Month: December 2015

AE Research Focus 2016

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of 2015 and preparing for 2016. This year went by so quickly, and I don’t think we’re alone in this feeling. Many of our clients and peers have said the same. But here we are. It’s December 22, 2015 and we’re about to go on a very short break for the holidays. When we get back, it will be 2016 and we’ll be off and running again.

The year 2016 promises to be an interesting year for us here at Antilles Economics. As I’ve mentioned in other posts (see here and here), we research for both our clients and ourselves. The Green Economy continues to be one of our core research areas. We believe that greening has the potential to transform the Barbadian economy by enhancing competitiveness and supporting the formation of new areas of activity within traditional industries such as manufacturing, tourism and energy. In 2015, we were a major contributor to the Caribbean Electric Vehicle Expo and Conference, which investigated the potential economic and environmental benefits of the greater utilization of electric and hybrid vehicles in Barbados. In 2016, we will continue to focus on niches within the Green Economy and invite our stakeholders – companies, government entities and other interested parties – to contact us if you have any suggestions on which niches we should prioritise.

Another area of interest is the consumer market. We started this work in 2015 with the survey we conducted on Customer Experience in conjunction with brand development firm, Blueprint Creative Inc. This survey uncovered a number of insights about how consumers respond to positive and negative customer experiences, and how they share their experiences with others. We will continue our work to understand the Caribbean consumer and the impact of branding in 2016. We also recently published a short article looking at the trends in consumer spending pre- and post-slump in Barbados. If the trends we’ve observed continue, 2016 could be one of the strongest years for consumer goods and retail companies since the economic slowdown started in 2008. But all segments will not benefit equally, and we intend to delve deeper into these differences in the coming year.

Our final area of focus for our internal research in 2016 will look at demographic and societal change in the Caribbean and the implication for economic development and how business is conducted going forward. Whether through elevated rates of emigration or the emergence of new cities and residential hubs, the movement of people within the Caribbean is changing how business is being conducted. The traditional national boundaries of markets are increasingly becoming challenged and once efficient distribution networks are starting to seem obsolete. Understanding these changes will feature highly on our 2016 research agenda.

If you missed any of our 2015 articles, our roundup of the last year of research articles is noted below:

AE Research Methods

From time to time, we are asked for details about the research methods we use when uncovering insights. This is a tough question since we use so many, and the method ultimately used in a project depends on the data and the topic being investigated.

Generally, we use both primary and secondary data collection methods, and a wide range of statistical analysis techniques. For example, we have used surveys and statistical analysis to collect information on and analyse the impact of a change in legislation on the demand for medicines (click here to read about it); and we have used secondary information and linear regression to forecast premiums and claims in the insurance industry (click here to read more). In both cases, we adapted our approach to suit the question we were investigating.

To learn more about other methods we use, click here to read our 2015 Research Methods summary. The methods outlined in this document are not by any means the full list of our tools. If you would like more information, click here to send us your query.

The Recovery of Consumer Spending

The Barbados economy appears to be emerging from a prolonged economic slump, fueled mostly by personal consumption. In large measure, funding challenges appear to explain the contraction in consumer spending experienced throughout the downturn, and the shift from purchasing non-essential items (such as vehicles) to purchasing essential items (such as food) over the last 7 years. The year 2015, however, may turn out to be a pivotal year, as all sources of funding appear to be on the rise. This is positive news for consumer goods and retail businesses, as 2015 could mark the return of at least moderate growth in consumer spending.

Read more about the Recovery of Consumer Spending here.

To learn more about how Antilles Economics monitors economic and industry developments, click here to learn more about our Dashboards.