Category Archives: Customer Service & Social Media Perspective

Evolving Trends and Hottest Ingredients in Sun Protection

THANKS:Maria Coronado Robles/EURO MONITOR INTERNATIONAL

Published; JUNE 18TH, 2017

As consumers are shifting to healthier lifestyles what is inside the products is becoming more important. More than ever before, consumers are questioning the ingredients and their sources and this is having an impact on the ingredients market.

Protection at the heart of consumer preferences

In a little over 50 years, the sun protection industry has evolved tremendously in both the level and type of protection and the aesthetic properties of the products, driven by consumer needs and technological advances, such as new encapsulating technologies and delivery systems. This has allowed companies to feed consumers with more attractive products that protect from a wide range of new environmental and technological stressors, from sun radiation to air and light pollution.

Change with your customers

The world is constantly changing and sun protection is no longer limited to traditional sun care products. Consumers are increasingly aware of the effects of UV radiation on skin health and appearance all year around and this is driving demand for sunscreen ingredients worldwide. Sunscreens are becoming essential ingredients in a wide range of products, from traditional sun protection and daily skin care to hair care, colour cosmetics and bath and shower products. As a result, there are an increasing number of new products and claims reaching the market. Perhaps one of the most interesting launches is Dr Russo Facial Cleanser SPF 30, with three encapsulated chemical UV filters (octocrylene, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate and avobenzone) that remain on the skin once the cleanser is washed off, providing a protective layer.

Aware of the heterogeneous landscape of consumer lifestyles, preferences and needs across the globe, sun protection manufacturers are now targeting specific market segments. Multicultural products designed for different skin tones and environmental conditions or sports products designed for active lifestyles are gaining attention among consumers. In response, companies are launching specific sunprotection lines to cover this gap in the market. For instance, the natural brand UNSUN has launched its Sun Protection For All Skin Tones that do not leave whitening residue; Happy Skin is selling in Filipinas its Catch the Sun line with moringa seed oil that protects against UV rays and pollution and Lancaster is using its new Full Light Technology that can now be found in Lancaster’s Sun Beauty line.

More from less is driving consumer purchases in sun protection

Growing consumer and industry interest in multi-functional products is driving demand for ingredients that can serve multiple functions in their formulations. In fact, according to Euromonitor Beauty Survey, the use of multifunctional ingredients is among the top ten reasons to purchase sunscreens or dedicated sun protection products worldwide.

REASONS FOR PURCHASING SUNSCREEN OR DEDICATED SUN PROTECTION PRODUCTS

reasons-for-purchasing-sun-protection

As consumers increasingly want sun protection products that go beyond simple UV protection, there is a growing need for multifunctional ingredients and simpler formulations. Ingredients suppliers are developing ingredients able to play different roles in the formulation, from UV, light and pollution protection to anti-ageing, skin conditioning and benefiting agents.

Synthetic polymers with multiple functions and benefits such as film formers for better UV and pollution protection, as well as water and sand resistance, are expected to grow by 1,000 tonnes in the global sun protection market over 2015-2020. In this context, Covestro has launched a new waterproof polymer for transparent sun protection that shows an SPF-boosting effect. Demand for emollient esters with excellent spreadability on the skin – able to solubilise organic sun filters and disperse inorganic sunfilters, which also offer a barrier to the natural moisture loss from the skin and improve the sensorial sensation – are expected to grow globally by 2,000 tonnes in the sun protection market between 2015 and 2020. Vitamins and botanicals and especially plant extracts with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory andanti-pollution properties that boost SPF, provide UVA protection and have added skin benefits, are getting a lot of attention from both consumers and manufacturers.

Blending multifunctional actives with multiple claims is an increasingly appealing option which also fits the clean label trend. It enables manufacturers to use less ingredients which ultimately have a positive impact on the manufacturing process and the price of the product. In addition, this makes it easier for consumers to understand what is in their products.

Products that offer multiple properties are especially appealing to the youngest generations of consumers for whom pricing plays an extremely important role. Consumers that belong to Generation Z and especially those who live in developing countries are more likely to purchase sun protection products with multifunctional ingredients than those living in developed countries. These consumers with lower incomes own fewer products and thus want effective and cost-effective formulations with multifunctional ingredients that provide all-in-one integrated solution.

PERCENTAGE OF CONSUMERS WHO BUY SUNSCREEN OR DEDICATED SUN PROTECTION PRODUCTS WITH MULTIFUNCTIONAL INGREDIENTS

percentage-of-consumers-who-buy-sunscreen-with-multifunctional-ingredients

In developing countries such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, where the highest growth in sun protection is expected, between 30% and 40% of consumers opt to buy sunscreen products with multifunctional ingredients, while only 10% of the consumers in Australia, Japan and South Korea consider ingredients’ multifunctionality a key product feature

Opportunities in Western European sun protection

There is an increasing demand for healthier, safer and more effective sun protection products with improved spreadability and lighter textures which offer non-whitening, broad and long lasting sun, light and water protection. This has brought some challenges that the industry has turned into opportunities for a wide range of ingredients to meet consumer needs for convenience, protection and enhanced aesthetic appeal.

In Western Europe, the emphasis on protection is driving demand for a number of sunscreen ingredients, synthetic polymers, botanicals and vitamins, while the desire for easier application and better skin feeling is fuelling demand for emollient esters and hydroalcoholic formulas which tend to be lighter and dry faster.

opportunities-for-growth-in-western-europe-sun-protection.png

Sunscreen ingredients present huge opportunities for volume gains. Although there is a strong growth for ZnO in Western Europe due to the new regulation in place which approves the use of ZnO as UV filter (in its nano and non-nano form), the absolute growth in volume projected for mineral filters is still far lower than that expected for chemical filters. Homosalate is the UV filter which benefits the most from the high SPF trend due to its affordability, its high legal limits in sun protection formulations, its compatibility with other filters and its ability to dissolve and stabilise solid filters such as avobenzone.

Emollient esters with enhanced UV filter solubility and attractive skin feeling are ingredients that present big opportunities for growth. Although synthetic polymers and botanicals which also offer pollution and UVA protection offer smaller opportunities for growth in absolute volume, they are projected to grow at the fastest rate driven by the trend towards natural ingredients and the growing number of anti-pollution sunscreen product launches. Besides this, high-value ingredients such as peptides present further opportunities for growth in the forecast period (2015-2020).

What’s next for sun protection?

Global demand for multifunctional, full protection and long lasting products with increased sunscreen sensoriality, lighter touch and greater spreadability is projected to continue. The major challenges in the years to come are related to the need for safer and more effective sunscreens with fewer and more natural ingredients. Companies are now performing research to optimise the UV delivery systems and to improve the photostability, efficacy and wash-off resistance of the active ingredients with no detriment to aesthetic properties.

The new wave of products that goes beyond UV protection is expected to continue and this provides opportunities for novel ingredients with pollution and full light protection claims to enter the market. For instance, Indena has launched Vitachelox and antipollution active with botanical compounds andGreentech is marketing Soliberine with Buddleja Officinalis flowers that stimulate cellular detoxification systems and protect against blue light and IR rays.

Further studies are being conducted to look for natural alternatives to synthetic UV filters. In this context, the growing desire for natural and skin microbiome-friendly ingredients among consumers, with the recent penetration of probiotics in the skin care market, opens up opportunities for bio-derived sunscreens to reach the market in the long term. Although promising, however, the development of bio-UV filters that emulate bacterial natural sun protection mechanisms is a long and expensive road with many technical and regulatory barriers, especially in the US where SPF products are regulated as drugs and the process of getting approval for new ingredients is an overcomplicated path.

The 10 best computer science schools in Europe

Thanks;Sam Shead 

Published ;May 22, 2017, 4:23 PM 8,383


Technical University of Munich.

A computer science degree from a top university can help graduates land their dream job at companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook.
But which computer science courses are the best ones to try and to get onto if you want to impress employers?
Using the QS World University Rankings 2017, we took a look at the universities with the top computer science and information systems courses in Europe.
The guide is one of the most reputable sources that students turn to when deciding which universities to apply to, and employers are also likely to refer to it when deciding which candidates to hire.
It is based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact. The full methodology can be read here. We looked at the overall scores, which are out of 100.
View As: One Page Slides

10. Politecnico di Milano — The Politecnico di Milano boasts 74 professors at its computer science and engineering department. The faculty achieved a QS score of 74.6 for its computer science and information systems courses.


9. Lomonosov Moscow State University — Founded in 1755 by Mikhail Lomonosov, this university is home to more than 40,000 students. The university’s computer science and information systems courses scored an impressive 74.7


8. Technical University of Munich — With its giant slides, it’ll barely feel like you’re a university student at Technical University Munich. The school achieved a score of 77.2 for its computer science and information systems courses.


7. UCL (University College London) — With strong links to cool new AI startups like DeepMind, UCL is home to one of the UK’s best computer science departments. The university scored 78.9 for its computer science and information systems courses.


6. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) — This Swiss university specialises in physical sciences and engineering. Its computer science and information systems courses received a QS score of 80.7


The Rolex Learning Centre at the EPFL campus

5. The University of Edinburgh — Founded in 1582, the university is the 6th oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s ancient universities. The institution is close to billion dollar businesses like Skyscanner and FanDuel and its computer science and information systems courses scored 81.1 on the QS ranking system.


4. Imperial College London — Not quite up there with Oxbridge, but not far behind either. Imperial’s computer science and information systems courses were given a score of 83.7.


Imperial’s cyber security tuition is as good as you’d expect

3. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology — Twenty-one Nobel Prizes have been awarded to students or professors at EHT and the university’s computer science and information systems courses scored an impressive 85.4.

ETH Zurich


2. University of Oxford — Founded in 1096, the ancient university is still at the forefront of technology, with startups like DeepMind (now owned by DeepMind) having strong links to the institution. Oxford received a score of 87.8.


1. University of Cambridge — The city of Cambridge is one of the UK’s biggest technology hubs thanks in large part to its university, which appears at the top of many global university rankings. The university’s computer science and information systems course received a QS ranking of 88.9


How to make money while you sleep

Thanks;Nancy Mann Jackson

Published: May 10, 2017 4:58 a.m. ET

Create passive income streams

Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, top off your emergency fund or invest more, a little extra monthly income can get you there faster.

But there are only so many hours in a day — and maybe adding another side hustle to your busy schedule just isn’t possible. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow earn more without working additional hours or hitting up your boss for another raise? That’s what happens when you create passive income streams.

Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, top off your emergency fund or invest more, a little extra monthly income can get you there faster.

But there are only so many hours in a day — and maybe adding another side hustle to your busy schedule just isn’t possible. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow earn more without working additional hours or hitting up your boss for another raise? That’s what happens when you create passive income streams.
“Passive income’s great because it increases your cash flow and allows you to save [more],” says financial adviser Craig J. Ferrantino, president of Craig James Financial Services, LLC in N.Y. “The initial effort in some cases is minimal, and you have the ability to collect money on those efforts over a period of time.”

Of course, investing in the stock market can provide earnings over time through market returns and the magic of compounding. But there are also ways to create steady streams of passive income that pay out at regular intervals.

These efforts don’t come without risk. But with careful planning and consideration, you can lower the risks — and initial costs — and increase the potential benefits.

Here are six paths to passive income that may be worth pursuing.

1. High-dividend stocks

When you purchase stock in a company that pays dividends to its shareholders, you’ll start earning a percentage of the company’s profits automatically. For example, if a company pays an annualized dividend of 50 cents per share and you own 500 shares, you’ll get an extra $250 in your pocket — for doing nothing more than being a shareholder. (Most companies pay dividends on a quarterly basis, so you’d earn about 13 cents per share each quarter.)

Certain industries, like public utilities, financial services and oil, tend to pay higher dividends than others, so do your homework with resources like Yahoo! YHOO, +1.31% Finance’s stocks screener or by talking to an adviser.

“If you’re going after dividend income, the sweet spot is not the company that’s currently paying the highest yield, but the companies that are likely to generate growth in dividends in the coming months and years,” says Rob Brown, a Certified Financial Analyst and chief investment officer at United Capital. “Pay attention to what companies and industries are thriving now; they are most likely to raise the dividends they’re paying now in the future.”

You may also choose to reinvest your dividends, which allows you to buy more shares even without spending more money, so you can benefit more when the price rises.

One caveat: Remember that there are risks involved with investing in individual stocks—even ones with high-dividend yield—as the price of the stock can go up or down. You can lower your risk by investing in an index or other low-cost funds, which contains shares of many companies. One option is to look for dividend-paying ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, which are funds that trade like stocks. (Investing apps like Acorns and Betterment use such ETFs and reinvest dividends automatically.)  

2. Bonds

Purchasing bonds can be another good way to earn consistent passive income, though the amount you’ll receive depends on the fluctuating bond market. “Bondholders [usually] receive a check every six months for the interest earned in loaning the entity money, and, in turn, get their principal back at maturity,” Ferrantino explains.

There’s a wide variety of bonds to choose from, including U.S. Treasury bonds, municipal bonds and corporate bonds. Each has its own maturity date, minimum investment, interest rate and payout. For instance, Treasury notes mature in two to 10 years and pay interest semiannually at a fixed rate (currently about 1% to 2%, depending on term lengths, and it is exempt from state and local taxes), while corporate bonds pay taxable interest and can have maturities ranging from a few weeks to 100 years.

Before purchasing bonds, make sure you know what you’re getting into — and what you will get out of it.

Read: How to buy bonds

3. Rental properties

Acquiring and maintaining rental property can require a lot more investment and sweat equity than other types of passive income, both upfront and over the years (if the roof leaks or the boiler breaks down in a rental property, you’re on the hook for it). But rental properties can also provide lucrative, ongoing income for many years to come.

“Rental properties in a market you understand can be a fantastic passive investment,” says Jeffrey Zucker, a seasoned angel investor and property management entrepreneur in Chicago. “I look for large or fast-growing housing markets, where people are clamoring for affordable, nice places.”

Before purchasing a property, Zucker recommends comprehensive due diligence to ensure that you can cover your costs — which likely include insurance, taxes and maintenance — and turn a profit on top of that. You want to invest in a property that will draw continued interest from renters and increase in value.

He also recommends using an experienced property manager. “There are some great property management companies out there that can assist to make leasing out rental properties truly passive mailbox money,” Zucker says. “Having managed our own properties for a few years prior to partnering with a company, we learned the long hours and effort that go into maintaining properties and dealing with tenants — and how much better those who focus solely on this role are at the job.”

4. Rewards credit cards

This might seem like an odd addition — and this is not a strategy to pursue unless you are able to pay off your bill in full each month. However, if you can use credit responsibly and avoid racking up debt, rewards credit cards can provide easy income, thanks to perks like cash-back bonuses. For instance, use a cash-back card for all your household expenses — and pay it off at the end of the month — and you’ll earn money simply by making necessary purchases. (Ferrantino recommends a card like the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa, which gives you 5% cash back on gas purchases and another 3% for groceries and has a low annual fee. NerdWallet also has a ranking of the best cash-back cards, including several with no annual fee.)

“My rewards have paid for a variety of travel experiences, and I have friends that use their points to pay exclusively for a certain [budget] category, like gas or household bills. It’s nice for them to cross an expense off simply by doing all of their planned spending on the right card,” Zucker says. “Be careful though, as many of the best rewards cards have high interest rates for any carry-over debt.”

5. Peer-to-peer lending

Also known as “marketplace lending,” peer-to-peer lending is the practice of individuals lending money to others in place of a bank or other financial institution. In recent years, platforms like Prosper and Lending Club have made these crowdfunded loans more widely available to borrowers and opened the possibilities for investors.

“New, technology-driven intermediaries have been coming in and replacing banks to make small loans to businesses or individuals, and they offer many comparative advantages,” Brown says.

Remember, though, that while investing through a peer-to-peer marketplace can pay off—Prosper investors, for example, can earn about 5% to 9% annually—there are still risks involved and borrowers may default on their debts. One way to protect yourself, Brown says, is by requiring that borrowers’ credit quality is above a certain level, depending on your appetite for risk. You can also reduce risk by diversifying your investment across many different loans.

6. Renting unused space
The sharing economy is in full force, and if you have extra space in your home or spend a lot of time out of town, you can join in and earn some extra cash. Thousands of people are renting out their homes through Airbnb, and sites like Liquid Space and Breather offer opportunities to place your office or home up for rent during daytime hours. (Airbnb hosts renting a single room in a two-bedroom home cover, on average, a whopping 81% of their rent, according to one report.)

“Any unused space is an asset worth renting out if there is demand in your market,” Zucker says. “[Online marketplaces] offer consumers easy ways to make some extra money on rooms that would otherwise be doing nothing for them.”

Three Reasons Why Japan Is Falling Behind in Mobile Commerce

Thanks; 
Published; April 22nd, 2017

Many see Japan as a technology leader in various industries and the country is continuing to develop innovative solutions in the digital space. However, if we look at adoption of technology on the consumer side, there is greater inconsistency than might be expected.

Euromonitor International’s 2016 Digital Consumer Index unveiled a remarkable gap between Japan’s advanced digital environment and the slow uptake of digital commerce, particularly with mobile-based purchases that are increasing rapidly in other Asian countries. Whilst mobile digital purchases registered strong 17% value growth in Japan in 2016, other Asian countries registered even stronger growth, at a minimum of 30%. The leader of mobile digital purchases, China, saw an 81% value increase in 2016. This analysis aims to explore major impediments that are keeping Japan from what should perhaps be phenomenal growth in mobile digital purchases.

mobile-purchases-asia-pacific

CHART 1 : MOBILE DIGITAL PURCHASES IN ASIA PACIFIC, TOTAL VALUE SALES, 2013-2021

1. DEMOGRAPHIC CHALLENGE: LOW PENETRATION OF SMARTPHONES AMONG SENIORS

Smartphones are the catalyst for digital disruption in countries. The leading digital commerce marketplaces have developed platforms optimised for mobile apps. However, in Japan, smartphones are not as ubiquitous as one would expect. In Japan, the population aged over 60 accounts for 34% of the total population, and is characterised by low smartphone penetration. Only 28% of respondents aged over 60+ owned personal smartphones, according to Euromonitor International’s 2016 Global Consumer Trends Survey. This is extremely low compared to other Asian countries. Against the backdrop of low smartphone penetration among seniors, there also is a strong presence of feature phones that offer fewer functions in exchange for ease of use. As a result, a sizeable portion of the Japanese population is unable to take advantage of digital innovation.

CHART 2 : POPULATION AND SMARTPHONE OWNERSHIP IN JAPAN, 2016

population-smartphone-owners-japan

2. LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE: HIGH SECURITY CONCERN AMONGST JAPANESE CONSUMERS

In addition to the relatively conservative nature of Japanese consumers, there also has been a lot of media coverage on cybersecurity from the early digital era, which has made consumers concerned. For example, Consumers Affairs Agencies regularly warns against cyber-crimes due to the growing prevalence of e-commerce. As a result, Japanese consumers are highly concerned about the potential risk in online activities. In fact, only 6% of Japanese online respondents answered that they were willing to share personal information online, which was the lowest in 20 responding countries, according to Euromonitor International’s 2016 Global Consumer Trends Survey.

This hesitation toward sharing information online is especially true with mobile users. Many Japanese consumers utilise long commuting time on trains for mobile activities, but still feel uncomfortable entering their credit card information aboard a busy commuting train, afraid that other riders may see their personal information on the screen. Additionally, many are reluctant to let mobile devices store payment information, and would rather use alternative payment options, such as cash on delivery. In general, Japanese consumers are typically risk-adverse, and remain cautious about making payments on websites. Despite the rise of card payments worldwide, Japanese consumers bucked the trend, opting to more often pay for purchases with cash compared to other developed countries. Within Asia, while 85% of mobile remote orders were paid online in South Korea, only 51% were paid in Japan.

CHART 3 : WILLINGNESS TO SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION IN ASIA PACIFIC, 2016

willingness-to-share-personal-information-japan

3. COMPETITION: MATURITY OF EXISTING SHOPPING OPTIONS VERSUS MOBILE COMMERCE

Another reason why mobile digital purchases have struggled to gain wider acceptance in Japan is due to the many other shopping options that Japanese consumers already have. One example of competition for mobile proximity payments is maturity of contactless payments using a physical card. This is because in Japan, consumers prefer to use a physical card to touch an NFC-enabled terminal rather than a device. Therefore, many mobile proximity payment brands such as Suica and Edy also offer consumers physical cards along with the digital payment option. Contactless smart cards, registered a 26% value CAGR during 2011-2016, and in 2016 Japanese consumers held an average of three contactless smart cards per person; far higher than in other Asian countries. Without a compelling reason to switch from contactless smart cards to mobile proximity payments, most consumers are satisfied with using card-based tap-and-go payments in an in-person environment.

SUMMARY

The gap between the advancement of mobile-centric products and actual adoption of mobile commerce amongst consumers is something businesses in Japan need to address. Communication with the customer or data collection made via mobile devices can be valuable, but is currently ineffective due to this gap. Over the forecast period, mobile digital purchases in Japan will continue to face these demographic, lifestyle and competitive obstacles.

However, there are positive developments that can help drive mobile commerce. For example, 2019 will be the first year with production of feature phones planned to be discontinued. Following the increase of low-cost smartphone plans, a switch from feature phones to smartphones can be expected. Moreover, solutions are being introduced in response to the high security concerns among Japanese consumers. For example, the mobile-focused fashion marketplace called ZOZOTOWN, implemented a post-pay product in 2016. GMO post-pay allows ZOZOTOWN customers to make post-pay options by cash, at convenience stores, after safely receiving their products. This is important as in Japan, credit card payments are mostly paid in full each month. Therefore the introduction of post-pay service will lower the hurdle and expand mobile remote purchases for those consumers who can only spend a limited amount of money each month, such as students and housewives. The post-pay options will support expansion of remote purchases while also meeting the demand of the cash-driven society.

Recognising the gap between digital connectivity available and digital commerce uptake, digital innovators and promoters like Suica should make concerted efforts to address concerns among Japanese consumers while promoting mobile digital purchases like Mobile Suica. Although mobile digital purchases in Japan is expected to see a strong 11% value CAGR at constant 2016 prices over the next five years, growth could be even stronger with consumers’ greater acceptance. In fact, other Asian countries are expected to see more than 20% value CAGRs. If Japan wants to remain a digital leader, its wider society needs to be incentivised to adopt mobile technologies. At the moment, it isn’t empowered – or interested enough.