung e. V. founded by professors from Nuremberg, including the later German Minister of Economics and Chancellor Ludwig Erhard . The concept was designed by co-founder Wilhelm Vershofen .

In 1984 the commercial activities were spun off to GfK GmbH , which was renamed GfK AG on January 23, 1990 . At that time, the “GfK Association” limited itself to promoting market and sales research. GfK AG went public in September 1999 and was included in the MDAX with effect from March 20, 2000 . On March 24, 2003, the company was relegated to the SDAX , in which it remained until March 22, 2017. In 2009 it was converted into a European Company (SE).

In August 2016, GfK lowered its profit forecast for the current financial year as a result of high amortization of goodwill. The Wirtschaftswoche reported on plans to sell the GfK Association.

In December 2016, the holding company KKR submitted a takeover offer for 18.54 percent of the company's shares. GfK's Executive and Supervisory Boards supported KKR's offer with a volume of at least EUR 294 million.

GfK SE's listing ended with a squeeze out in October 2017.

In autumn 2018, the French competitor Ipsos acquired a business unit with 1,000 employees that deals with customer-specific individual orders for EUR 105 million.

Acquisitions and investments

Key figures (as of December 31, 2016)
(in € million)
Employees at the end of
the respective reporting year
worldwide Germany
2001 506 4,653 1,443
2002 559 4,879 1,465
2003 590 5,032 1,459
2004 660 5,484 1,502
2005 937 7,515 1,577
2006 1,112 7,903 1,628
2007 1,162 9,070 1,714
2008 1,220 9,692 1,746
2009 1,165 10,058 1,790
2010 1,294 10,546 1,831
2011 1,374 11,457 2,025
2012 1,515 12,678 2.159
2013 1,495 12,940 2,185
2014 1,453 13,380 N / A
2015 1,543 13,485 N / A
2016 1,484 13,069 N / A
  • 2016: Takeover of Netquest with its subsidiary Wakoopa in order to gain a foothold in the Latin American market for online panels.
  • 2015: Takeover of NORM Research & Consulting and increase of shares in YouEye Inc., GfK Retail and Technology GmbH, GfK Latinoamerica Holding, GfK Retail and Technology Asia Holding, GfK Marketing Services KK, GfK Retail and Technology Argentina, ENCODEX International, Incoma GfK and GfK CR Japan.
  • 2014: Takeover of TerrEtude, Cogenta, PT Primera Indonesia and PanelVet as well as increase of the shares in IFR South America and Genius Digital.
  • 2013: Takeover of acmr, PCNData and Sensemetric as well as increase of the shares in GfK Etilize, media control (GfK international), GfK-Conecta and GfK UK Entertainments (each to 100 percent).
  • September 17, 2012: Takeover of the US company for user experience research User Centric (now GfK User Centric)
  • July 2, 2012: The shares in nurago and SirValUse Consulting are increased to 100 percent (now GfK nurago / GfK SirValUse Consulting).
  • March 2, 2012: Takeover of the British healthcare market researcher Bridgehead International (now GfK Bridgehead)
  • December 9, 2011: Acquisition of US online research company Knowledge Networks Inc.
  • January 1, 2011: The stake in SirValUse Consulting is increased to 60 percent.
  • November 2, 2010: Takeover of the US consulting company Interscope
  • July 8, 2010: Takeover of GfK Mode in India and complete takeover of dmrkynetec (now: GfK Kynetec)
  • May 6, 2010: Participation in the German company SirValUse Consulting
  • April 1, 2009: Takeover of the British market research institute Ascent Market Intelligence (Ascent-MI)
  • March 1, 2009: Stake in the IFR Monitoring Group increased by 24.2 percent to 100 percent
  • February 1, 2009: The stake in dmrkynetec was expanded to 75 percent of the shares.
  • August 7, 2008: The GfK Group took over 100 percent of the US Arbor Strategy Group (ASG). ASG, one of the leading consulting firms in the field of strategic brand development, operates as GfK Strategic Innovation.
  • July 15, 2008: In the Custom Research sector, GfK acquired a stake in dmrkynetec in Great Britain. The GfK Group also increased its shares in Chart-Track, Great Britain, and GfK Danmark, Denmark. With the newly founded GfK Albania, Albania, a new GfK subsidiary was added in the Central and Eastern Europe region.
  • April 9, 2008: GfK acquired the market research company Bilesim International in Turkey and the remaining 34 percent of the shares in the Swiss company GfK Research Matters
  • September 21, 2006: GfK Macon, GfK Prisma and GfK Regionalforschung merged to form GfK GeoMarketing . The new GfK subsidiary was thus one of the largest geomarketing providers in Europe.
  • July 1, 2005: Complete takeover of the American company GfK V2
  • June 13, 2005: 33 percent of Research Matters AG acquired
  • May 11, 2005: Complete takeover of the geomarketing specialist GfK Macon AG; Acquisition of 51 percent each in the Canadian company Research Dynamics Inc. and in Adimark SA in Chile
  • April 15, 2005: GfK fully acquired the market research group NOP World from the British media group United Business Media

Group structure

GfK is active in the two sectors Consumer Choices and Consumer Experiences . From 1999 to 2009 the company was listed on the stock exchange as GfK AG and then until 2017 as GfK SE. It is a holding company for 120 subsidiaries , including GfK Entertainment , and has holdings in over 100 countries.

Measurement of audience ratings

Display of a GRP meter

Within Germany, GfK is especially known to them with the measurement of audience ratings of the television is in charge. For this purpose, special measuring devices ( fiberglass meters , also known as fiberglass telemeters ) are used, which are connected to the television set.

The development of the GfK meter goes back to 1963. The first television meter, called Tammeter , was developed by the British “Television Audience Measurement” (TAM). ARD and ZDF founded a joint subsidiary with “Infratam” based in Wetzlar and from 1963 to 1974 carried out the first continuous quota measurements. The Tammeter measured to the minute, but only delivered the results (device switch-on, channel, time) four weeks later and only for the entire television household.

In 1975 the Tammeter was replaced by the Teleskomat (also by Infratam), which recorded personal results from 1,200 households every 30 seconds up to six programs and up to seven people in the household and delivered them over the telephone line to the central computer overnight. Telecontrol (TC 3, TC 6, TC XL) was a further step forward. When measuring the audience rating, it takes into account all programs, all people involved in the respective television broadcast and, with the help of the telephone line, the data in the GfK data Center transmitted.

Since 1985, the television use of originally around 2,700 representative selected households has been measured to the second using the GfK meter in Germany. The panel was expanded because of the inclusion of the new federal states in 1991 and because of new regional targets in 1996. In addition, 140 households from the European Union were added in 2001 . After reaching a high of 5,500, since 2012 the television panel has consisted of 5,000 daily accessed households in which around 10,500 people live. The system (GfK-Meter) consists of three parts: the actual measuring device, a remote control with which all persons in the household have to log in and out individually, and a display. At night, the data is sent over the telephone line to GfK in Nuremberg, where it is evaluated and made available to members of the television research group the next morning .


  • Helmut Bräuer: The packaging as a sales problem. A sales-economic and advertising psychological study of the German packaging industry . Dissertation from May 15, 1957 at the Nuremberg University of Economics and Social Sciences . (Kallmünz about Regensburg), 1958, 271 pp. (Market economy and consumption. Volume 9, series of publications by the Society for Consumer Research, Nuremberg)
  • Georg Bergler : The literature about the branded article . 4th updated edition. Nuremberg: Society for Consumer Research, 1960, 332 pp. (Market Economy and Consumption, Volume 12, series of publications by the Society for Consumer Research)
  • Ludwig Berekoven : Advertising for capital and production goods, their possibilities and limits . (Market economy and consumption, series of publications by the GfK Society for Consumer Research, Volume 16). Munich: Modern Industry 1961, 178 pp.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. - 75 years of GfK. Accessed April 9, 2016.
  2. Peter Feld to be the new CEO of GfK. Accessed April 3, 2017.
  3. November 5, 2018.
  4. GfK gets new chief supervisor. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  5. a b Annual Report 2016. (PDF) GfK, accessed on August 10, 2018 .
  6. GfK - Annual Report 2015 , p. 52. Accessed April 9, 2016.
  7. Acceleratio Capital NV: amount of cash compensation for squeeze-out at GfK communicated. In: Der Tagesspiegel. (online), June 2, 2017.
  8. Schindelbeck, Dirk: Hanns W. Brose. In: Trödler & Collector Journal, issue 4/2002, p. 203
  9. IPO. GfK SE, accessed on April 9, 2011 .
  10. Deutsche Börse updates the composition of the share indices. (No longer available online.) Deutsche Börse AG, February 8, 2000, archived from the original on April 26, 2014 ; Retrieved April 9, 2011 .
  11. Annual Report 2003 (PDF; 3.7 MB) GfK, p. 55 , accessed on April 9, 2011 .
  12. Consumer researcher again lowers profit forecast , Handelsblatt. Retrieved October 24, 2016
  13. GfK market researcher apparently before sales , Wirtschaftswoche. Retrieved December 12, 2016
  14. Investor KKR submits takeover offer to GfK shareholders , Focus. Retrieved December 12, 2016
  15. Financial investor KKR plans to join GfK , Wirtschaftswoche. Retrieved December 13, 2016
  16. GfK SE: Squeeze-out decision entered in the commercial register , mandatory notification by GfK SE on, October 18, 2017.
  17. : Sale at GfK: 100 employees in Nuremberg affected , from July 30, 2018, accessed on November 9, 2018.
  18. Press release. In: Retrieved April 12, 2016 .
  19. ^ GfK: Annual Report 2015 , p. 68. Accessed April 9, 2016.
  20. GfK SE: Annual Report 2014 , p. 88. Accessed April 9, 2016.
  21. GfK SE: Annual Report 2013. P. 73 (PDF). Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  22. TV panel website of the AGF. Retrieved June 4, 2017
  23. ^ Gabriele Trost: TV quota. Planet Wissen , June 1, 2009, accessed January 9, 2014 .