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Donate a shoebox this Christmas!

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Thursday 23 November 2017

christmas shoebox appeal

This year again we're supporting Inner City Helping Homeless with their shoebox appeal, and we need your help!

Inner City Helping Homeless - a Dublin volunteer organisation - is appealing for Irish people to put together Christmas shoeboxes for the homeless in Dublin city centre. 

If you'd like to donate, please fill a shoebox and cover it with Christmas paper. Please wrap the box and its lid separately as each box will be checked to make sure all items inside are safe to distribute. It is a great help if you can label the box for who it is intended for eg. Male adult, boy aged 5-8, female adult etc.

Drop the shoebox in the Marketing Institute office in South County Business Park, Leopardstown and we will deliver it to ICHH.


What can I include in my shoebox?

Tooth brush – Tooth Paste
Shampoo – Shower Gel
Roll On Deodorant
Hand Lotion
Wet Wipes – Tissues
Underwear – Socks (white socks for men)
Hat – Scarf – Gloves
Small Torch
Chocolate – Crisps – Sweets
Brush / comb

What do I need to avoid?

Mouth wash
Hand Sanitizer – Hand Gel
Perfume – After Shave
Aerosol Deodorants – Aerosol cans of any type (hair spray – body spray)
Razors / Razor Blades

A little note or Christmas card is always appreciated and valued! 

The boxes will be distributed at the Fill A Tram event on the 14th December. It is an amazing day and great fun and atmosphere and Inner City Helping Homeless will be providing free breakfast, dinner and hair cuts to all of their homeless neighbours.


We thank you in advance for your help!


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Black Friday and pre-Christmas shopping plans

Posted By MediaCom, Thursday 23 November 2017

A third of Irish consumers plan to make Black Friday purchases in 2017

We’ve seen headlines of Black Friday potentially waning in other markets around the world. But Black Friday has quickly gathered momentum in Ireland and is having a powerful impact on savvy Christmas shoppers and dramatically changing shopping patterns in the festive season. 

With this in mind, media agency MediaCom conducted a survey to gauge consumers’ attitudes about Black Friday and broader Christmas 2017 spending plans.  



#1 Black Friday Plans: 33% of Irish adults plan to make a Black Friday purchase in 2017. This is up from the 24% who made a purchase in 2016. It appeals most to young females.

#2 Sheer Delight: Almost 71% of those who made a Black Friday 2015 purchase were delighted with what they bought.

#3 Not everyone buys into it: Just under a quarter of Irish shoppers agree Black Friday is an important date in the shopping calendar. But 54% say it’s not important.

#4 Most Irish people don’t budget: Just 27% consumers have a set budget planned for Christmas 2017 – a 5 percentage point decrease on 2016

#5 Average gift spend has reduced: €456 is the average spend on Christmas gifts, down from €493 in 2016

#6 High street wins out, but online is growing: On average, over a third of Christmas shopping is now done online. However, 64% is done in traditional bricks and mortar retail shops.

#7 Are we becoming thoughtless gifters? 66% of us have given cash at Christmas, 45% have re-gifted a present and 30% of 16-34s have sold an unwanted Christmas present online


A third of irish consumers plan to make black friday purchases

1 in 3 (33%) plan to make a purchase during Black Friday this year, skewing towards females and 16-34s.

Just under a quarter (24%) of Irish adults made a Black Friday purchase in 2016, up from 21% in 2015.


An important date on the calendar

23% of Irish people consider Black Friday an important day on the shopping calendar.

Consumers in Connacht / Ulster and Leinster (excl. Dublin) are most likely to find it important at 26% and 29% respectively. In 2016 we saw the importance of Black Friday skewed towards females, but it is now an even gender split.


Buyer’s remorse or rejoice?

One of the biggest criticisms of Black Friday, and indeed sales more broadly, is that consumers are often left feeling duped into buying something they wouldn’t ordinarily have bought. However, our survey results show that is isn’t the case for Irish consumers. Of the 24% of Irish consumers who made a purchase on Black Friday, 71% agreed they were delighted with what they bought, with only 5% claiming to be disappointed. However, 47% of those who bought something during a Black Friday promotion felt they would have made those purchases anyway without the discounts, meaning not all retailers necessarily need to jump on to the trend. 68% of Irish adults feel the event is a gimmick.  


Men more likely to be last minute festive shoppers

So the famous expression goes. The results of our survey shows Black Friday has a positive impact on Christmas shopping costs, with 33% of those who purchased something on Black Friday agreeing that the day makes it easier to afford particular gifts before Christmas. Our survey also found that the majority of shoppers (56%) begin buying gifts at least 2-3 months before Christmas, with women more likely than men to start shopping early. We also found that women are significantly more organised than men when purchasing Christmas gifts; with 31% leaving shopping until December compared to almost two thirds (40%) of men. Men are also more likely to leave Christmas shopping until the last minute rush, with 13% starting their shopping the week before Christmas compared to 5% of females.


Christmas budgets

Less than 1/3 (27%) of Irish consumers have a set budget for Christmas 2017 – a fact likely to ring happily in the ears of retailers across the country. In 2016, 32% of Irish consumers had set a budget. In 2017, women are more likely to budget (31% v 22% of men) and 35-54s (29%) and 55+ (27%) are also more likely than younger consumers.


€493 is the average spend on christmas presents, less than in 2016

On average, people are planning to spend less on gifts than in 2016 (€456 v €493 in 2016). Just under half (49%) plan to spend on home furnishings with an average planned expenditure of €142 compared to €129 in 2016.


Traditional retail stores win out, but over a third of christmas shopping is done online

61% of consumers’ Christmas shopping is done in traditional bricks and mortar stores, down slightly on 2016 (64%).

20% is done via international or internet-only retailer (Asos, Littlewoods, Amazon etc) (vs 19% in 2016), 15% on a store’s website (no change on 2016) and 4% on an app (+2pp on 2016). While still small, the fact that the percentage of spend on apps has doubled and is an important watch-out for ecommerce brands.  


Christmas gifting habits

8 in 10 Irish people have given a voucher as a Christmas present and two thirds have given cash (rising to 80% of 55+).

3% of 16-34s have sold an unwanted Christmas present online, compared to an average of 19%. 45% of Irish people have regifted a Christmas present, highest amongst women aged 35-54 (50%).

christmas gift habits


Sharing christmas wishes dominated by women

Sending Christmas messages or posting cards is dominated by women. 80% of Irish adults have posted a Christmas card, highest for 55+. Young women are most likely to have posted on social media about gifts they’ve received #boydonegood. In total, 20% of Irish adults have done this, but this rises to 22% of females and 30% of 16-34s.



Speaking about the survey, Ian McGrath, Managing Director of MediaCom Ireland, commented:

“I don’t believe Black Friday will reach the same heights in Ireland as it did in other markets. The reason for this is that the retailers and brands have extended the discounting period pre-Christmas now to maximise volume in this key selling period”


Survey background

This MediaCom survey was conducted amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,265 adults across the country nationwide at the end of September 2017. The study was conducted by market research agency, iReach, via their online consumer omnibus survey.


For more information, please contact Ian McGrath at or Vicky Shekleton at

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Global Beauty and Personal Care Trend: Water - The New Luxury

Posted By Vivienne Rudd, Mintel, Wednesday 22 November 2017

Water is the new luxury

According to Mintel’s Global Beauty Analysts, “Water - the new luxury” is one of four key trends set to impact the global beauty and personal care industry over the next decade. This trend explores the role of water in beauty products, including looking at formulations that use water extracted from fruit and plants and assessing the possibility of using recycled water, or no water at all.

In this article, Vivienne Rudd, Director of Global Insight, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel, discusses new opportunities for brands to tap into this trend.


Tapping into new water sources

New sources of water are emerging. Beauty brands can enrich their formulations with various fruit, vegetable and herb waters that offer an element of distinctiveness and reassurance, promising extra benefits and a layer of glamour.


Watermelon water is the new coconut water

estee lauderFruit waters are an attractive addition to a beauty product, appealing to consumers' trust in food-related solutions. For example, 19% of Spanish and French consumers say they wouldn't put anything on their body that they wouldn't eat.

Watermelon water is positioned as a healthful alternative to coconut water thanks to its vitamins and moisturising benefits. The fruit has most recently appeared in Estée Lauder's new Double Wear Water Fresh Makeup, forming part of an intensive moisturising complex, and is present in skincare and wash products. However, none of these products have explored the sensoriality of watermelon water, something that essences, toners and hair rinses and the material would do well.


Banana water could be next

A peek at the drinks industry reveals a potential new fruit water for the beauty industry. Banana Water is said to be an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, making it a great option for skincare and haircare products. So far, banana extract, not water, has been championed by Korean giant LG to add nourishment and moisturisation to a number of Su:um 37 face and suncare products. In other parts of Asia, beauty brands have explored banana's antiseptic and energising properties in hand and foot creams. So far, such products have focused on banana extract and puree. However, by using banana water, beauty brands can differentiate their products and give a healthfood-style positioning in addition to their commercial appeal.


Cactus water pricks the imagination

Prickly pear cactus extract has appeared in a small but growing number of skincare products as a plant water, comprising the bulk of the formulation and headlining the marketing. Nature Republic's Soothing & Moisture Cactus 92% Soothing Gel is a case in point. The gel contains prickly pear grown in the Korean district of Pyeongchang and name checks the amount in the formulation to promote an image of transparency to consumers. Cactus water's fragrance and composition makes an interesting option for refreshing body sprays and splashes, and cooling post-exercise lotions.


Supercharge your H2O

Bottled mineral waters are increasingly boasting functional benefits based on their origins or on added minerals, vitamins or molecules. Beauty brands can adopt this approach to amplify the appeal of their water-based products.


Find new ways to convey purity...

Many consumers drink bottled water because they view it as a healthier, purer alternative to their tap water. Urban Decay found a fresh way to talk about water purity in beauty. It describes the Japanese hot spring water in its Hot Springs Hydrating Gel as 'hypotonic', meaning ultra-pure. This purity allows the water to penetrate the skin's barrier more easily, ensuring better hydration.


Alkaline waters claim anti-ageing benefits

Beauty is increasingly linked with diets, and alkaline is one of the latest buzzwords. Alkaline water is linked with improved energy levels, cell regeneration and anti-ageing benefits for the skin.This association with purity and anti-ageing can turn alkali from a negative to a positive term in beauty products, countering fears of irritation with anti-ageing and acid-balancing claims.


Vitamin waters flow in the bathroom

Vitamin C showerheads have made it from the luxury hotel to the standard bathroom. Showerheads such as the pH Rejuvenate Vitamin C Shower Head Filter claim to improve water pressure by 200%, while saving 35% of water. However, the chief selling point is the vitamin C block in the filter, which is said to effectively remove chlorine and chloramine to leave skin, scalp and hair smooth and soft. The citrus adds an invigorating, stress-busting touch.


Formulate with less water

One in five UK consumers said at the beginning of 2017 that they had changed their bathroom routine for environmental reasons, such as saving water. Yves Rocher has taken note and introduced Concentrated Shower Gels under its I Love My Planet eco-banner. The small bottles contain a concentrated formula that provides 40 showers, and a handy closure ensures that consumers don't dispense more than they need. So far, genuinely concentrated products are thin on the ground, so brands have room to create products that save water yet offer sensorial and active benefits.



  1. Estée Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is described as a lightweight, anti-pollution, super-protective and oil-controlling foundation. It claims to be instantly hydrating thanks to a moisture complex of ingredients including watermelon, lychee seed and apple.
  2. Label Young Banana Hair Essence is formulated with banana juice and features a three-step hair nourishing system to protect hair from perm, dying and drying, while softening it.
  3. Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Cactus 92% Soothing Gel is described as a moisturising, non-sticky gel made with pear cactus and Eastern prickly pear, designed to be used on face, body, sensitive or dry skin areas and hair. 



Vivienne Rudd, Director of Global Insight & Innovation, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel, has been writing about the beauty industry for more than 20 years. The former editor of European Cosmetic News and Cosmetics International, Vivienne has travelled the world, interviewing leading industry executives and reporting on corporate, consumer, marketing and product innovation developments.

For more information on how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, Director Mintel Ireland on +44 (0)28 9024 1849 or

mintel logo

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Time for Ireland’s CMOs to ‘go native’

Posted By Martin Thomas, Social Business Consultant, Tuesday 14 November 2017

social media CMO

There is a game of musical chairs happening in Ireland’s boardrooms, and the head of marketing might be the one left standing when the music stops.  The rise of digital technology has been accompanied by the emergence of new boardroom roles such as Chief Technical Officer, Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer.  They have introduced a new set of priorities to the boardroom agenda and a new language of ‘enterprise software’, ‘big data’, ‘AI’, ‘cyber risk’ and ‘the internet of things’. 

This has left many marketing heads feeling exposed and in danger of being side-lined by their more technology-literate colleagues.  They might find the solution in a survey commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute in the UK, which shows that ‘80% of business leaders think it important to make the most of social media but 70% admitted that their efforts are currently ineffective.’[1]

Social media represents a battleground for influence and an opportunity for marketers.  It is transforming customer service, market research, recruitment, campaigning and internal communications and encouraging the development of alternative business models and new corporate structures.  It has become an integral part of our professional and private lives and dominates the leisure and professional time spent by customers, employees and other stakeholders, which is why, according to the Central Statistics Office, 67% of Irish enterprises employing 10 or more people are using social media, compared with an EU-28 average of 45%.[2] 

There is also a new generation entering the workforce that has lived most of their lives in social media – in a recent conference that I chaired, a group of students described themselves are being ‘born in the cloud.’  They are the true ‘digital natives’[3], armed with an intuitive technical knowledge and understanding that the rest of us can only dream of.  Managing their expectations and harnessing their talents will be a major challenge for every senior manager in the decades to come.

There has never been a more important time for all of us to understand the power, potential and pitfalls of social media and there has never been a better opportunity for marketers to re-establish their influence and authority.  One thing that senior marketing professionals have in their favour is their experience and intuition.  The single most important skill that determines success from failure in social media is the ability to exercise judgement.  This is the reason why even if they might struggle initially to master some of the technicalities, they are well placed to lead the social media debate within the boardroom. Judgement helps them know how to balance the demands of agility and compliance, and understand the importance of operating within regulatory frameworks.  It provides them with an almost intuitive sense that an emerging issue being played-out in social media has the potential to turn into a reputational crisis and helps them understand how to engage multiple stakeholders through a complex array of channels.

Becoming more social media literate will also help marketers safeguard their future prospects.  All of us are defined increasingly in the eyes of potential employers, stakeholders and colleagues by our social media profile and activities.  Irrespective of where we are in our careers, we all need to make the effort to enhance our skills and develop and nurture our personal social media brands if we want to build effective networks, establish useful connections, lead more effectively and put ourselves in the frame for the next job or business opportunity. 

So, no more excuses; no more delegating responsibility to juniors in the team; no more cynicism or complacency.   It is time for Ireland’s marketers to become more social media literate, improve their knowledge, sharpen their skills and help their boardroom colleagues understand how to make the most of the opportunities and minimise the risks.  Their customers expect it.  Even the analysts and industry commentators following their companies are beginning to expect it.  Are they ready to go native?


Chartered Management Institute, February 2014

Information Society Statistics, Central Statistics Office, 20th December 2016

The term ‘digital native’ was coined and popularized by education consultant Marc Prensky in his 2001 article entitled Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, to describe a new generation of students who were "native speakers" of the digital language of computers, videos, video games, social media and other sites on the internet   

martin thomas
Martin Thomas will be leading our Social Media Marketing Masterclass on 1st February 2018.

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The Consumer Market Monitor Q3 2017

Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Monday 13 November 2017
Updated: Friday 10 November 2017

Sales of household goods soaring, despite housing shortage 

Disposable income up by 5.6% for the first half of 2017

- Continued growth in consumer spending expected, with 2.8% forecast for 2017

- The drop in the value of sterling due to Brexit enhancing buying power

- Consumer confidence significantly higher than in the UK and the rest of Europe


Dublin, November 13, 2017: Despite the current housing crisis, spending on household goods is up by 12.7% this year, making it the highest growth sector of retailing in 2017. Spending on household goods has been growing significantly for the last four years, and forecasts predict that 2017 may even surpass the performance achieved in 2016.

These are some of the findings of the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published today by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Data from the Q3 2017 Monitor indicate that Irish consumers are spending on many types of goods and services, but especially on household goods.

“The signs are positive for continuing growth with indicators such as population, employment, and rising incomes. The drop in the value of sterling is another significant factor enhancing buying power. The strength of demand is most evident in the housing market where mortgage approvals increased by 41% in Q1, and the number of homes purchased was up by 8%, despite a shortage of supply. All types of household goods are all growing very strongly,” according to Professor Mary Lambkin, author of the report.   


“The continuing growth in employment is leading to a substantial increase in the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy. In fact, disposable income reached €95 billion in 2016, not far off the 2007 peak of €102 billion. The growing population coupled with the increase in employment and rising income are driving a strong increase in disposable income, which is positive for Irish marketers,” said Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.


Household Equipment

Sales of household equipment have been growing rapidly since 2014, and have been the highest growth sector of retail for several years. The volume of retail sales, which represents real growth, has grown rapidly since 2014, and is now well ahead of the last peak in 2007.

In contrast, the value of sales is still 27% below the peak level, suggesting that prices are still significantly lower than they were in the last boom. 

Some of this pick up is driven by new homes, with purchasers having to equip them from scratch. The lowest point was in 2013 when only 8,300 new homes were connected, but this has increased each year since, with 14,932 new homes connected in 2016, all of which would have required equipment and furnishings. Based on information to the end of September, it is expected that the number for this year will be about 15,450 in total, which is only a 3% increase on last year.


The Home Renovation Incentive

The Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme has also stimulated a lot of spending on household goods, as well as being a considerable support for the building trades and related retail sectors.  There have been 101,232 projects completed under this scheme since its introduction in October 2013, with a gross spending value of €1.6 billion. 10,655 building contractors have been involved in these projects and, given a multiplier of 2-3 for the number of trades contributing to these projects, that may have supported as many as 30,000 jobs.


Types Of Household Equipment

Household equipment is the sum of three categories of household goods: furniture and lighting; hardware, paints and glass; and electrical goods. While all three categories are now experiencing growth, the level of growth has varied considerably. Electrical goods recovered fastest from the recession and are now 42% higher in volume than at the last peak in 2007. Despite being slower to recover, furniture and lighting comes next is now growing at the fastest rate, up 16% for the year to the end of September, slightly above the last peak.

The weakest category, relatively speaking, is hardware, paints and glass. This category’s close tie to construction explains why it has been slowest to recover. However, it has picked up noticeably this year, up by 9% in volume terms for the year to the end of September.


Housing Shortage

Unlike the retail sector, the property sector continues to face unprecedented shortages, with housing demand of at least 30,000 units per annum currently. Although the evidence suggests that construction activity is picking up, it will be a number of years until supply catches up. A range of indicators, planning permissions, commencements and the Construction Purchasing Managers Index, point to a rapidly expanding sector, albeit off a low base.

The number of residential property sales is also picking up, despite the tight supply. 33,096 sales have been recorded up to the end of September, up 10%, signalling a total of 50,000 for the full year.

Every house purchase, whether new or second hand, provokes some spending on household goods, everything from paint and paper, to furniture and fittings. Lending for house purchase, and top-up loans for home renovations is also growing fast. Mortgage approvals for home purchase were up by 34% in the first nine months of 2017, for a total of 24,102, and top-up mortgages were up by 52% suggesting more spending under the home renovation scheme.

Despite the housing supply crisis we continue to face, the market for household goods looks to be in for a positive future.


read report




About the Author


Mary Lambkin

Mary Lambkin, is Professor of Marketing in the UCD School of Business where she teaches courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students and is involved in a range of research projects under the general heading of marketing strategy.  She has written extensively on this subject in academic journals, and also writes commentaries on marketing topics of contemporary interest for professional publications. She has served as Head of the Marketing Group, as Dean of the UCD Business School and as a member of the Governing Authority of the university at various times, and also holds a number of positions in companies and professional organisations outside the university.



About The Marketing Institute of Ireland


The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland's marketing people. It exists “to enable marketers to build great brands and great careers”. It does this by sharing best practice, insights and expert content, building the community of marketers, and aiding marketers in career progression. The three themes of content, community and career underpin all Institute activities. The Marketing Institute also owns and operates the All Ireland Marketing Awards, the CMO Summit, and DMX Dublin, Ireland's largest marketing conference.


About UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School


University College Dublin became one of the first universities in Europe to offer the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA), starting in 1964.  In 1991, the graduate business school opened its own campus in Blackrock, County Dublin.  With over 100 faculty members, 1,400 students and 70,000 alumni worldwide, UCD Smurfit School is one of a small number of business schools worldwide to hold triple international accreditation (US - AACSB, European - EQUIS and UK – AMBA). The school’s programmes have been consistently ranked among the leading European business schools by the Economist and Financial Times, since 2000.


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