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Mintel's European Trends 2016 - An Overview

Posted By The Marketing Institute, 02 February 2016

Bright and early on Thursday, 21 January, 2016, Mintel’s Senior Trends Consultant, Richard Cope, delivered a talk on Marketing Trends for 2016, at a Marketing Institute breakfast, where his five main predictions were established for 2016.


Explored the growing demand for water free and concentrated products, as people become more sensitive to the threats to water supply in developed areas. Some of the reasons for the increased level of conscientiousness include:

  • Effects of drought on agriculture in countries we depend on for imports such as almonds, oranges, tea, coffee
  • The proposed introduction of water taxes in Ireland – the “luxury” of free water threatened
  • Developed areas such as California and Sao Paulo suffering water shortages – it could happen anywhere

The effects of this trend can be seen in innovative services such as Waterless car washes and in beauty products such as dry shampoo, cleansing lotions and face wipes.


The Netherlands are currently leading in beacon based marketing and the rest of Europe are expected to follow this trend. Beacon technology is being used in innovative ways such as ‘smart shelves’ (which allow you to tap on a product and view information regarding ingredients, sourcing production etc.), for recognising returning customers to give them loyalty benefits and even to remember individual customer orders in restaurants that they visit frequently.

Customer surveys indicate that people are willing to give more information to the shops they like, if the promotions they receive are relevant to their specific wants and needs. Statistics show that:

  • 50% of UK stores use location based technologies to track their customers
  • 30% intend to use this to send promotional offers and targeted offers to customers
  • 26% of people in R.I. say that they are willing to give brands they like personal information- although the actual percentage of people who do so without realising is much higher.


TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business between the EU and the US. This has stemmed fears of weakening the EU Regulations on sourcing, ingredients and ethical matters.  Notably, 70% of food in US supermarkets have been genetically modified.

Perhaps as a result of this, the demand for organic food (chemical and pesticide free) and artisan products (craft beers, coffees, sauces, soft drinks) is on the increase – especially in France and Germany.

Alternative (meat free, gluten free, dairy free) food products are becoming more popular – 2016 has been dubbed the ‘International Year of the Pulse’ (legume).

Other developments in this trend:

  • Big companies such as McDonalds and Chipotle are going GM Free.
  • Organic food is becoming more affordable.
  • Supermarkets are sourcing their products locally.


Reducing Wait Time

The aging population calls for better service on home deliveries – People expect faster delivery time. In supermarkets, you can now have your order delivered to your door in 1 or 2 hours (varies between competitive supermarkets) Car boot deliveries are becoming popular due to convenience.

Increase In Need For Space

Due to urbanisation, there is less space available than there used to be. By 2050, 70% of the worlds’ population will live in cities. People are becoming thriftier - 57% of people in the UK say they borrow/rent rather than buy where possible.

A lack of space in built up areas means that people renting smaller places to live but also renting storage space. Renting as an alternative to buying (homes, cars, and machines etc.) increases transience which means less commitment.


Augmented reality in marketing is being used to reassure clients in a very clever way. For example, before booking a holiday resort, it is possible to do a virtual tour of the complex to help the consumer decide if they’re making the right decision prior to purchase. Research on this trend suggests that:

  • 50% of consumers are aware of augmented reality 
  • 33% of consumers are interested in augmented reality

These figures are expected to increase as new developments in this area gather the attention of their target audience and the media.

Entertainment wise, the younger generations are particularly interested in it. Virtual concerts, sports games, marathons and in-flight movies are just some of the uses for augmented reality in the entertainment world.

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