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January 30, 2015

MasterCard and Visa Report 4th Quarter 2014 Results

Kendrick SandsAnalyst Insight by Kendrick Sands - Consumer Finance Analyst

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MasterCard and Visa reported their final quarter results of 2014 on January 30th and 29th respectively. In the fourth quarter, both Visa Inc. (excluding Visa Europe) and MasterCard reported a decline in y-o-y growth of card payment value in 2014 compared to 2013 as a result of a strengthening dollar and the falling price of gas. MasterCard acquired two companies in the fourth quarter bringing their total acquired companies in 2014 to six. The fourth quarter acquisitions of Transaction Network Services and 5one Marketing Limited focused on increasing MasterCard’s digital products, services and global reach. From 2013 to 2014 Visa Inc. and MasterCard increased total payment value by US$376 billion and US$289 billion respectively. However, MasterCard’s growth rate surpassed that of Visa with a y-o-y growth of 9.7% compared to 8.6% for Visa.

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January 28, 2015

Three Questions to Ask About the Shake Shack IPO

ElizabethFriendAnalyst Insight by Elizabeth Friend - Senior Consumer Foodservice Analyst

Whenever an up-and-coming restaurant brand IPOs, the most important question to ask is whether the chain belongs to a true trend or simply a fad, one more flash-in-the-pan in a long line of cupcake shops, cereal cafés, and new takes on frozen yogurt. And in the case of Shake Shack, this question may be more important than ever: Not only is the chain part of a strong consumer movement that has already been booming for many years, but it is one of many chains looking to cash in on the same surge in demand. Fortunately, better burger competitors have history on their side, and there is plenty of reason to think that they are going to be around for many years to come.

Unlike cupcakes, which carved out an entirely new dining occasion based on giving adults permission to grab cupcakes on their way home from work, better burgers’ success hinges on a pastime that is about as traditional as it gets in American foodservice. Going out for burgers and fries is something consumers have been doing for decades, and better burger chains have given them a new—arguably better—way to experience a perennial favourite.

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January 27, 2015

Top 100 City Destinations Ranking


Euromonitor International is pleased to release its annual Top City Destinations Ranking, covering 100 of the world’s leading cities in terms of international tourist arrivals. The continuing increase in arrivals to these cities illustrates their economic strength, as well as the sustained importance of urban centres to global tourism, both business and leisure. In fact, these cities combined grew by 5.4% in 2013 –higher than the 4.8% growth experienced by overall international arrivals.

Interested in global travel trends? Download The WTM Global Trends Report now!


Asian cities account for a third of the most visited cities

Over a third of all destinations are located in the Asian Pacific region, illustrating strong regional travel trends within Asia, as well as the growing connections throughout the region. Within the top 10, six of the leading cities are from Asia, with the top three remaining unchanged from last year – Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. These three Asian mega-cities serve as some of the top destinations for Chinese travellers as well as being air network hubs. Bangkok showed the strongest growth among the top 10 cities, up 10.4% from 2012 to reach 17.4 million arrivals, despite political unrest breaking out at the end of the year. Chinese visitors are key to Thailand’s booming arrivals, with close links between the countries as well as efficient and short transport connections.

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January 19, 2015

Top Industry Trends for 2015

Euromonitor International's research teams share their analysis and forecasts for 2015. Watch the video to discover key predictions across all areas of Euromonitor International's research.

For more information about key trends in 2015, download our whitepaper, "Top 10 Consumer Trends for 2015".

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January 12, 2015

Lavazza Could Strengthen Coffee Pod Presence with L’Or Acquisition

JonasFelicianoAnalyst Insight by Jonas Feliciano - Senior Beverages Analyst

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On the heels of the monster merger of Mondelez and DE Master Blender’s coffee businesses into Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), European competition laws have forced the new company to sell off its L’Or and Grand’Mère brands. After months of interest from private equity firms, as well as Israel based coffee company Strauss Group, Italian manufacturer Lavazza is rumoured to be the company most likely to acquire both brands. This purchase would quickly make L’Or a vital part of Lavazaa’s continued growth into coffee markets outside of Italy – and give the company a true player in the fast growing fresh ground coffee pod category.

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January 8, 2015

Marks & Spencer’s Christmas 2014 Trading Results: Yet More Bad News

Philip BentonAnalyst Insight by Philip Benton - Retailing Analyst

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The 2014 Christmas trading results for Marks & Spencer were more disappointing than anticipated, with general merchandise sales falling 5.8% in Q3 (analysts predicted a 3% fall). Although M&S have consistently performed well in food as sales rose 2.8%, their UK performance (1.1% like-for-like decline) is not reflective of the UK retail environment. M&S have struggled to compete with the robust omni-channel strategies of Next and John Lewis, with the latter in particular having posted an impressive state of results thanks to the enormous success of their ‘click and collect’ policy which accounted for over half of its online sales. Marks &Spencer’s failure to utilise its new hi-tech distribution centre in Castle Donington has had disastrous effects with the retailer having to pull the ‘next day delivery’ service before Christmas and many consumers having to wait up to two weeks for deliveries. Word quickly spread on social media and consumers seem to have lost confidence in M&S’ ability to deliver online purchases quickly and it is highly doubtful the retailer will be able to turnaround its dwindling performance in Q4.

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December 19, 2014

Olam to Become One of Top Three Global Cocoa Processors

John MaddenAnalyst Insight by John Madden - Head of Ingredients Research

As the year ends on a major acquisition in ingredients, we ask what is driving this and does it make good business sense? Archer Daniel Midlands (ADM) announced plans to dispose of its cocoa business in July 2013 – a decision driven by volatility in the cocoa market. Cargill purchased the chocolate business in September 2014 but steered clear of cocoa processing due to potential competition issues. This week Olam broke the news of a US$1.3 billion purchase of ADM’s cocoa business – a deal that will catapult Olam to become one of the top three global cocoa processors.

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Cuba Libre: Latin America’s Final Consumer Frontier?


View Sarah Boumphrey's profile on LinkedIn

With the thaw in relations between Cuba and the USA, multinationals are likely to be planning their strategies in the new year to boost business in this frontier market. Even before the thaw, we identified Cuba as a Consumer Market of the Future. In 2013, consumer expenditure totalled Tweet-ThisUS$38.6 billion, and with a population of 11.3 million, albeit in slow decline, the market offers real promise for multinationals. Although the US embargo has not yet been lifted, the time might be right to re-evaluate Cuba’s potential as a consumer market.

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December 18, 2014

Diplomatic Normalisation Promises Cuban Evolution for US Cigar Market

Shane_MacGuillAnalyst Insight by Shane MacGuill - Tobacco Analyst

The almost total thawing out of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, announced yesterday, 17th December by President Barack Obama, could lead to the smouldering of Cuban cigars from coast to coast in the US$8 billion dollar US cigar market. The biggest winners from the relaxing of the trade embargo with Cuba are likely to be Imperial Tobacco plc, the world’s 4th largest international tobacco company and part owner, with the Cuban government of the state cigar company Corporacion Habanos and the US tobacco specialist stores which currently supply around 40% of the country’s cigars and through which high price point Cuban offerings will largely be distributed.

Imperial Tobacco inherited  a 50% holding in the Cuban state cigar company Corporacion Habanos through its purchase of the French-Spanish tobacco giant Altadis in 2007. It is thought that the company, which distributes the Cohiba and Montecristo premium cigar brands outside the US and non-Cuban brands such as Romeo y Julieta within it, has been anticipating the relaxation of the trade embargo for some time and has plans to ramp up production by 50% to meet increased demand. However, in an analyst briefing in November 2014, Imperial CEO Alison Cooper made reference to some supply issues in Cuba which may or may not impact this target:

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December 9, 2014

McDonald’s Expands Customisable Burger Concept – But Should They?

ElizabethFriendAnalyst Insight by Elizabeth Friend - Senior Foodservice Analyst

McDonald’s has been quietly testing a customisable burger and chicken sandwich concept for months, but this week announced a plan to aggressively expand the program, rolling out to thirty US outlets immediately and as many as 2,000 outlets in 2015. Called “Create Your Taste,” the program allows customers to bypass ordering lines and instead place their order via touchscreen kiosks, choosing from a variety of buns, toppings and sauces, many of which have never previously been available at McDonald’s.

Customisable sandwiches cost more and take longer to make, but McDonald’s is betting that customers won’t mind—especially those highly desirable fast casual customers whom have already grown used to high quality food and customisable orders at chains like Chipotle. Svati Kirsten Narula at Quartz writes:

McDonald’s hopes to win consumers back by offering build-your-own sandwich options, betting that customers won’t mind waiting longer or paying more for made-to-order meals…At Chipotle, customers interact with burrito-makers and watch as their orders are crafted, which makes highly specific customization possible…Selecting sandwich buns and toppings via touch-screen isn’t exactly the same thing, but if the resulting food is perceived to be higher-quality, that’s a win. Test customers interviewed by Bloomberg and USA Today have given favorable reviews to their “Create Your Taste” experiences, although they couched their compliments with nods to too-high pricing and comparisons to In-N-Out Burger.– Quartz

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Recent Posts

MasterCard and Visa Report 4th Quarter 2014 Results

Three Questions to Ask About the Shake Shack IPO

Top 100 City Destinations Ranking

Top Industry Trends for 2015

Lavazza Could Strengthen Coffee Pod Presence with L’Or Acquisition

Marks & Spencer’s Christmas 2014 Trading Results: Yet More Bad News

Olam to Become One of Top Three Global Cocoa Processors

Cuba Libre: Latin America’s Final Consumer Frontier?

Diplomatic Normalisation Promises Cuban Evolution for US Cigar Market

McDonald’s Expands Customisable Burger Concept – But Should They?