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Indulgence and Emerging Markets Fuel Global Ice Cream Growth

February 2014

Emerging markets-fuelled growth drives impulse ice cream to become the largest subcategory, but demand for take-home varieties is also rising fast outside the developed world. A range of positive macroeconomic factors, such as infrastructural developments, contribute to the dynamic growth, but the high demand for indulgence and affordable luxury are key to growth globally. However, the highly consolidated market environment and product seasonality remain the main challenges for manufacturers.

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Impulse ice cream outgrew take-home varieties in 2013

Emerging markets-fuelled growth drives impulse ice cream to become the largest subcategory, but demand for take-home varieties is also rising rapidly outside the developed world.

Emerging markets’ macroeconomic environment drives stronger growth in impulse ice cream

The economic growth-driven rise in disposable income but still relative low level of domestic freezer ownership creates an advantageous environment for rapid growth of impulse ice cream.

Low competition to impulse from substitute products in emerging markets

Artisanal ice cream and frozen yoghurt expected to remain predominantly developed market products until the end of the forecast period, presenting low competition to impulse ice cream in developing markets

Take-home ice cream still driven by indulgence

Consumers’ price-sensitivity continues to be high in core take-home ice cream markets but indulgence is still the key trend in the category.

Promotion of year-round consumption key to growth

Ice cream faces the challenge of uneven year-round growth. Seasonality is hitting harder the impulse ice cream categories and in the take-home categories manufacturers can deploy a variety of marketing techniques to promote all-year-round consumption.

Leveraging brand equity from other categories

Manufacturers are blurring the lines between ice cream and adjacent categories. Brands that cannot keep up with the high speed of innovation in ice cream are unlikely to succeed.

Consolidated global market environment

The Unilever-Nestlé duopoly makes global ice cream a consolidated market environment, raising high entry barriers for potential new players.

What this report includes

  • Top-level strategic analysis of how major consumer trends will influence global markets
  • Consumer insight
  • Impact across all relevant consumer markets
  • Unique graphics and case studies
  • Key market snapshots
  • Accompanying presentation to synthesise main findings

Why buy this report

  • Identify factors driving change now and in the future
  • Understand motivation
  • Forward-looking outlook
  • Briefings and presentation should provoke lively discussion at senior level
  • Take a step back from micro trends
  • Get up to date estimates and comment


Key finding

Impulse Outgrows Take-home Ice Cream Market

Impulse ice cream becomes the largest category
Growth of impulse consumption generated by emerging markets
Middle East and Latin America offers most dynamic outlook
Impulse ice cream target markets largely emerging economies
Take-home ice cream also conquering emerging markets
Impulse ice cream growth potential in lower unit price markets
Market characteristics to consider for expansion strategies
Niche ice cream varieties remain developed market treats
Unilever/Nestlé duopoly rules global ice cream
Magnum’s “White Space Strategy” a key to success
Mapping out opportunities in global ice cream

Emerging Regions Drive Growth in Impulse Consumption

Impulse ice cream growth drivers stronger in emerging markets
Growing spending power of young emerging market populations
Domestic fridge-freezer ownership remains relatively low
Development of modern grocery retail infrastructure fuels growth…
…but primary channel for ice cream remains traditional retail
Unique distribution platforms to capture new consumer base
Key trends in impulse ice cream also point to emerging markets
Impulse ice cream an affordable indulgent snack product
Strategies of strongly-performing impulse ice cream brands
Weak competition from artisanal ice cream and frozen yoghurt
Impulse ice cream an ideal emerging market indulgence product

Finding Growth Opportunities in Take- Home Ice Cream

Growth dynamics in take-home ice cream
Price-sensitivity continues in largest take-home markets…
…but indulgence still the key growth driver
Beyond indulgence: Novel flavour developments
Strategies to promote year-round consumption
Leveraging brand equity from other categories
Iconic confectionery brands in ice cream: Losing share
Iconic ice cream brands launched in confectionery
Aiming for nutritional credentials in ice cream
Adding nutritional value rather than taking fat/sugar out
Growth pillars in take-home ice cream


Identifying growth drivers in global ice cream


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