Outside insights

McKinsey China podcast on global Chinese brands
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Where are China’s rich stashing their cash?

Flush with cash, China’s rich are seeking ways to preserve, as well as expand, their wealth. McKinsey partners discuss what China’s wealthy are looking for when they shop for private banking services.

Tax increase on luxury goods in India

What increased taxes mean for luxury consumption in India

India’s increased personal income tax and raised duties on luxury goods does not bode well for domestic luxury consumption. Despite a growing appetite for luxury goods, the market faces some steep challenges in 2013.

Dan Ariely
Elsewhere from McKinsey

How to turn consumers green

Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, considers the dichotomy between what environmentally conscious consumers say they want to do and what they actually do.

Guy Yalif

Decoding Twitter users

In a recent keynote talk, Guy Yalif, Twitter’s head of global product marketing, discussed how the company’s biggest mobile adherents are more likely to be active, engaged users and a receptive audience for brands.

Bicycles are a status symbol for wealthy executives

For wealthy Chinese, bicycles become status symbols

Motivated by a nostalgia for the days when two wheels were the primary means of transport, rich Chinese are buying bicycles that cost $16,000 and up, more than the average citizen makes in three years.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO

Quote of the week

“We don't make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com, in an interview with the Harvard Business Review

Retail tracking cameras

When stores, and credit firms, watch you shop

Brick and mortar stores are using new “smart” security cameras and cell phone tracking services, to glean the sort of information about their customers that online retailers are already able to get.

Outside insights

The growth of zero-TV households

A small group of video enthusiasts is tuning out traditional TV—and the trend is growing. According to Nielsen’s Fourth Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report, the US had more than five million “Zero-TV” households in 2013, up from just over 2 million in 2007.

Christine Moorman
CMO Survey

In search of marketing excellence

Christine Moorman, a professor at Duke University, lays out the ways in which high-performing companies approach marketing in a fundamentally different way than low-performing companies. Hint: they don't pinch pennies.

Social media in Vietnam
Outside insights

Vietnam's social media crackdown

Vietnam is Facebook's fastest growing market and the country’s online population is the world's eighteenth largest. Yet there is evidence that the Communist Party’s efforts to gag dissent may be working.

The future of marketing
The Wharton Future of Advertising Program

Advertising in 2020: The demand for marketing on-demand

McKinsey's Jacques Bughin and David Edelman argue that in the future, there will be no more spam. To consumers, marketing won't be an intrusion but rather will offer personal, on-demand, relevant services and experiences.

Myths about Chinese consumer spending

The myth of the reluctant Chinese consumer

Conventional wisdom holds that the Chinese save too much money and spend too little to adequately fuel economic growth. The belief that China’s consumption is too low is a myth based on a flawed theory and a superficial reading of official data, say two Chinese economic experts, writing in the Financial Times.

Consumer trends for 2013

Made in America, transparent brands and other top consumer trends for 2013

Consumer research firm Trendwatching.com has identified 10 ways that consumers’ expectations are changing. Expect to see Americans to latch onto stories about domestic manufacturing and for savvy shoppers to embrace brands that use ‘big data’ to offer money-saving strategies.

Executives are ending the year with an outlook that’s more positive
Elsewhere from McKinsey

McKinsey's December 2012 Global Survey reveals signs of hope

Executives are ending the year with an outlook that’s more positive than negative, according to McKinsey's recent survey on economic conditions. Respondents believe that demand for their companies’ products or services will increase in the next six months.

Cinnabon in Tripoli open for business

Cinnabon brings consumer capitalism to Libya

Cinnabon, the Atlanta-based bakery chain, is at the vanguard of a potential business boom in the North African country, which deposed dictator Muammar Qaddafi last year in a bloody civil war. In July the unit of Focus Brands became the first US franchise to open since the revolution, with a two-level, upscale Tripoli outlet.
Gilte Groupe's Alexis Maybank
Elsewhere from McKinsey

"The data is central"

Gilt Groupe provides instant insider access to today’s top designer labels and has grown to almost $500 million in sales since opening up shop in 2007. Co-founder Alexis Maybank talks about how they did it.

Zara retail sucess

How Zara brought process innovation into fashion

Zaradoesn’t have famous designers and its advertising budget is minimal. So how has it become the world’s biggest fashion retailer? Among the reasons, according to this article in the Atlanticexplains the keys: a short and responsive supply chain and proximity to much more expensive retailers give life to its mantra of affordable luxury.

facebook data for sale

Facebook to retailers: Data for sale

Facebook’s new tool will allow online retailers to know more about what members of the social network are buying their goods. It’s one more way the social-media giant is trying to monetize its information; it has also bought an enormous amount of data-mining information. But will Facebook users like the practice?

Loyalty 2012

The changing face of loyalty

Unlike medieval knights, today's consumers are pretty fickle. But they do have their loyalties, when it comes to brands. For a start, think technology. Specifically, think of tech companies that begin with the letter “A.” That’s the result of the most recent Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List, which surveyed almost 50,000 Americans in 83 categories. One trend to watch: Retail and beauty—and personal-care brands are getting less love.

McKinsey China podcast on global Chinese brands
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Talking about China

How do McKinsey's experts see the future of China? Download free podcasts on subjects ranging from the role of women to private equity to relations with Japan.

Average US internet usage

By the numbers: How Americans use the web

Nielsen has some fascinating statistics on Americans and the Internet. About 215 million have used the Internet in the past month and the average time online per person is almost 29 hours. Plus, a list of the top 10 web brands.

Urbanization is propelling growth across the emerging world
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Unlocking the potential of emerging-market cities

Most companies still take a national or regional view when allocating resources for global growth. They should shift their focus to fast-growing cities.

Bertil Chappuis
Elsewhere from McKinsey

What are America's iConsumers thinking?

In this video on YouTube, Bertil Chappuis, a senior partner at McKinsey, outlines five US trends from the firm’s iConsumer survey, which asked 20,000 Americans how they explore the digital world, and what they would like to see next.

Online Publishers Association study reveals attitudes of today’s tablet usage

Keeping tabs on tablets

Consumers love tablets, but in the trenches of retail, matters are a lot more complicated. Ad Agedetails how major retail outlets are removing Kindle tablets from shelf space, promoting their own tablets and trying to make life difficult for Amazon.

Consumer outlook for luxury brands

Raining on Burberry's parade

The wildly successfulBritish fashion house issued a profits warning,and promptly lost $1 billion in market value. Is this a sign of things to comefor the luxury sector as a whole?

McDonald's plans first vegetarian restaurants in India

Big Mac, hold the burger, please

McDonald's serves no beef in predominantly Hindu India and also offers halal food for the country's Muslims. Now the fast-food giant is experimenting further, by opening two vegetarian outlets.

Online Publishers Association study reveals attitudes of today’s tablet usage

What are tablet users like?

The Online Publishers Association has some answers in this detailed report (PDF). Among them: Almost three-quarters use the device daily. They spend 14 hours a week on it. And most prefer reading on their tablet to reading on mobile phones, computers, newspapers, and magazines.

Wealthy Asian buyers are “snapping up” property around the world

5 things to know about Asia’s millionaires

There are 3.7 million of them, according to the Asia Society, and China alone has 562,000. They like cars and travel and real estate—a lot.

Shopping with a cause

Shoppers with a cause (?)

Does cause marketing—making social and environmental good works part of the brand—work? Does anyone really care? Nielsen got answers to those questions from 28,000 online respondents in 56 countries.

Latest consumer spending stats from July 2012

The skittish US consumer

The “new normal” persists: Gallup found that spending in June (as reported by Americans themselves, not including normal monthly bills, cars or homes) was $70. That’s in line with the rest of the year. One interesting note: Americans who make $90,000 or more cut their spending sharply, to $116 (from $136).

Cities of the future
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Global cities of the future: Interactive map

Some 65 million people a year move into cities. That changes the way they live—and buy. Check out this interactive graphic of 2,600 metropolitan areas to see how and why the urban world will define the future.

Pew survey on books

The new ecosystem of books

How do people figure out what books they want to read? And then how do they read it? Pew surveyed some 10,000 readers and librarians to find out. Among the findings: Word-of-mouth is still most important, but online algorithms are gaining authority. Plus, there’s much more about the changing world of the book.

Top US retailers in 2012

All about America's top retailers

Who are America’s 100 biggest retailers? Who is the fastest-growing? (Hint: It has no stores.) Who is the biggest department store? What foodie has the most restaurants? (You may be surprised.) Check out this special report, including tons of lists,on the US retail industry, from Stores magazine.

CMO survey
CMO Survey

How does your company grow?

New results from the CMO survey suggests that companies are taking more risks to boost growth, says founder Christine Moorman in this article in Forbes.

Economic Conditions Snapshot, June 2012
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Gloom, but perhaps not doom

Eurozone madness, US sluggishness, slowing growth in emerging markets: No wonder executives tell McKinsey’s Global Survey that they are more pessimistic than they were three months ago.

Making sense of social media
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Making money from social media

Everyone gets it: social media is important. But how can companies use it to make money? In this series of videos, three McKinsey partners—David Court, Roxane Divol, and David Edelman— answer that question.

Russian luxury market

Russia's preferred bling

What luxury brands are Russians most interested in? A systematic look at more than 150 million online consumer queries  by the Luxury Society provides some answers. One nugget: The top six brands are all car brands, led by BMW, and then comes Chanel.

Apple logo

Valuing the world's best brands

What are the world’s most valuable brands? The Financial Times recently published its annual reckoning. The top brand (we’ve provided a hint above), the FT’s research estimates, is worth a cool $183 billion. And nine of the top 10 brands are American.

African consumer report

Africa's diverse consumers

Most companies think of Africa as a single, continental market. That’s a mistake, says McKinsey partner Nielsen in this in-depth report on the African consumer. Nielsen argues that local execution is the key, and identifies seven unique consumer segmentations based on demographic and attitudinal differences.

CMO survey
CMO survey

Demystifying marketing analytics

Spending on marketing analytics is expected to rise 60% in the next few years. But do companies know how to make such information a critical strategic asset? The Chief Marketing Survey has some answers.


The state of America’s Hispanic consumers

In 2010, America’s 52 million Hispanics had a buying power of $1 trillion; by 2015, that could be $1.5 trillion. The Nielsen Wire looks at the social and economic dynamics of this population.


In Russia, small retail is big

Russian retail was almost static in 2011, but mini-market revenues rose 10 percent, more than any other sector. The Nielsen Wire analyzes these and other trends.


What are Americans buying?

And how has that changed since the late 1940s? One tip—a lot less money on food; a lot more on housing. Take a look at these fascinating charts from:

P&G’s CEO, Bob McDonald at WSJ.com event

P&G and the green consumer

P&G’s CEO, Bob McDonald, talks about the green consumer—and why the company is not reaching out to them specifically.

Josh Leibowitz and Aaron Rettaliata at the NRF convention
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Meeting consumer expectations in a multichannel world

McKinsey’s Josh Leibowitz and Aaron Rettaliata spoke at the National Retail Foundation convention about how retailers can satisfy consumers. One key insight: It’s not all about the price.

Where readers are

Where the readers are

Where do readers live? Defined as adults who read books two or more times per week, GfK MRI has the answers. One intriguing note—eight of the top 10 are in cold climates.

Inflation in India

Inflation and the Indian consumer

India is in a sticky moment, with growth slowing and inflation rising. How are consumers adapting? And what can companies do to ride out the storm? Raj Hosahalli, an expert with Nielsen, a McKinsey partner, suggests some answers in this video and analysis. One surprise: CPG companies can actually benefit.

Jennifer Aaker
Elsewhere from McKinsey

The power of trust

Jennifer Aaker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business speaks at McKinsey’s Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Forum event in Stanford about how brands can connect with consumers. Among her topics: Trust, health, getting attention, and throwing brand parties.

10 predictions about China in 2012
McKinsey Quarterly

10 predictions for China in 2012

Gordon Orr, a director in McKinsey’s Shanghai office, offers 10 predictions about China in 2012. Two of them: Real estate will stagnate and green investment will thrive. Read more

James Russo

What's In Store: 2012

James Russo (VP, Global Insights, at Nielsen), leads a discussion on subjects including how to reach an increasingly polarized market; defining value; and targeting powerful consumer segments.

Talking heads
Talking head

Five ways to change how consumers act

In an interview with Fast Company, Unilever CEO Paul Polman discusses how the consumer goods giant is trying to change consumer behavior. In a phrase, it isn’t easy.

India opens up to the retail world

India opens to the retail world—a bit

After weeks of angry debate, the Indian government announced on January 11 that foreign companies will be allowed to invest 100% in single-brand retail outlets and chains, up from 51%. That works for branded chains like Starbucks and Gucci—but still excludes stores like Wal-Mart and Carrefour.

Economic conditions
Elsewhere from McKinsey

What global executives are thinking about the economy

McKinsey's quarterly survey  shows that executives’ views about the global economy are more optimistic than in June—but gloomier than in September.

CMO Customer survey

What consumers want: CMO survey

The CMO Survey asked top marketers: “For your largest market, rank your customers’ top three priorities.” Here are the results over the last three tumultuous years.

Manmohan Singh

India's retail reform stalls

Is India rolling back the recent legislation that would have liberalized the rules for foreign retailers? No, says the government. Yes, says the left-of-center opposition. But the bill is certainly suspended and the argument is fierce, as this Indian news video and analysis makes clear.

Ewan Duncan
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Do you know where your customers are?

Even though evidence is mounting that the customer decision journey (CDJ) covers a dizzying array of digital touch points, many companies aren’t there. Internet advertising represents 15.8% of global advertising spend, trailing TV (40.2%), and even newspaper advertising (20.2%). McKinsey’s Ewan Duncan and colleagues discuss what to do. From the Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Forum website.


Yo-Yo Ma and the modern consumer decision journey

McKinsey principal, Whit Alexander, speaks about how businesses can use the art and science of the CDJ to better target customers. From the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Forum website

Dave Edelman
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Getting into the wireless wallet

Banks, restaurants, and retailers of all kinds have a plan to sell you everything from your next meal to your next mortgage, all from the comfort of your cell phone. McKinsey’s Dave Edelman and Jack Stephenson, head of mobile marketing and ecommerce at JPMorgan Chase, spoke with McKinsey's What Matters about the future of mobile marketing.

Dobbs and Oppenheim
Elsewhere from McKinsey

Meeting global needs

With up to 3 billion people set to join the global middle class in the next 20 years, how in the world can their needs for energy, materials, food and water be met? Read the 209-page report and listen to McKinsey directors  Richard Dobbs and Jeremy Oppenheim discuss these challenges.

Tariq Shaukat
Elsewhere from McKinsey

The loyalty paradox

Everyone values loyalty—presidents, generals, friends and, yes, corporations. US companies spend $50 billion a year on loyalty programs alone. And if you get it right, loyalty programs can generate as much as 20 percent of a company’s profits. McKinsey’s Tariq Shaukat examines why, and how, so many companies get it so wrong.

Forsyth and Copeland

Insights into action

McKinsey consumer experts, John Copeland and John Forsyth, explain "How to turn consumer insights into profitable action" in this new blog for Forbes

Online shopping

Google analytics in real life - Online checkout

The web is supposed to make shopping easier. This funny video from Google Analytics shows why it often isn't.

Outside insights

Top e-commerce apps in India

Top e-commerce companies in India

eBay India

NG Pay


Shopping assistant


SOURCES: IAMAI Mobile Internet Report, themobileindian, indiaranker, McKinsey

Outside insights

Where is Generation Y?

Gen Y across the globe

% of population born from 1980-95

South Africa: 32%

India: 27%

Turkey: 27%

Brazil: 25%

China: 25%

World: 25%

Russia: 22%

North America: 21%

Western Europe: 18%

US Census Bureau, McKinsey; photo: Flickr/iipstate


Snapshot: Mexico's most popular fast food

March 2012

Popular fast-food chains in Mexico

1. Burger (Burger King 48% market share, 6% growth)

2. Pizza (Domino’s 73%, 2% growth)

3. Mexican/Latin American (Gordita’s, 21%, 9% growth)

4. Chicken (KFC, 61%, -2% growth)

5. Cafes/bars (Starbucks, 47%; 22% growth)

SOURCES: Euromonitor, McKinsey


Prediction 2016:
The future of US retail

US retail market trends

Where retail is growing (projected compound annual growth rate, 2010 to 2016)

E-commerce: 8.5%

Club: 4.9%

Dollar: 4.8%

Supercenters: 4.6%

Pet: 4.1%

Where retail is shrinking 

Mass merchandise: - 3.0%

Toy: - 1.7%

Books: - 1.1%

Source: Nielsen, Retail USA: What’s in store for 2016