Consumer panel

Definition / explanation

A consumer panel is understood to be a specific, consistent, representative group of respondents (consumers, households, experts, etc.) who are asked or observed about the same issue over a longer period of time or at certain intervals. Objective: Continuous reporting on the purchasing behavior of consumers.

Types of consumer panel

Household panel versus Individualpanel
The first consumer panel in Germany was the household panel. The focus today is still on goods that are bought by one person for the entire household (household-related needs). such as B. detergents, coffee, detergents, etc.

The individual panel is to be regarded as the counterpart to the household panel. The focus here is on goods that are bought by a person for themselves (personal needs). such as B. Feminine hygiene, chocolate bars, cosmetics, etc. Provider: GfK Panel Services.

Consumer goods panel versus consumer goods panel
In practice, the distinction between consumer goods and consumer goods has also established itself. The reason lies in the temporal delimitation: As a rule, the frequency of purchases for consumer goods is far higher than that for consumer goods. On average, consumers buy coffee once or twice a month, whereas buying a television set can take years. So it also makes sense to buy coffee e.g. B. to evaluate weekly or monthly.

Provider: Consumer goods and services: GfK ConsumerScope. Consumer goods in the field of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG product groups): GfK ConsumerScan.

Specializing in specific consumer target groups
Certain clients want to permanently monitor very specific target groups with a correspondingly high number of cases (random sample). This is how the baby panel came about, for example.

Data collection

In the industrialized countries, two survey methods have become established in the consumer panel: Either the people report in writing using a diary or shopping calendar, or the survey takes place via electronic data entry with a handheld reader (Electronic Diary; ScanIT).

In writing via paper diary (diary or shopping calendar)
Daily registration
Weekly / monthly return.

In-home scanning via Electronic Diary ScanIT
Daily registration
Daily / weekly retrieval.


Stichprobe x Hochrechnungsfaktor = Population

Example: GfK consumer panel

Population: 38.5 million private, German households (as of January 2007)

Sample: 20,000 GfK PanelServices household panels

Extrapolation factor: 1,925 (38.5 million: 20,000) This means: a panel household stands for 1,925 households in the population.

Limits of the consumer panel

Panel mortality: Structural inconsistencies are largely compensated for by weighting.

Panel effect: possible retroactive effect of panel work on shopping behavior; Phenomenon that does not affect longitudinal analyzes.

The problem of sample numbers with smaller survey cells marks the limits of interpretability.

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