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Why Belgium (Flanders) is a blueprint of the European market

Many multinationals such as Coca-Cola and Uniliver test new products in Belgium. Appiness – a start-up in Aalst, Flanders – decided to surf this trend by launching Spott, an app that automatically connects people to more info about what they see on TV.

Ideal test market
With 11.2 million people living in a surface area of just over 30,000 km2, Belgium is a small yet populous country. “The smaller the market, the faster we can bring new products to the consumer and find out whether they like it,” Jonas De Coomon, marketer at Appiness, explains.

In addition, Belgium is located in the center of Europe, with 80% of the continent’s purchasing power situated in a radius of 800 km around its capital, Brussels. “Belgium is a kind of miniature Europe and its economy is very similar to that of Europe, making the country a representative and thus excellent test market,” adds Maarten Princen, marketer at advertising agency Expliciet in Hasselt (Flanders).

Diverse market, easy distribution
Located at the crossroads of three major cultures: Germanic, Roman and Anglo-Saxon, Belgium has 3 official languages (Dutch, French and German) and is home to a very diverse, multicultural society and test market. Yet, all of this comes together to form one comprehensive system and distribution network – making it easier for companies distribute their products. “Belgium has become a veritable blueprint of the European market,” Princen adds.

Test results that matter
“If consumers in Belgium are willing to buy your new products, then chances are even higher that the average European consumer will do so too,” De Cooman points out. “Good test results here usually guarantee similar results in the rest of Europe.”

However, it’s not just the Belgian test market that’s in high demand with multinationals. Local enterpreneurs deserve their place among the world’s top product developers as well. “Belgium is a great source of affordable talent, from top designers to developers,” De Cooman concludes.

About Belgium and Flanders
With Dutch as its official language, Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen) is the northern region of Belgium. The capital of both Belgium and Flanders is Brussels.

Reported by
1 September 2016

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