February 21, 2019 by Sujay Seetharaman

1. Where do the Aussies shop?

In an exclusive study by trends data provider SEMRush, digital data collected over the last three years shows a growing affinity in Australia for “Made in Italy” products. China had topped the list as the preferred cross-border eCommerce destination in 2016 and 2017 until Italy took over in 2018. The study also points out a downward trend in loyalty towards “Australian made” products between 2016 and 2018. Despite this decline, the preference for locally manufactured products remains robust among locals. After locals, come shoppers from the US, India, the UK, and Vietnam.

2. Sainsbury-Asda merger in doubt

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the UK raised a series of concerns about the proposed £10 billion merger between Sainsbury’s and Walmart-owned-Asda, that included increased prices and reduced quality and choice for customers. The proposed merger between the two supermarkets would create a chain of 2,800 supermarkets and convenience stores, their combined market share (31%), would outpace that of Tesco’s (27.7%) and the three entities together would control nearly 60% of all groceries sold in the UK. In its preliminary report, the CMA said that “it would be difficult for the companies to address the concerns it has identified” and that a significant number of stores would probably need to be sold before it gains approval.

3. American Eagle Outfitters to launch in Europe

American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) announced this morning that it would expand its American Eagle and Aerie brands across Europe through a multi-year licensing agreement with AEO EU, a partnership of European brand builders. The first American Eagle stores are set to open in Ireland this summer. After that, the company will reportedly launch an EU-focused eCommerce site and implement a three-year store expansion strategy across Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, the UK, and the Netherlands.

4. Kroger and Ocado announce additional fulfillment centers

US retailer Kroger, in partnership with UK online grocer Ocado, announced two additional fulfillment centers in the US. As part of a major automation deal, Kroger has committed to building 20 CFCs, powered by Ocado, to accelerate its ability to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere. This announcement comes at a time when other big retailers like Walmart, Amazon, and Target are racing to provide groceries as fast as possible. Kroger has also invested in a direct-to-consumer grocery platform, an expanded deal with Instacart and in self-driving cars, in a bid to stay ahead of the curve in the grocery game.

5. Vegan fashion continues to grow, Beauty dominates

According to Vogue, Paris has outlined plans to become the capital of sustainable fashion by 2024 and research has shown a 12% increase YoY in France’s vegan products. Beauty dominates the cruelty-free fashion market above all categories, constituting 82% in the UK, 40% in the US and 62% in Germany. According to Mintel Research, Germany is the global leader in vegan food and drink product and development. This market experienced an impressive 131% increase YoY in vegan products in January 2019, followed by the UK at 75% YoY and the US at 11% YoY.


Sujay Seetharaman

Market Analyst @ PipeCandy

Currently donning the Researcher's hat. Talks to himself.