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International trends and their influences: from bistro cooking to eau-de-vie, Armani and more.

Consumers will be more isolated, more regionalized, more fragmented, more individualistic, more demanding, more informed, more stressed, more discriminating. In a nutshell, harder to get." - Adweek Marketing to the Year 2000.

Are you using the world around you to enhance your bottom line? When you travel abroad, do you study the social climate? If so, what do you bring back with you that can be parlayed into your business?

Retail glory depends on what we know. As with demographics, taking heed to trends is a good starting point toward success.

Don't limit your intake of knowledge. There's a whole world around you. Review trends domestically and internationally. Assess propensities in fashion, sports, travel, politics, etc. Limiting your scope to coffee and tea and the sales thereof is unthinkable.

If you think that you've seen one too many pie charts and heard one too many predictions by so-called experts, think again. Trends are a link of fiscal integrity. A smart business person sees value in all kinds of analyses.

Every day, it seems we are bombarded with information on what the European Economic Community will bring to the marketplace with EC92's unification, how to sell to the Japanese, and other consumer buying strategies. We are seeking brand image sales pitches and guidelines for turning retail into theater while considering the merits of the "infomercial" network.

Gobbling up information on the world, especially in regard to international events, faces and products, should be at the top of your list. Even though it feels as though our world grows closer daily - both technologically and socially, many Americans remain bedazzled by lifestyles overseas. It is particularly apt in politics, fashion, the arts, food, restaurants, wines and spirits and retailing. The commodities of our trade don't go unnoticed either - coffee, tea, small electrics, tabletop, gadgetry, etc. For example, consider Italian design.

Should trendy be confused with pretentious? The answer probably lies more in one's personal likes or dislikes, rather than in one's general aversion to fads, or love for proletarian brands.

Everyday life in Europe becomes trendy this side of the ocean. For instance, an Italian's appreciation of his early afternoon coffee in a standup bar in Rome or the ambiance surrounding a cup of dark roast in a Paris bistro is often Americanized and recreated by individuals hoping to capture a style, a rage, a trend.

What does all this have to do with selling coffee and tea? Plenty. Ask yourself, "How will studying business avenues outside of my niche market help me to sell more coffee, tea, housewares? How will studying business avenues outside of my niche market help me become a better retailer?"

Accessibility to information is the easy part. When you step off the plane after an international trade fair, do you allow your energy and ideas to dissipate? The work begins in evaluating and applying your newly found knowledge. For example, according to the editors of Research Alert and Future Vision, five primary trends are reshaping America: 1. The redefinition of family 2. Changing forces of influence 3. The end of the mass market 4. Outgrowing the youth culture 5. A new American point of view.

If there is a new American point of view, what is it, how did it generate, how will it affect your business?

John Roberts, executive director of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT), says, "You may recall the press coverage our industry received years ago. The serious and important new trends were usually missed; the stories focused on novelties or exotica.

"Today, most news media have knowledgeable reporters covering food, nutrition, lifestyle, and business trends. The final result: Greater awareness among consumers of high-quality specialty foods and a better appreciation of how such products can improve their lifestyle.

"Think of is as a new approach to looking at your bottom line--successfully exploiting a trend to open new business opportunities. As consumers eagerly eat up the information they are served, you keep refilling their plates.

Because of the fickle nature of the public, trends could be here today and irrelevant tomorrow. To protect yourself, contemplate forecasts when assessing the potential of a trend.

If you can't hop on a plane to experience the world firsthand, there are less expensive methods--go to your local bookstore. For instance, in Euroquake, Daniel Burstein offers a wealth of information. "The rise of Europe will be a short-term plus for the American economy," he writes. "Western European prosperity and Eastern European reforms will help drive U.S. exports to record levels. American companies with strong positions in the European market will benefit directly. Many U.S. based multinationals will be earning 20-50% of their profits in Europe, compensating for weak domestic markets.

"The European Community's 1992 program will be a substantial economic success. Most of its ambitious agenda will be accomplished by Dec. 31, 1992, although a number of important matters won't be resolved. The |home market' for European companies will be enlarged, corporation rationalization and restructuring will take place on a grand scale, and productivity will be stimulated. New world-class corporate competitors will come out of Europe to join the global race in every industry."

How's your future vision? Targeting the trend-setting consumer should be part of your action plan from this day forward.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:demographic impact on marketing of coffees and teas
Author:Friedman, Susan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Words:878
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