June 1999


  • World News Today... daily headlines and abstracts
  • Brain Gum Targets Aging Baby Boomers
  • Online Airline Ticketing too Cumbersome and Unreliable for Major Companies
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  • Japanese Carmaker Enters US Pickup Truck Market
  • Business Outsourcing on the Rise in South America
  • Furby Doll Woos Japanese Consumers
  • Unleaded Fuel to Replace Leaded Gasoline in France
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  • WASHINGTON, D.C., USA -- As if the aging baby boomer doesn't have enough to worry about on his own -- getting squeezed between taking care of aging parents while raising children of their own, office downsizing and restructuring, the widening generation gap (i.e. body piercing and tattoos all the rage among their children's generation), not to mention slower metabolisms, increased fatigue, and yes, I almost forgot, increasing memory loss. These and other stress factors are contributing to the growing trend in the marketplace to deliver convenient, quick-fix solutions to this market segment who might otherwise age gracefully. But how one ages "gracefully" is changing in the new millenium with an increasingly competitive job market, greater financial demands (i.e. higher college tuition rates, real estate costs, etc.) and competitive personal demands with today's high divorce rates, just to mention a few of these stress factors.

    The market is becoming increasingly flooded with memory boosters, flab busters, age-reducing skin creams, potency enhancers, energizers, stress reducers, and more -- all in the forms of technologically-produced edible products. A similar trend paved the way in Japan nearly a decade ago and has crept its way into America's self-consciousness and concerns about aging; and these products are becoming accepted among America's mainstream. One need not look far -- they are available in iced tea products (such as Sobe brand -- one of the market innovators, now followed by industry staple Snapple). And of course, there has been growing interest in health food store and vitamin store selections over the last several years. But what's particularly interesting is how these products have found their way into mainstream consumerism, including a new entry called "Brain Gum." Yes, this is a chewing gum promoted for enhancing one's memory and it is expected to contribute to the estimated six- to10-million-dollar industry focused on aging baby-boomers' worries about forgetfulness. It is simply one of the many new entries into this growing market.... Another recent entry is "Clearly Canadian O+2," a super-oxygenated beverage, scientifically formulated as a superior refreshment product for active people. And old-timers such as Ocean Spray are repositioning their brands to take advantage of the good-for-you trend. Ocean Spray is the industry leader in the100% blends juice market. Their 100% portfolio of juices gives consumers more of what they need and want in a healthful beverage. Their product line leads the cranberry category by providing 130% of the daily requirement of the antioxidant vitamin C.

    Baby-boomers continue to represent a sizable and important market segment and new products are introduced and adapted to this ever-important group. But note that the 85-plus age bracket is currently the fastest-growing segment in the US -- expected to reach 70 million by 2030.

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    WORLDWIDE -- According to a recent study conducted by OAG Worldwide, major companies around the world (including the UK, US and Germany) found that booking airline tickets via the internet was too cumbersome -- limited selections, time-consuming and risky. Only 7% viewed this as the way to book travel in the future. While many online travel services claim increasing visitorship, 90% of the companies surveyed by OAG said they access the internet primarily for information and not for booking.

    Of course many of the new online airline ticketing services are too risky even for consumers -- consider Priceline.com which locks the buyer into a purchase before confirming any information about the route, not to mention delays in receiving confirmation of travel plans. This makes comparative shopping, alternative route selection and even travel coordination difficult, if not impossible. There are also hidden costs in many of the online ticketing services (i.e. taxes) which are added to the prices quoted.

    While many of the online services may be a more efficient delivery system for the travel 'agencies,' the inconveniences can be too much of a burden for the customer -- in particular, major corporations.

    What is your opinion?




      AT [8:00pm] NY TIME ON [6/5/99]
    • 0 YES, I am satisfied with online airline ticketing services

    • 1 NO, I am not satisfied with online airline ticketing services

    • 0 YES, I have ordered an airline ticket via the internet

    • 1 NO, I have never ordered an airline ticket via the internet

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    DETROIT, MI - USA -- The growing US pickup truck market has been dominated by US carmakers; but Japan's leader, Toyota, is gunning for market share of this traditional American icon. This is not Toyota's first attempt to crack the market; but they have learned from previous market introductions.

    Just as Ford announced a new full-size pickup truck, the 2001 Lincoln Blackwood, targeted at the luxury market, Toyota announced the introduction of their competitive model, the 2000 Tundra.

    Initially, the big Four US automakers don't perceive Toyota as much of a threat, because Toyota can only build 100,000 vehicles in a market segment of more than two million -- but Toyota sees its advantage among consumers who prefer imports and who will be attracted to the lower price. 2000 Tundra will be priced at nearly US$1,000 dollars below their competitors' models.
    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    NEW YORK, USA -- According to a recent study conducted by Yankelovich Partners for Price Waterhouse Coopers, South American companies will be spending more on outsourcing.

    Around 40% of the S. American executives interviewed currently outsource business to other companies. This allows them to focus on their core competencies. It also gives them an edge as their businesses become more open to global competition.

    According to industry estimates, the global business process outsourcing market in 1998 was valued at US$80 billion. It is expected to more than double in size to US$200 billion over the next five years.
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    TOKYO, Japan -- Just as American children (and their parents) had been taken in by the talking "Furby" doll introduced last October, Furby has become quite the sensation in Japan as well with its recent introduction to the market -- now speaking in Japanese. Just as American parents waited all night or paid exorbitant sums for the Furby doll, a similar phenomenon has been noted in Japan for the US$33 doll. The appeal of Furby is that it learns how to speak. It starts by speaking like a baby, but as it learns new words and phrases, its language skills improve as well. Tomy Co., the Japanese licensee of the doll, expects they will sell one million dolls by the end of 1999.

    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    PARIS, France -- As of January 2000, unleaded fuel will replace leaded gasoline in France in an effort to comply with EU directives. This will impact 1.1 million vehicles throughout the country, in addition to boats, lawnmowers, mopeds and other equipment that will need to use the new "super-fuel" that will be made for older vehicles/equipment requiring leaded gasoline.

    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

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