Author: Luz Ruiz

December 26, 2019

It is well known that the Christmas season is the strongest in relation to consumerism. The Christmas period collects the highest levels of spending each year, on a large majority of products; fashion, leisure, gift, food and drinks, etc.


These are some of the trends that are expected this year:


Online Shopping

Due to the stress that Christmas shopping can cause (largely caused by the large number of people trying to shop in commercial stores). According to a study by Ipsos and commissioned by PayPal, 51% of mobile users still have concerns about security when they buy through their mobile. Knowing that 95% of Spanish consumers buy online, and that 69% pay through the mobile phone, this is a problem that must be addressed.


Customer service is key for consideration

According to Criteo, “delivering great experiences at every stage of the customer journey is the best way to get noticed, get traffic, and get sales this Christmas season”.


Digital gifts

Digital gifts, such as subscriptions to series and movie or video game platforms, are increasingly present. More and more consumers decide to buy this type of original and different gifts, such as a subscription to Spotify or HBO, e-books or software.

As for the most desired gifts, these items occupy the first places in the list of the most desired:

  • Clothes and footwear
  • Money
  • Books
  • Trips
  • Perfumes and cosmetics
  • Restaurants
  • Smartphones and mobiles
  • Computers
  • Tickets to shows
  • Treatments of beauty, health, spa …

According to Giselle Abramovich from Adobe “The Thanksgiving Through Cyber Monday Weekend Kicks Off Holiday Shopping Mode While shopping did start early this year, the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday accounted for $1 in $5 (19.2%) of total online retail revenue during the holidays.


Consumers spent an average 40% more per day during the three weeks after Cyber Monday than the first three weeks of the season. “We saw that holiday sales spiked on key days and then continued to rise until Dec. 21,” Taylor Schreiner (from Adobe) said. “The rising revenue was due to a steady increase in conversion as opposed to consumers spending more per order.” Adobe also found that retailers reached the $100 billion USD mark 11 days earlier in 2018 than they did in 2017 (Dec. 15 versus Dec. 26)”.



December 19, 2019

In 2019 and 2020, the Japanese economy will continue growing slightly above its potential (which stands at around 0.6%) supported by: the ultra-monetary monetary policy of the Bank of Japan, investments in infrastructures (to prepare the Games Tokyo Olympics 2020), and the measures government to encourage investment business and market share labor.


Japan is a market of high purchasing power, mature and with a lot of international competition, where countries that have a reputation as suppliers of good quality (Spain, Italy, USA, and others) find it easier to sell their products.


According to The International Trade Administration “Japan’s population is declining as it ages rapidly. The population may decrease by as much as one third by 2060, from 127 million to 87 million. The proportion of the population older than 65 will rise from 27% today to 40% by 2060. The Japanese Government and business community seek to offset its effects on economic growth and government budget resources. The aging population shapes demand and opportunities in various segments:

  • Medical devices and equipment
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Healthcare facilities and infrastructure, including in-home care
  • Biotechnology
  • Healthcare information technology
  • Safety-related products and services
  • Robotics
  • Leisure and travel Educational services
  • Home delivery services
  • Financial services

The Guardian states that “Japan's business culture is very formalised and subject to many protocols. It's easy for an outsider unaware of the appropriate etiquette to cause offence accidentally. Greg McCray is the chief executive of Acal Energy, a hydrogen fuel cell company based in Cheshire, which is expanding into Japan. McCray also spent over a decade trading with Japan at a previous company and has learned much about doing business there. "Japanese businesses are very formal, you don't walk in and start telling jokes. You wear a suit and tie, follow protocol and respect the hierarchy of the business," he says.


As for the food industry, the Japanese consumer attaches great importance to food safety and is aware of the adverse effects on health that the excessive use of chemical products have, which is why the demand has increased for organic products.


The Japanese consumer has a high purchase value, is very demanding in terms of quality and relies heavily on Japanese companies that provide them with products or services, whether local or imported. As for agricultural production, the Japanese market does not meet domestic demand, so it requires importing fruits and vegetables in large proportions.



December 12, 2019

Clean technology refers to the products, tools or processes that seek to reduce environmental pollution, and waste. They are elements that hardly require non-renewable resources. It is a very competitive and productive technology that causes less environmental damage than other types of technologies.


According to Marketwatch, “High delivery and superior performance can be achieved using clean technology. Also, it improves customer profitability, by carrying out cost reduction and increases revenue. Such type of technologies are used in large number of industries, comprising water, manufacturing, energy, transportation and advanced materials. Instances of clean technologies are solar and wind energy, industrial process controls, hybrid electric vehicles and water filtration. Owing to the large number of environmental benefits, clean technology is considered to be an inherent part of a sustainable economy.


Although clean technologies are a worldwide trend, some markets are better prepared for its implementation.


EDC states that “a recent report by BloombergNEF, U.S. investment in clean energy hit US$64.2 billion in 2018, surpassing 2011’s previous high of US$62.3 billion. Almost 80% of Canada’s cleantech exports go to the United States under the CUSMA umbrella. In California, for example, long-standing problems with air quality have led to tight emissions regulations. This is driving cleantech research, development and technology adoption in the electricity and transportation sectors. In addition, the growing stress on California’s water resources is escalating the need for advanced technology for water management and conservation. Canada has expertise in all these areas”.



According to EDC, “China’s heavy investment in green solutions—nearly $270 billion USD in 2016—flows from the county’s rapid urbanization and from the need for increased sustainability and reduced carbon emissions. Despite this expenditure, however, a large investment gap remains. This is partly because of falling government subsidies and a growing need for industrial-scale remediation. At a conservative estimate, China’s cleantech needs will exceed $290 billion usd annually over the next four years. This will likely be met not only by the country’s own internal resources, but also by purchases from the rest of the world.

There are opportunities for exports in a variety of sectors:

  • air pollution control and air monitoring;
  • industrial air pollution reduction;
  • power plant emissions reduction;
  • solid and hazardous waste management and recycling;
  • municipal water and wastewater treatment and facilities development;
  • groundwater monitoring,
  • pollution prevention and remediation;
  • and environmental engineering and consulting.

Other important markets

Lynn Coté states that:

“Mexico requires water resources equipment and services, as well as products and technologies for solid waste management, soil remediation, recycling and air monitoring.

Australia is developing smart grids and advanced energy storage. In Vietnam, water and wastewater treatment, solid waste management and air pollution control are key needs”.



December 5, 2019

Japan, located in East Asia, has an area of 377,970 km2. With a population of 126,529,100 people, Japan is a very populated country and has a high population density, with 335 inhabitants per km2.


Its capital is Tokyo and its currency is Japanese Yen. Japan is the third-largest economy in the world by volume of GDP.

The last annual CPI variation rate published in Japan in October 2019 was 0.2%. Japan is one of the countries with the lowest percentage of unemployed people in the world.

There are several reasons why exporting products and services to Japan:


High level of per-capita income

Between 27% and 30% of the per capita income of the Japanese citizen goes to food consumption. Considering that the GDP per capita amounts to USD $ 34,100 per year, the amount of food expenditure per person would range around USD $ 10,000.



Exports from Japan are not subject to any restrictions. The "Export Permit" and the "Export Approval" are necessary even if they only concern internationally recognized goods because they are subject to such restrictions (weapons, nuclear energy, missiles, etc.). The restrictions on rice have been lifted.



According to Santander Trade Portal “Japan has 128 ports, including 23 main ports, located along the Japanese coast. Ports are the basis of 99% of Japanese foreign trade and 42% of internal distribution. The 'Three Great Bays' handle about 35% of all sea cargo in Japan. This group includes the port of Tokyo (six ports, including Yokohama and Tokyo), the port of Osaka (five ports including Kobe and Osaka) and the port of Ise (five ports, including Nagoya). In 2014, the transfer of merchandise by air reached 8,662 million tons per kilometer (the sixth highest volume globally)”.


Doing business

Japan is in the 39th position of the 190 that make up the Doing Business ranking, which classifies countries according to the ease they offer to do business.



Japan has obtained 73 points in the Corruption Perception Index published by the Organization for International Transparency, so its inhabitants have a low level of perception of government corruption.



November 28, 2019

Due to its geographic position and its recent membership to the European Union, Croatia has become an attractive country for investors. Since the country imports twice as much in value as it exports, starting a company in the trade sector can be a profitable decision.


Croatia occupies a strategic location at the heart of Central and Eastern Europe. Its economy is gaining strength and it offers a market with significant growth potential.


Growing economy

The Croatian economy is one of the most developed in Southeast Europe. It is characterised by an increasing number of vibrant and innovative companies across multiple industry sectors. These internationally competitive businesses have strong growth potential and could be excellent partners for UK suppliers.


Emerging Europe

Croatia can act as a gateway to trade with other countries in the Central and Eastern Europe region, a market of over 100 million consumers (World Bank, 2019) which offers great potential for businesses.


Main Benefits (according to gov.ok)

  • about 50% of population speak English
  • increasingly sophisticated consumers
  • modern distribution channels
  • equal rights for domestic and foreign private and legal entities
  • guaranteed free transfer of capital and free profit repatriation to investors
  • average gross wages are high in comparison with neighbouring counties

Strengths of the Croatian market include:

  • good transport links
  • highest Internet penetration in southeast Europe
  • well educated workforce
  • stable economy with a stable currency

The U.S. Commercial Service estates that “Croatia is a small and complex market, but plays an important role in the economic and political stability of Southeast Europe. This region, the size of Texas in area, represents a market of roughly 60 million people and over $600 billion in GDP. It has significant growth potential, as its integration process into the European Union continues and as local populations strive to achieve the lifestyle of the more developed Western European countries that have three-four times higher GDP per capita.


Croatia is in an excellent geographic position to serve as a regional hub for U.S. companies. Zagreb, its capital, is only about a four-hour drive away to Vienna, Venice, Budapest, or Belgrade, and only a two-hour drive from the beautiful Adriatic coast. Croatia has excellent roads, sound ICT infrastructure, and a competitive white-collar workforce. The quality of life in Croatia is very high: it is a safe country, with tasty food, well-preserved nature, a mild climate, and abundant historical sites and other tourist attractions”.