MarketLine Blog

Posts about Consumer

Piracy: The social acceptability of theft and its effect on the movie industry

MarketLine

Internet piracy has been around almost as long as the internet itself. Communities exist, consisting of millions of web users, which are dedicated to sourcing, converting and sharing valuable copyrighted material. Some – The Pirate Bay – were the inspiration for political parties. Others – Megaupload – were responsible for accelerating the fortunes of a small group into the billions of dollars. But all major sites have been in the spotlight for a decade, coming and going, constantly switching web hosts from Sweden to Somalia to Costa Rica, managing to… Read more

Tesco-Booker: The Squeeze on Small Businesses

MarketLine

Tesco, one of the largest retailers in the world, is the most dominant supermarket in the UK market. Its recent announcement to merge with Booker was a surprise to all. Booker occupies a very different area of the market, primarily offering bulk-purchase supply to small retailers, both independent and franchised stores under brands it owns, such as Londis and Budgens. At first glance then, this seems an odd target for Tesco; to merge operations with a company whose target market is so different to its own. Indeed, no one considers… Read more

Sequencing Quinoa: Food for thought

MarketLine

The pharmaceutical industry has been growing at a strong rate in recent years. One aspect of this market is that of the food supplement. The growing trend especially amongst the older populace and with the hectic lifestyles that are led in developed countries lends support to the supplement industry. The ability of scientists to understand the functions of different genes have assisted in the growth of specific markets and also in the changes to specific plant species. When looking at some of the historic plant species and how they have… Read more

KFC China: New facial recognition software is more offending than ground-breaking

MarketLine

Poor industry performance due to bad food ratings and hygiene issues has been severely damaging for the KFC brand over recent years in China. With a significant share in the Chinese market, KFC’s parent owner Yum! have some important decisions to make in order to build back growth for the franchises once again. It is clear that the technological vanguards are forefront to many industries who wish to make their services more efficient, cost saving and increase its customer satisfaction ratings, while of course keeping consistency across its brand. With… Read more

Global hotels and motels industry saw strong growth in 2015, exceeding $719 billion, says MarketLine

MarketLine

The global hotels and motels industry grew to a value of just over $719.1 billion in 2015, with Europe emerging as the largest regional market, and accounting for more than 34% of global market value, according to research firm MarketLine. The company’s latest report shows that the US and the UK form the two largest national hotel and motel industry markets, valued at $189.6 billion and $59.8 billion, respectively. China follows as a close third, with a value of $59.6 billion. Mohammad Hamza Iqbal, Analyst for MarketLine, comments: “While the… Read more

Belinda Wong appointed CEO of Starbucks China as part of growth plan

MarketLine

A focus on China and on increasing store openings in the country has been part of the Starbucks strategy since the company felt the negative impact of recession. Prior to 2008, Starbucks had been growing rapidly in terms of store openings, revenues, and operating profit. However, this all changed as the recession hit and the company struggled to cope. As many countries around the globe fell into recession, the impact on Starbucks was strongly felt. This led to a shift in resources to growth in international markets. It was felt… Read more

Post-Brexit effect on inflation

MarketLine

The UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum undertaken in June 2016. The separation will be complex and will take many years to complete. However, the effects have been felt immediately. Since Brexit, the pound has dropped by 18%. After an initial tumble following the result, it fell further in October following Prime Minister Theresa May’s signal that she would use Brexit to tighten borders, even if it means losing access to the EU’s single market on the current terms. On October 18, the Office for… Read more

VR: Virtual insanity is what we’re living in

MarketLine

In June 2012, Oculus VR, LLC was founded. Based in California, US, it was formed as a virtual reality technology company, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of their proposed virtual reality headset device. The company announced that backers who pledged $300 or more would be “rewarded” with the first development release of the headset, which was shipped to them in March 2013 (although the original date was December 2012). The intended amount Oculus wanted to raise was $250,000, but ended up raising over $2.4 million. Thus began… Read more

Sorry for any inconvenience caused? Morrisons expected to sell off its M local convenience stores

MarketLine

Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest grocer, is in advanced talks to sell its convenience stores to investment firm Greybull Capital as new chief executive David Potts seeks to focus the business on its traditional supermarket estate. Greybull was working with a team of industry executives to take over about 150 stores that trade as M local and generate annual sales of about GBP 300m (approximately $494m). The convenience sector has become a primary focus for many UK retailers reeling from the discounter industry disruption, which has seen Aldi and Lidl wrestle market… Read more

General Mills sees gluten-free products as major drivers of sales

MarketLine

General Mills has successfully entered the tricky gluten-free food market. It can be difficult for a major existing corporation to successfully enter the gluten-free food market. Such companies may find it difficult to adhere to strict regulations that gluten-free foods must adhere to, as most have produced, and will continue to produce, gluten-containing foods in their manufacturing facilities. What’s more, developing gluten-free foods is expensive and time-consuming. Companies must often undergo trial-and-error to retain a food’s flavor, texture, and consistency without including gluten, which is often used to give structure… Read more

BrewDog brings craft beer (and capitalism) to the masses

MarketLine

Are you a punk? Are you passionate about craft beer? Are you cool with the risks of investing in a company that “started as 2 humans and 1 dog”? If you answered Yes to these questions, Brewdog has a business proposition for you. And it comes with free beer. BrewDog is one of the UK’s most successful craft breweries. James Watt and Martin Dickie began the company in 2007 using personal savings and bank loans, and second-hand equipment. Initially, their beers were bottled by hand and sold at local markets…. Read more

Chipotle outgrows McDonald’s and puts the “fast” in fast casual, leaving its former parent in its wake

MarketLine

In just 21 years, Chipotle has fast become one of America’s major success stories, growing from a single restaurant in 1993 to over 1,700 restaurants (1,715 as of June 30, 2014). However, the company had a little help along the way. In 1998, fast food giant McDonald’s took a minority stake in the fledgling Chipotle, owning 90% of the company by 2006. During McDonald’s’ stewardship, Chipotle grew its restaurant network from 14 restaurants to over 500, with 100 a year being added. When Chipotle went public in 2006, McDonald’s took… Read more

Superfood powders are the latest alleged panacea of the health-conscious world

MarketLine

Superfood powders are marketed for their myriad of supposed benefits, from improved skin and increased energy, to preventing conditions and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and dementia. Superfood powders contain ground down superfoods, freeze dried and fine milled. Products which use the powders include the Super Elixir, boasts strong content and an equally eye watering price. Superfood powders have seen strong growth, although remain only a modicum of the wider market. Vitamix, a smoothie maker has also received celebrity endorsements and a loyal customer base despite its expensive price. Increasing… Read more

Colgate-Palmolive widens its product range to Muslim consumers

MarketLine

As the Muslim market continues to grow, the demand for halal products increases too and many companies are beginning to tap into this growing market. According to a Thomson Reuters report, the global halal (‘permissible’ or ‘lawful’) market, which includes products and services complying with Islamic laws and regulations, was valued at $1.7tn in 2012; growing faster than other consumer markets despite the recent global recession. Despite the most common belief that the term ‘halal’ is limited to meat and poultry, opportunities in the halal market go way beyond this… Read more

Supermarket price wars: A race to the bottom?

MarketLine

Grocery retailers in the UK have been experiencing the effects of a noticeable shift in consumer behavior in recent years. The recession, and the accompanying squeeze on incomes, has led to many consumers becoming shrewd in their purchases and increasingly looking to find the cheapest option. This has led to a climate in which discounters, and in particular Aldi and Lidl, have been able to thrive. Loyalty to supermarkets has been affected, with consumers more willing to shop around for their goods. This has had a detrimental impact on the… Read more

Vitamins and minerals sales have witnessed strong growth in recent years

MarketLine

The number of households purchasing vitamins grew in 2014 A survey into dietary supplement use has shown that the number of consumers buying these products has grown consecutively between 2012 and 2014. The survey found that growth was largely driven by male consumers, and that children’s multivitamin sales had experienced decline. TABS Group’s survey looked at 1,000 consumers’ purchases over a number of channels in the previous year ending April or May 2014. It was found that 75% of households purchased vitamins at least once in the year ending April… Read more

Fade to Black? Black Friday US sales dip while UK adopts the retail frenzy

MarketLine

Retail sales on Black Friday declined considerably in the US compared to last year while Amazon reported that the UK’s sales had surpassed its expectations. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated on Sunday that spending over the four-day weekend would fall to $57.4bn, down 2.3% from $59.0bn in 2013. Although the number of consumers out over the Black Friday weekend has increased to 141 million from 139 million, their average spend is lower at $407, -4% on last year. Although consumer confidence in the country is at a seven year… Read more

Good business: can clothing supply chains be managed ethically?

MarketLine

In April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed with the loss of 1,129 lives, mainly of apparel manufacturing workers. The proximate cause was that four extra floors had been built without a permit, and that a building designed for shops and offices was being used as a factory. But the collapse was an extreme example of the poor conditions suffered by all too many garment workers in low-wage countries. The cutting and sewing of clothes is labor intensive and difficult to automate, so wages loom large in the… Read more

The driving force behind Aldi’s success: Phantom Brands

MarketLine

Discount supermarket Aldi reported a 65% jump in pre-tax profits in September 2014. More than 95% of Aldi’s products are own label, but many of its products lack direct reference to the retailer. As discussed in the MarketLine case study, Supermarket private labels: growth following economic downturn; market share for retailer brands has increased rapidly over the years, most notably in the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.  After years of consistent market share increases, private label now has its strongest competitive position ever. Of particular interest is the… Read more

Natural sweeteners market – Stevia

MarketLine

The global diet soda beverage market has been on the decline for the last six years. The last 10 years were hard for producers of diet drinks, especially carbonated ones. In March 2014 the diet soft drink market declined further, by about 7% compared to February’s figures with Coca-Cola recording a 6% decline and PepsiCo hitting almost 7% decline in volume terms. Stevia’s leaves are remarkably 300 times sweeter than plain white sugar while containing no calories, has been heralded as the answer to changing diet habits. Global stevia sales… Read more

Halal: The new organic

MarketLine

The global halal market, which includes products and services complying with Islamic laws and regulations, was valued at $1.7tn in 2012, growing faster than other consumer markets despite the recent global recession. At a time when many Western markets are reaching their saturation point, Muslim consumers are becoming a target audience, and the halal market is emerging as one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world. Despite the common belief that the term “halal” is limited to meat and poultry, opportunities in the halal market go way beyond… Read more

What do Google and Apple’s latest devices tell us about the tablet market?

MarketLine

It has been a big week for new tablet releases, with both Google Inc. (Google) and Apple Inc. (Apple) revealing new devices that could become market leaders. Notably, Google announced the Nexus 9, an 8.9-inch tablet manufactured in partnership with HTC, alongside a new phablet, the Nexus 6, manufactured by the previously Google-owned Motorola on October 5, 2014. A day later, Apple took to the stage to announce the iPad Air 2, its latest flagship tablet, as well as the iPad mini 3, an update to its range of smaller,… Read more

Improved quality and packaging narrows gap between private and branded products

MarketLine

Consumers are becoming increasingly inquisitive about where their products are being manufactured. Private labels now have a similar quality to other renowned brands; and more consumers are now aware that many private label ‘generic brands’ foods are actually made by the same companies that produce higher priced name brands. Such Knowledge has aided growth in this sector. As discussed in the MarketLine case study, Supermarket private labels: growth following economic downturn, supermarkets are changing consumer perception. Consumers are not having to compromise on the quality of products if they purchase… Read more

Independent retailers and restaurants are small but growing organic food sellers

MarketLine

Sales of organic food through independent outlets rose by 6.9% in 2013 to a value of £513m (approximately $801m). Independent outlets include box schemes; farm, health and wholefood shops; farmers’ markets; and online purchases. Most independent retailers have seen strong growth: a Soil Association survey found that 75% grew, with three quarters of these retailers reporting sales growth of more than 10%. Only 6% experienced a decline in sales. Home delivery schemes have been doing particularly well: sales grew by 11% in 2013 to reach £193.6m (approximately $302.6m). Abel &… Read more

Pop-up stores no longer a novelty?

MarketLine

A pop-up store is defined as a retail outlet that is created temporarily in a location for a short period of time. The first pop-up store was established by Russ Miller, with his company Vacant, in 1999. The case study Pop-Up Stores: A growing retail strategy’, describes how Miller was inspired to create the pop-up concept following a trip to Tokyo. The company wanted to test the theory that consumers would be eager to purchase limited-edition merchandise from niche retailers. The idea was that stores would open for a set… Read more

Tesco: Fallout from profit overstating continues

MarketLine

Yesterday (September 22), the UK’s largest retailer Tesco had to make the embarrassing and damaging admission that its first half profits had been overstated by some £250m (approximately $390m). Consequently, profits for the period are now expected to be around £850m (approximately $1,328.8m) rather than the originally-reported £1.1bn (approximately $1.7bn); quite a difference. The fallout has been catastrophic and has prompted some serious questions that have led to staff suspensions, a delay in publishing its first half results, and the intervention of legal and accounting firms. Following the shock announcement,… Read more

Is time running out for Sony?

MarketLine

  “We must be like the Russians defending Moscow against Napoleon, ready to scorch the earth to stay ahead of the invaders. We must be Sony United and fight like the Sony warriors we are.” Exactly nine years ago to the month, Sir Howard Stringer then Sony’s first foreign CEO roused his comrades with these words, as he aimed to revive the fortunes of the Japanese electronics giant. Nine years on and with the General now departed to pastures new, Sony fights on like a war weary battalion trying desperately… Read more

Alibaba says open sesame to western markets

MarketLine

  Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has increased the price range of its eagerly anticipated IPO to $66-$68 per share, adding further value to the offering, which is already expected to be the largest technology IPO in history (surpassing the $16bn raised by Facebook in 2012). The value could even eclipse the largest ever US IPO – that of Agricultural Bank of China in 2010 – if underwriters exercise options to purchase additional shares. The jump in price means that the IPO could now net over $25bn, valuing the company at… Read more

Economic downturn provides opportunities for private label sector

MarketLine

During a time of financial crisis and low disposable income, consumers are less likely to buy expensive, branded food products.  According to the Office for National Statistics, disposable income available to households fell 1.7% between the end of 2012 and the first three months of 2013; the biggest decline since early 1987. As discussed in the MarketLine case study, Supermarket private labels: growth following economic downturn, this has in turn led to consumers seeking out cheaper private label products that they can afford when carrying out their weekly food shopping…. Read more

Whole Foods: A victim of its own success?

MarketLine

Whole Foods, the US-based organic food retailer, is not now nor will it ever be a cheap shopping experience. Despite its high prices, the company has seen its revenues rise in recent years, as demand for healthy, natural foods has constantly increased. However, despite a whole paycheck being needed to shop at this organic food giant, recently only a fraction of one has been needed to buy the company’s stock. The company has seen its shares fall almost 35% in 2014. The main reason for the stock’s poor performance is… Read more