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August 30, 2014

Lessons from Japan’s Lost Decade

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Japan deserves special attention on a number of counts: it has experienced the longest post-bubble stagnation among the developed countries; it has suffered from the most persistent deflationary pressures and some of the most adverse demographic changes; it has world’s largest and still fast-growing public debt; and it recently launched a quantitative easing programme unparalleled in its intensity. In this five-article series we will take a deeper look at Japan’s economy and finances.

Figure 1: Japan's GDP (Nominal Terms)

Source: Euromonitor International

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Shrinking Phone Sales Bring Familiar Problems to the Forefront at Samsung Corp

MykolaGolovkoAnalyst Insight by Mykola Golovko - Senior Consumer Electronics Analyst

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Along with Apple Inc, Samsung Corp has long been the envy of the consumer electronics industry. The company’s success with its Galaxy line of Android smartphones has eaten into the fortunes of once dominant players like HTC Corp. But the latest quarterly earnings confirmed that Samsung Corp’s reliance on mobile revenue and profit is a significant risk. Revenue declined 8.9% and profit fell 24% year on year in the second quarter of 2014. The fall was largely due to deteriorating operating conditions in the smartphone market, which was the focal point of my discussion of the company’s earnings forecast on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange. Samsung’s main challenge is that outside of smartphones it has few other sources of profitability. 

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August 28, 2014

The Internet of Things: What Does it Mean for Businesses and Consumers?

Pavel_MarceuxAnalyst Insight by Pavel Marceux - Technology, Communications and Media Specialist

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Driven by the rising interconnectivity of digital devices and access to fast broadband, the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to transform traditional relationships between consumers and their environment. In essence, IoT signifies the capability to connect everyday devices and appliances, such as fridges, toothbrushes, thermostats and watches, to web-based networks. This integration opens up a number of new segments, ranging from data-analysis instruments for both businesses and consumers, to small-screen advertising, digital device updates and a variety of communications add-ons. However, IoT is only at present applicable to advanced markets, which have strong IT infrastructure, while infringes to consumer privacy are also a potential concern.

Global Internet Penetration and Consumer Spending on Household Durables: 2008-2013

Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics/Eurostat/UN/OECD/ITU

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August 27, 2014

Lessons Learned from the Mobile Innovation Summit

Michelle EvansAnalyst Insight by Michelle Evans - Senior Consumer Finance Analyst

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The CONNECT: Mobile Innovation Summit took place in mid-August in Chicago. The emergence of the connected mobile consumer was the conference’s overall theme. Throughout the event, speakers talked about the impact of mobility on various aspects of the commerce experience, including payments, marketing, loyalty, security and privacy. The conference explored many of the opportunities that retailers and restaurants have for leveraging mobile and digital channels to build their brands, increase sales and improve customer engagement.

CONNECT_logo_square_final - small.jpg 

 

 

 

 

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August 26, 2014

Fresh Food Producer Bodies Need to Get More Involved in Children’s Education

Simone_BarokeAnalyst Insight by Simone Baroke

Children know less and less about food. Urbanisation and the demise of smallholder farming are the key culprits. The classroom has to take over from educational summers spent at grandparents’ farms. And, although the industry is already making a rash of commendable efforts, more could be done to move fresh foods to the forefront of children’s minds, by making it, for example, an integral part of history, social science, languages and, of course, science subjects.

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?

Surveys highlighting schoolchildren’s woeful lack of knowledge in the area of food provenance surface at regular intervals. The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), a multi-stakeholder, partly industry-funded, not-for-profit organisation that disseminates nutrition information to health professionals and the general public, conducts one of these annually, and its May 2014 findings were pretty much in line with those of previous years: one quarter of 5-8-year-olds believed that bread came from animals and cheese from plants. In older children, such misconceptions, although less prevalent, were still surprisingly common. Also, 17% of primary school children in the BNF survey thought that fish fingers were made from chicken, while one in 10 believed bacon to be derived from sheep.

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Plant Resistance Breakthrough Could Have Implications for Western European Gardening Market

Damian ShoreAnalyst Insight by Damian Shore - Contributing Analyst

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Dutch researchers have found a way to identify plant genes that are involved in resistance to certain insects. While this development has some potential to undermine pest control sales, it may boost the horticulture segment if consumers can be convinced to pay more for pest-resistant seeds.

In Search of the Right Stuff

Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands have developed a video tracking system that is capable of following the paths taken by insects around plant samples under standardised conditions. These paths can then be analysed to provide a measure of the attraction or aversion of these insects to each plant sample. Researcher Dr Maarten Jongsma said, "We can very quickly test a large number of plants for possible resistance … our goal [is] to make the method suitable for many specific insect-plant combinations.”

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August 25, 2014

The Death of Sweet? Making a Case For A More Refreshing, More Varied Beverage Menu

ElizabethFriendAnalyst Insight by Elizabeth Friend - Consumer Foodservice Analyst

A slow shift has been happening in the world of beverages, the culmination of years of smaller trends that together have helped guide the evolution of global consumer preferences. The tyranny of sweet once spearheaded by carbonates has given way to a more democratic landscape populated by a diverse range of more nuanced, more refreshing, and more complex flavour profiles.

While this trend has been evident in foodservice for a while, especially among taste-making independents, it has manifested particularly clearly in off-trade soft drinks consumption. A look at what types and flavours of beverages have been seeing the most growth across all channels can offer valuable insight to foodservice operators who are looking for ways to fine-tune their specialty beverage offerings, helping them to craft a more varied, higher-value beverage menu that maximises appeal.

2013 Soft Drinks Growth by Major Category (Total Volume)

Source: Euromonitor International

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Booming Internet Retailing in India, with Some Expected Challenges

Thidathip TawichaiAnalyst Insight by Thidathip Tawichai - Consumer Appliances Analyst

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The Indian Government recently eased the restriction for foreign e-commerce in India so that global online retailers such as Amazon and E-bay, as well as other foreign manufacturers, are encouraged to sell their own products online as long as the products are sourced and produced within the country.  This will definitely be beneficial to consumer appliance manufacturers in India. Manufacturers such as Samsung Corp, LG Corp and Panasonic Corp have opened e-stores in India to gain further revenue.  However, internet retailing of appliances in India faces some challenges, such as inefficient infrastructures and cannibalising sales between store-based and online retailers.

 

Technology and Societal Trends Drive Growth

According to Euromonitor International, internet users in India increased from 51 million users in 2008 to 176 million users in 2013 – growth of 248%.  Moreover, volume sales of smart phones in India rose by a CAGR of 69% over the same period. The increasing rate of internet and smartphone usage has fuelled internet retailing in India.   Not only that, the so-called “showrooming” trend has become extremely popular. Consumers can visit a store-based retail outlet to see, touch and feel the products they are considering purchasing before returning home to purchase them online at the lowest possible price, according to Euromonitor International’s Category Briefing on Internet Retailing in India.

Internet Users and Smartphones in India: 2008-2018

Smartphoneandinternetretailing_

Source: Euromonitor International

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August 24, 2014

Beauty and Healthcare in the Convergence Zone

Nicholas MicallefAnalyst Insight by Nicholas Micallef - Beauty and Personal Care Analyst

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Against a backdrop of consumers looking to improve their general wellness and appearance, the beauty industry is gradually transforming to become more health orientated. As a result, cosmetics companies are increasingly focusing their innovation efforts in this new direction.

In responding to these demands, new product development is steadily becoming ever more concentrated on the capability of addressing topical health conditions experienced by consumers. This requires sophisticated technology to offer efficacy as well as to combine beauty with therapeutic solutions. Most commonly, these products are known as cosmeceuticals, and are generally prevalent in the areas of hair and skin care.

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US To Overtake Japan in Mobile Games

Rob-PorterAnalyst Insight by Robert Porter - Toys and Games Analyst

Globally, digital gaming now represents 27% of video games sales in 2013, with mobile gaming being one of the most dynamic categories within digital gaming, growing by 10% in value terms. Japan is the largest mobile gaming market globally at US$1.1 billion, making up 20% of the global mobile games category. However, growth is forecast to plateau in Japan for mobile gaming, allowing the US to overtake in 2015. This is primarily because Japan’s social media players have helped facilitate the growth of free-to-play games proportionally more, impacting the growth of mobile games in a negative way over the forecast period.

Mobile Gaming Growth in Absolute Terms for Japan and the US, 2008-2018

Source: Euromonitor International

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Recent Posts

Lessons from Japan’s Lost Decade

Shrinking Phone Sales Bring Familiar Problems to the Forefront at Samsung Corp

The Internet of Things: What Does it Mean for Businesses and Consumers?

Lessons Learned from the Mobile Innovation Summit

Fresh Food Producer Bodies Need to Get More Involved in Children’s Education

Plant Resistance Breakthrough Could Have Implications for Western European Gardening Market

The Death of Sweet? Making a Case For A More Refreshing, More Varied Beverage Menu

Booming Internet Retailing in India, with Some Expected Challenges

Beauty and Healthcare in the Convergence Zone

US To Overtake Japan in Mobile Games