When one of the first Western explorers, Marco Polo, finally reached China in the 13th century after a long and difficult journey, he was stunned by the magnificence of its culture, wealth and power. Many centuries later, China continues to be one of the most exciting consumer markets worldwide – and Mintel intelligence is helping many businesses succeed there.

And with Chinese middle class interest on premium European goods growing at a phenomenal rate, it looks like there’s no half measures in China. Our latest research on the beer market in China, with analysis by Mintel Director of Research in Asia Pacific, Matthew Crabbe, proved to be a real success in the media this week, hitting the headlines worldwide, and it was featured in: The Times, The Wall Street Journal (Market Watch), Financial Times, Yahoo! News, Beverage Daily, Web India and Daily News & Analysis in India, Xin Msn in Singapore, Food Processing in Australia, The Malaysian Insider in Malaysia and Hospitality Industry in the Netherlands amongst others around the world. China is now the largest beer market in the world, with an all time high total volume of 50 billion litres in 2011 and a growth of 29% in volume terms in the past five years, for a total market value of RMB 454 billion in 2011.

And the taste of China’s middle class for European goods doesn’t stop with beer – it also includes other premium products, such as Belgium chocolate. Another big story this week has been the luxury chocolate company Godiva’s plans to capitalise on China’s sweet tooth by doubling the number of its stores in the country, whose chocolate market  is set to see annual growth of 11% from 2010 to 2014, according to Mintel’s data. “Godiva has always been a premium brand and it’s something very appealing given Chinese sensibility about gift-giving and appearance,” said our Global Food Analyst, Marcia Mogelonsky, to Bloomberg. Marcia and Mintel’s data on the same story were also quoted in: L’Echo in Belgium, Global Times???? and ??? in China, Inside Retail Asia in Hong Kong and Caribbean News.

The news of drinks giant Diageo expanding its presence in Africa further with the introduction of a new apple-flavored alcoholic drink, Snapp, targeting female consumers also came up this week. Mintel’s Global Drink Analyst, Jonny Forsyth, was called by Bloomberg for an exclusive interview on the Diageo launch: “I’m surprised they think it’s a big enough market in emerging middle-class female consumers in Africa. Diageo may have the opportunity to develop its own audience though it could run into cultural resistance to women drinking on a continent where many consumers shun alcohol for religious reasons.” Jonny said.

In the meantime, we achieved not one, not two, but three separate New York Times articles in just one week span. The first mention appeared in a story about a food and wine festival in Aspen, Colorado that referenced our Dining Out: A 2012 Look Ahead report. The second included our consumer insight into male shaving habits for a profile of the new Schick brand’s ad campaign while the third highlighted our refrigerator and dishwasher purchase motivations for a story about a new web series recently launched by GE. Next up, Reuters interviewed Beverage Analyst, Garima Goel Lal, for a story about coffee prices. Garima was quoted as saying that consumers are “drinking less premium coffee or buying cheaper brands than last year as coffee companies hiked prices multiple times.”

As it has been the case many times this year, our insight into the Black Haircare market, and our figures on relaxer sales and usage (36% of black women say they no longer relax their hair) have gotten the media’s attention, this time appearing in a National Public Radio story, as well as one in The Detroit Free Press. More on hair care, IOL in South Africa used Mintel data in a piece titled “Big Hair? Go for dry shampoo” while Eastern Eye mentioned Mintel on the popularity of male grooming.

And while eyes might be the mirror of the soul, don’t forget about the eyebrows! Now a big business in the UK, with many major beauty retailers now having an instore brow bar, our Head of Beauty & Personal Care Insight, Vivienne Rudd, explained to The Daily Mail: “Good brows are like good underwear – the right shape and size puts the rest of the face into proportion and makes everything look right.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Davidson, senior vice president at Mintel Comperemedia, was quoted in a press release this week that pointed out the fact that April of this year marked a 25-month low for credit card direct mail volumes. The story got excellent attention across the country, as it was picked up by Bankrate, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com, Consumer Affairs and MediaPost Marketing Daily. More on finance, our Head of UK Financial Services Research, Toby Clark, was interviewed by Sky News on banking services, following Marks & Spencer’s announcement to launch its own instore banking service.

Additionally, an ABC News piece referenced our sales outlook figures for the meat alternative market while Convenience Store News used our menu data (US menu items with poultry as an ingredient have risen 12% in the past 3 years) for a profile of the poultry industry. More on chicken, Mintel data was refrenced in a Daily Mail article titled “New vegan ‘chicken’ sells out in days with promise of authentic texture and taste… but can it impress our meat-loving tester?”. On the retail side, our Director of Retail Research, Richard Perks, was interviewd by BBC Radio 5 Business News and City AM on Tesco’s falling sale figures.

Meanwhile, our news story on changing consumer habits for our 40th anniversary continues to get good pick up worldwide and this week received coverage in: Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Okenzone and Media Indonesia in Indonesia, De Telegraaf in the Netherlands, Bergens Tidende and Aftenposten in Norway.

Closing out the week, our story on recent Mintel Global New Product Database  claims that found “kosher” to be the most popular product claim really got the media talking and the story appeared in Packaging Digest, QSR Magazine and Restaurant Management.

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