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Since writing a blog, “Worldwide Popularity of Streetwear Ascending,” in December of 2017, the global streetwear market and culture has continued to rise in popularity.  Beginning as a niche market that originated mainly within skateboarding and inner-city communities, the streetwear brand and aesthetic has become a mainstream influence that reaches star athletes and world-famous actors.  With appeal centered especially in Asia and the United States, streetwear captures two of the world’s largest audiences and is now rivaling the status of luxury brands like Italy’s Gucci and France’s Louis Vuitton.

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Under globalEDGE Insights by Country, a variety of indices can be found for each country.  GlobalEDGE has recently updated its indices including the Big Mac Index. The Big Mac Index includes the price of a Big Mac in different countries around the world. This index has become a global standard based on the theory of purchasing power parity, and that over time, exchange rates should move so that an identical basket of goods would have equal prices across countries.  There is a GDP-adjusted index that addresses the changes in prices between countries with higher or lower labor costs.

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One of the world’s favorite beverages and a major source of caffeine for many students and employees, coffee continues to be an integral factor in society’s daily routine.  According to Business Insider, coffee is the second most sought-after commodity in the entire world, with an industry that is worth over $100 billion across the globe.  In terms of exporting alone, the industry is valued at $20 billion and continues to be on the rise—on average, 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed on Earth every year.

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Microwavable TV dinner trays, notebooks, tissues, packages, and newspapers are all derived from one of the world’s most used products—paper.  According to Green America, “40 percent of the world’s industrial logging goes into making paper, and is expected to reach 50 percent in the near future.”  Furthermore, the global consumption of paper has skyrocketed 400 percent in the last four decades, and in the last 20 years alone, the use of paper products has gone up from 92 million tons to 407 million tons in 2014.  The worldwide paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy and is credited for four percent of the entire population’s energy use.

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This is the fourth post in a five-part blog series focused on the consumer products industry.

The European consumer goods industry is in the process of a drastic transformation that could leave the industry looking unrecognizable in the next decade. A variety of forces are driving these developments, including market demographics, changing consumer preferences, new technology, and a changing regulatory landscape.

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This is the third post in a five-part blog series focused on the consumer products industry.

Companies in the consumer goods sector that are trying to expand may want to start looking to Asia.  If a company successfully gains recognition in Asia it could mean a huge amount of profits, however, this is an extremely difficult market for foreign companies to penetrate.  Because this region is experiencing income and economic growth, the people are able to do more and more discretionary spending.  In Asia’s emerging economies, there is about $4 trillion in new spending and as the millennial generation gains income, there are many new first time spenders. 

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This is the first post in a five-part blog series focused on the consumer products industry.

This month’s blog series will provide an overview of the consumer product industry and its future outlook, and then we will analyze the industry by region: North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. By the end of this week, these blogs will offer you a thorough summary of what’s happening in the consumer product industry and emphasize the importance of the industry in the global market.

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Milk has always been an essential part of India’s culture. In the early 1900’s, India's milk production was incredibly inefficient and was struggling with its limited production of milk. Until one individual, Dr. Verghese Kurien caused a dramatic change in his home country. Dr. Verghese Kurien, known as the Milkman of India, is also a Michigan State University alumnus. Dr. Kurien states himself that Michigan State University provided him with the best education and prepared him to achieve his dream.

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On Thursday, United Kingdom consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser placed a bid on Asian firm Mead Johnson for $16.7 billion. Mead Johnson is well known for producing various consumer products, including baby formula, a product with sales of $41 billion in 2014. Asia is currently the fastest-growing market for this product due to the repeal of China’s one-child policy in 2015. Couples can now have two children, after only one was permitted throughout the 36 year long rule. As a result, the birth rate last year was China’s highest in the past century, with the number of newborns rising by 7.9%, or 17.86 million.  

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Traditional grocery shopping will be changing in a big way starting in 2017. Amazon has ventured away from their online domain to shake up the in-person shopping industry. On Monday, Amazon released a video showing off their newest project: Amazon Go. This store has eliminated checkouts, cash registers, and most importantly, lines. What better way to propel an industry into the future than fresh competition.

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In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Michael Porter reported on how the ‘Internet of Things’ is changing everything. The aforementioned phrase has arisen to reflect the growing number of smart, connected products and highlight the new opportunities they can represent. With an estimated impact of $140 trillion, this industrial transformation is the third wave of IT-driven competition in the global economy.

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By 2024, it is estimated that China will have the world’s largest economy – according to global information provider IHS Economics. Earlier this week in a blog post titled “China’s Impact on the Global Economy”, Nitish spoke of China’s rebalancing trend, which is signaled by an increase in consumer imports and a decrease in imports for investment purposes. Although rebalancing may limit other countries’ investment opportunities in China, it will spur growth in China’s economy, the Asia-Pacific regional economy, and possibly even the global economy. It is predicted that a drastic increase in consumer spending will propel China past the United States to become the world’s largest economy.

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After an 18-year effort, the Russian Parliament has finally approved the country's entry into the World Trade Organization. While the other nations of the W.T.O. had agreed to Russia's entry in December, the acceptance still required a majority vote in Russia's lower house of Parliament, known as the Duma. What could have been a routine acceptance, since President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party controls the Duma, was interrupted by strong opposition by the unusually vocal Communist Party. As the ratification dragged on, Russia's economic minister Andrei Belousov warned lawmakers that the agreement reached towards the end of 2011 would expire if not ratified by the mid-July deadline. This sparked a vote by the Duma, which voted 238 to 208 in favor of joining, with one abstention.

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Technology is always changing, causing us to play catch-up on a daily basis. A new trend on the horizon? Mind reading. Today, a variety of consumer products such as games and phone-apps use mind reading technology to captivate users. Last Christmas two new games used mind-reading technology to find the way into many homes. Mattel’s Midflex and Milton Industries Force Trainer both use brain-wave technology similar to the electroencephalograph, which is used to diagnose brain disorders. Many video games are also trying out this new technology. Next year a new Apple app is planned to be released using mind power. This app, Tug of Mind, will be the Apple’s first game controlled by the mind and can be partnered with a NeuroSky headset.

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As of today (July 1st), Japan has significantly relaxed the visa restrictions for tourists allowing the single fastest-growing group of overseas travelers, the Chinese, to be able to travel to Japan. These new regulations will enable another 16 million households to be able to apply for a trip to Japan. This is 10 times the amount of tourist visas that were available before the new regulations. Up to now, Japan had strict regulations regarding visitors from their neighbor to the west; only allowing wealthy Chinese with high annual incomes to travel to Japan. The massive influx of Chinese travelers will hopefully result in a jump in income for many local shopping centers in Japan.

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The first round of the World Cup has definitely been cut throat so far! But the action on the field has not been the only competition centered around the world cup. In our blog series last week we talked about how sponsoring the world cup and advertising during it is not only extremely expensive, but very competitive as well. Any international sporting event brings the opportunity to bring global attention to your brand, product, or even country. The 32 countries that have a team representing them in the tournament have an advantage for international exposure, but other countries aren’t out of the game yet.

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Some people say Wal-Mart, others say Carrefour, but Iran is saying Hyperstar. Hyperstar, found in western Tehran, is Iran’s first large U.S.-style supermarket, financed by a businessman from the United Arab Emirates. It is becoming incredibly successful with an average of 15,000 customers a day! Shoppers consist of mainly middle-class residents who show an increasing interest in shopping and traveling.

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There is no need to carry around all those books any longer! You can thank Amazon’s Kindle, an electronic device sold in the U.S. made for reading e-books and other digital media. Books and other content are downloaded through Amazon’s Whispernet, by using free internet access. Kindles have a 6 inch (diagonal) screen, it holds over 200 titles, and it only weighs 10.3 ounces. Let me know if you find a book like that!

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This is probably not the best economy for European luxury brands such as Versace, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Bulgari, and Gucci. A recent report discussed the impact of Japanese consumers on these major European fashion houses. After the U.S., Japan is the next biggest market for luxury goods. Fashion houses are targeting this market to increase sales. Louis Vuitton is taking steps to form an extra special relationship with their wealthy Japanese customers. However, this strategy will not solve the loss of thousands of Japanese secretaries who used to pay off the most recent handbags in credit card installments. The European fashion houses are going to have to develop a new strategy to keep their middle class customers in Japan during these rough economic times.

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With ever-increasing gas prices tempting empty wallets and bank accounts all around the world, commuters have been propositioned with a solution that gets them out of their car seats and onto their saddles. No, you will (hopefully) not see horses tied-up outside of your office next time you're at work. International businesses and governments are beginning to sell their constituents a new-fangled-old-school technology that has been proving itself popular both on the streets and in the market place: the bicycle.