Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category
The Sunday Times best small companies to work for list has this week been published and yet again, even in these trying times, small companies show that even with recent job losses and pay cuts/freezes, employee engagement is key to a profitable future. The survey findings also show many similarities to what we see in all the employee satisfaction surveys we carry out at B2B International – your staff are not solely motivated by salary!
Looking at those companies in the top positions, most invested in training while others organised charity work or benefits other than salary to keep employees motivated. Communication was also key and was increased in an effort to encourage people to come up with cost-saving ideas. As a result, many of the firms that are staff focused are now in a better state of health and with a more engaged workforce comes confidence that they can deal with the future, no matter what it throws at them.
For more information on how B2B International can help your company’s employee engagement programme visit http://www.b2binternational.com/research-and-intelligence/employee-engagement
Because Information Technology is one of the sectors we specialise in researching, we always keep an eye on the latest news and industry trends. Marketing Magazine has recently published a sector update, which we thought might of interest to some of our readers:
These are tough times for PC and laptop retailers. Technological development may mean that manufacturers are constantly introducing products, but pressure on prices has been fierce. As a result, many sellers rely on sales of peripherals and accessories to make a profit.
Specialist shops have faced competition on several fronts: online retailers; manufacturers such as Dell selling direct to consumers; and mixed goods retailers, including Tesco and Argos.
Spending on PCs was down 8.8% in the first quarter of 2009, according to Mintel, but the fall is expected to be 5.7% for the year, with information-processing equipment sales as whole worth a total of £5.3bn.
As well as price deflation, the market has been hit by the wider economic climate, with many shoppers cutting back on unnecessary expenditure or delaying bigger-price purchases. However, with laptops available for as little as £300, the market has been opened up to those who might have been deterred by the cost in previous years.
Online retailers have an advantage over bricks-and-mortar stores because they can carry much bigger inventories. In the face of undercutting by generalist stores, specialists must differentiate themselves through their service and expertise. Apple’s stores show how the retail environment can become an experience in itself with the right investment in interiors and staff.
PC World, owned by DSGi, dominates the specialist sector and has a market share of about 26% through its 160 stores and website. It has adopted a cross-channel operation and has invested in advertising support, explaining to shoppers that they can buy online and collect in store if they choose. Apple has expanded its retail operation significantly so that, with 24 stores in the UK, it has doubled its market share in the past two years to 5.7%.
Dell, the PC manufacturer that broke ranks by selling direct to consumers, has also widened its distribution network, and in 2008 began to sell through third-party retailers such as Tesco and Currys.
The arrival of the US market-leading electrical products retailer, Best Buy, into the UK next year is expected to shake up the sector. While it will bring economies of scale, Best Buy’s investment in Carphone Warehouse means it will also have the benefit of the mobile-phone retailer’s customer insight.
Mikro Anvika remains the biggest of the independents with 10 stores, most of them in the London area, but its turnover has recently been declining.
Notable online stores include Dabs and Ebuyer, but they are not focused solely on computing, also selling other equipment such as cameras.
The products offered by retailers affect the market and the introduction of netbooks – smaller, stripped-down laptops – has lowered the entry point for consumers. Thus, while these products have offered a boost to the market in terms of volume, they also represent down-trading.
Industry estimates put netbook sales at 15% of the market in 2008 and some ISPs have started to give them away as a means of extending their reach. Netbooks are also easier for non-specialist retailers to sell, as their reduced functionality requires less expert knowledge among sales staff.
Recovery in this market is going to take some time. It will not be until 2014 that the market will return to near 2008 levels, according to Mintel. Between 2010 and 2014, growth is predicted to be 4.9%, which means that value will reach £5.6bn in 2014.
If PC specialists can find a way to address the requirements of the older generation, this growing demographic may help their position.
Home and recreational goods sales by value (£m)
Source: National Statistics/Mintel
Types of computer bought by price
Base: 2000 internet users aged 16+, June 2009 Source: GMI/Mintel
Computer retailers by sales and number of outlets
To find out more about our I.T. market research capabilities, please click here.
Visa Inc. has just released its annual global Commercial Consumption Expenditure (CCE) index, which is recognized as an industry benchmark for measuring commercial spending globally.
This year’s index estimates that global commercial spending grew to $90.2 trillion in 2008 – up 11% from 2007’s CCE index.
According to the survey, the fastest-growing area was Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Across these regions, b-to-b expenditure grew by almost a quarter (23.7%) to $7.4 trillion. Latin America/Caribbean also experienced significant growth in business spending of 17.4% (to $5 trillion).
Although ‘only’ seeing a 9.6% rise on 2007 business spending, Western Europe remains the biggest spending region – some $31.9 trillion. B-to-b spending in Asia-Pacific this year, at $23.4 trillion (13.5% growth), exceeded that of the U.S. ($20.3 trillion, or 5.3% year-on-year growth) for the first time. 84% of the Asia-Pacific total was made up of the region’s major economies – China (US$7.2 trillion), Japan (US$6.2 trillion), India (US$2.7 trillion), South Korea (US$2.1 trillion) and Australia (US$1.5 trillion) – although it was many of Asia’s emerging markets which experienced the strongest growth – Myanmar (40.3%), Sri Lanka (33.1%), Papua New Guinea (31.3%), Vietnam (29.4%) and China (28.3%).
The CCE index captures business-to-business purchases to acquire goods and services used in production, wholesale and retail purchases of final goods, business capital expenditures and government spending on goods and services.
Hot on the heels of the ESOMAR Global Market Research report, the Market Research Society’s most recent survey of the profession reveals that the UK industry fared comparatively well in 2008. However, 2009 has brought its own challenges that may compromise industry growth this year.
In the face of a grim global economic outlook, total UK market research agency revenue grew by 6.2% in 2008 according to the MRS, as compared with global growth of just 4.5% (reported here). This was driven, in large part, by international growth with international revenues jumping by 12.5% compared to 2007.
In Marketing Magazine’s latest market research league table, B2B International’s performance has outstripped this industry average, with a 24% rise in year-on-year turnover seen in 2008.
In their analysis of the results, Marketing magazine point to 2009 being the year when the recession truly begins to bite for the market research industry. Curtailed client budgets, increased consolidation within the sector, rising research demands and downward cost pressure are all cited as key challenges that agencies must address if they are to truly weather the ongoing storm.
Client-side, anecdotal evidence appears to suggest that the most pressing need from research partners is data that can truly influence, rather than merely support, business decisions. At B2B International, we’d like to think that this overarching aim is central to our ethos – To deliver “market research with intelligence”.
To learn more about B2B International’s range of market research and consultancy services, please click here.
Market research remains on the agenda
There’s no doubting that times are tough for many companies right now. So it’s pleasing for us to note that marketers are continuing to recognize the value of market research in helping their organizations to not only survive, but thrive.
A further 4 out of every 10 is not expecting to see a change, but even this can be taken as a real positive at a time when marketing budgets are being squeezed and marketers are coming under pressure to justify any expenditure.
B2B International has recently published a white paper on measuring and maximizing the return on investment of market research. To read this paper, please click here.