For expats celebrating the holidays is all about home, according to Jason Kelly of Kelly's Expat Shopping.

For many expats, holiday shopping is a dull experience. It’s often done entirely online, and the glow of a computer screen is hardly a fair substitute for the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping season.

Perhaps that’s why they flock to small specialty shops in droves each December. Expat Marketing talks to Jason Kelly, who owns and operates Kelly’s Expat Shopping with his Dutch wife, Kelly (yes, that makes her Kelly Kelly). Jason explains why “the personal touch” is so appealing this time of year.

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Source: VIP Communications; click to enlarge

‘Tis not only the season to be jolly, but also to phone home–particularly for African expats.

VIP Communications, a provider of international calling services, recently released its 2011 Holiday Calling Report, a look at the seasonal calling habits of over 40,000 expat customers from 100 countries. It measured both average daily call volume and average time spent on the phone. In addition to Christmas the report included data for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

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Facebook use is fairly high among expats, even in regions where internet penetration is in the single digits; click to enlarge

A majority of expats use Facebook as their social network of choice, according to HSBC’s 2011 Expat Explorer Survey. Even in countries where only 3-4% of locals use Facebook over half of expats are on the site a couple times a week.

Overall, 69% of expats use Facebook and 52% use it once a week or more. LinkedIn came in second at 40%, followed by Twitter at 14% and MySpace at a meager 2%.

But can businesses targeting expats turn this trend into cold hard cash?

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The Expat Banking Poll aims to engage expats on a seemingly boring topic.

Banking and finance are industries with a traditional, yet somewhat dry image. For marketers, it is often challenging to communicate their services without boring their target, especially when it comes to younger expatriates.

By sponsoring a banking poll across different social media sites, Lloyds TSB International aims to engage expatriates by opening a “fun” conversation about a seemingly boing topic. The participant with the most original expat banking story wins a new iPad 2.

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Source: PWC; click to enlarge

A paradigm shift is underway in global mobility. Record numbers of positions will move overseas as the global economy integrates more tightly and emerging markets mature. As the number of international assignments grows, companies will look to their youngest employees to fill them.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report titled Talent Mobility 2020, the number of international assignments will increase 50% by 2020, to nearly 400 per large organization. The youngest professionals, the so-called “millennials,” will hold the bulk of these jobs. 80% of those PWC surveyed said they wanted to work abroad at some point, a trend that held across both developed and emerging economies.

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According to Alex Alpert, Business Development Director at Wheaton Worldwide Moving, brands can improve their image by portraying human qualities on social media.

Let’s face it. There are industries consumers simply love to hate (ahem: banks, insurers).

For these industries, the brave new world of social media has proven challenging, to say the least. Younger people are particularly difficult for these firms to reach.

The problem is these companies are viewed as impenetrable, faceless monoliths. So insists Alex Alpert, Business Development Director at Wheaton World Wide Moving and joint re-Founder of remobilize.org (a new movement for relocation professionals that aims to create professional development workshops and networking events young professionals actually want to attend).

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David Pryor, Senior Executive Director at MediCare, says there is fierce competition for young expat professionals.

The medical industry has been quick to spot potential in the young professional demographic. These expats often purchase the same level of cover as older expats, but claim much less, making them a profitable customer segment.

David Pryor, Senior Executive Director of MediCare International, talks to Expat Marketing about this group’s health insurance needs and how best to reach them.

David, what makes young professionals so attractive as a target group?

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The Just Landed website has a whole new look...

Just Landed has launched a redesigned website. Key changes include a fresh look, easier navigation and a brand aimed at today’s expatriates. The site is also now optimized for viewing on tablet devices such as the iPad.

The new features complement existing content: more than 50 country guides, an international job board, a marketplace for property and a social community where expats the world over can connect with one another.

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Rupert Bedell, Head of Group Marketing at Moneycorp, says editorials in well-regarded publications are very effective.

How frustrating must it be to have a pile of money in plain sight, yet be unable to get your hands on it?

That’s the case for many banks and financial services firms when it comes to young expat professionals. They see huge revenue potential, but often fail to get their message across.

Rupert Bedell, Head of Group Marketing at Moneycorp, talks to Expat Marketing about the challenges facing financial services firms trying to reach young expat professionals.

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