'Global trends in the 21st Century'

There could not have been a better place to hold the last AIMRI meeting in Paris on October 12th 2007. The Hotel de Castilogne is situated in one of Paris' most charming quarters. Next to the Place de la Concorde and La Madeleine the hotel offered an impressive setting for an exciting AIMRI meeting - convincing by the rich diversity of different subjects. The speeches were accompanied by lively and inspiring discus-sions about the global trends in the 21st century which we are now facing. The simul-taneous translation was very felicitous.

This headline left enough space for a vast variety of subjects. The day began with an informative and very practice oriented speech by Elfriede Meyer-Ronneau and John Attfield. They gave us delightful insights into the perfidies of international fieldwork. This speech was not only informative but also - due to its charming anecdotic charac-ter - the humour one needs to proceed in international field work was not forgotten. Elfriede and John shared their rich experience in international fieldwork with all its pleasure and effort with us. We do now know how many different issues we need to consider when we try to do market research contemporeneously in different countries ' translation issues, cultural differences of all kinds and even local language prob-lems within one country, to name just a few. But since they also pointed out how to solve at least some of these problems, I still feel very motivated to do international fieldwork. I would like to thank you again for the entertaining questionnaire you handed out I kept it as s souvenir on my desk.

And on we went with Ruth's clear speech about the changes in the US consumer market. Even if a large part of the audience does not take part in the US consumer market, every one of us could easily recognise him-/herself or his/her kids in one of the groups Ruth pointed out ' Babyboomers, Generation X or Millennials.

But speaking of changes in the US consumer market also requires paying attention to other groups besides the different generations. You also need to consider the differ-ent ethical backgrounds consumers have. In this context hispanic consumers are of particular importance. This group is not only important because of its size, its specific feature is that the Hispanics are very keen on keeping their own cultural identity. They have both an American and Hispanic way of life. Changes in consumer generations and different ethical groups come along with changes in their shopping patterns. While we discover more and more shopping malls in good old Europe, the trend in the US is pointing into a different direction. The magical term is called 'Town Centers'. US consumers are sort of rediscovering open air shopping and they do combine it now with multifarious entertaining facilities. With all those interesting details Ruth set the point that there is still a lot space for market research in the US consumer market.

Speaking of global tendencies in the 21st century clearly implicates to mention the developments in China and India. Dan Park's speech about the history of those two markets surely was a highlight of our meeting. His brilliant and detailed talk gave us the great opportunity to learn more about those two countries and their economic specifics. After comparing and contrasting the opportunities and threats presented by the two countries, Dan Park gave an overlook about the likely outcomes and the im-pact of China and India. Focusing again on market research he pointed out four ar-eas of focus with their different priorities. Simply summarised market research has to

* Elaborate how globalisation takes place beyond physical trade in the markets and which are the drivers of social change

* Analyse the processes of value creation and value adding while keeping in mind the complex supply chain management this requires

* Determine the possibilities of China and India being collaborators and not only competitors on the international markets and how to participate in different ways (export, manufacture, licensing, co-production etc.) in these economies

* Take a closer look at the Chinese and Indian consumers and their cultural backgrounds, which differ quite a lot from known western patterns.

With EX.TEN.SO Jacques-Pierre Mariot from acme© Marketing introduced a tool, which allows us to get to know the world of tomorrow with its designs for life, expecta-tions and new behaviours. To get to this astonishing results EX.TEN.SO is based on Classical psychology cognitions and on the cooperation of experts, insiders and deci-sion makers, who already know a lot about the trends in their field of expertise. The tool divides our environment of today in 16 socio-economic territories and depending on the research question experts of the concerned fields are heard to elaborate fu-ture-oriented scenarios. With all this analysed and densified knowledge the future has already begun with EX.TEN.SO.

After an excellent lunch with very entertaining conversation, the meeting continued with Allen Cooper's contribution about the media utilisation in the developed world. I must admit that I had not thought about the technical, medial and communicative opening of the developing countries so far. That is why Allen's remarks were all the more interesting to me. I was especially surprised by the large amount of studies InterMedia has conducted regarding this topic. Since we had heard about problems in 'normal, international' fieldwork, we could easily imagine what kind of challenge it must be to do international fieldwork beyond the developed world.

Unfortunately, this interesting day could not be closed with David Young's speech about 'Market research in a virtual world'. We all had looked forward to it. But thanks to all of you who took part in lively discussions about the other speeches the extra time was filled in a very agreeable manner.

What else could be a better conclusion for such a pleasant day than a short shopping or sightseeing break followed by a lovely dinner in a fancy Parisian restaurant? I guess I am speaking for every one of us who had the pleasure to take part in this meeting, when I say that this was the perfect ending for our meeting. So, don't be shy and take the opportunity for a short trip to the pleasant town of Malaga and join the next meeting in February! 

Noellie Buesselberg

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