“There is more information, more readily available, more immediately, in more formats, on more devices and to many hundreds of millions more people than ever before,” notes the BBC in a nicely designed exploration of The Future of News. (Also find the BBC’s full report in PDF form here.) Another good read on the topic comes from The Verge, which delves into how ESPN is evolving to meet the expectations of sports fans, who now get their information in an almost infinite number of ways. Even the venerable New Yorker is experimenting with formats, launching a half-hour docu-series on Amazon Prime. A new wave of exploration and innovation is coming to journalism.

Continue reading “How the news is shape-shifting” »

Alex Pang photo-credit Kristian Kettner

We talked to Alex Pang—whose book The Distraction Addiction explores how to balance the role of technology in our lives—about De-teching, one of the macro trends explored in our latest report, 10 Years of 10 Trends. “We’ve moved from a period of thinking that technologies always bring big, inevitable and unavoidable changes to recognizing that we can use technologies mindfully,” Pang noted in discussed consumers’ changing attitudes toward digital tech, our growing awareness of the downside to over-connection and how brands can tap into this trend. He also outlined a tangential trend, a growing emphasis on the importance of rest and mind-wandering.

Continue reading “Q&A, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author, ‘The Distraction Addiction’” »

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According to We Are Social’s latest Digital, Social & Mobile report, three of the Top 5 social platforms globally are instant messenger and chat apps, and eight of these brands now claim more than 100 million monthly active users. Chinese powerhouse Tencent owns two of these, QQ and WeChat, which will only pick up steam as the company pushes into more markets, from Latin America to India, as well as the U.S. Facebook owns two of these as well, Messenger and WhatsApp, which has climbed to 700 million active users since this chart was prepared.

Continue reading “Data Point: Messenger apps dominate mobile social” »

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Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

-We Are Social’s annual Digital, Social & Mobile report—a compendium of global stats—offers extensive insight into the state of all things digital.

-The 16 trends Andreessen Horowitz is watching, outlined by Quartz.

-Tech predictions for 2015 from investment bank GP Bullhound, via Quartz.

-A Bloomberg Businessweek show explores 10 technologies and innovations to watch in 2015.

-Marketer Gregory Pouy delves into “The Future of the Luxury Shopping Experience” in a new presentation.

Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: The future of luxury shopping, too much TV, and wellness as status symbol” »

Last year we started to see virtual reality moving from science-fiction vision to a viable technology, and this year it’s coming to fruition, in a variety of forms. “Virtual reality matured into a serious category” at CES this year, as Mashable noted, while the upcoming Sundance Film Festival is showcasing 11 VR films under its New Frontier banner. VC firm Rothenberg Ventures says, “We believe 2015 will be the year of VR” and that VR is neither a trend nor niche technology but rather “a platform that will ultimately transform every industry.” Late last year, Rothenberg launched River, a VR accelerator that will run from February through April.

Continue reading “The year of virtual, augmented, holographic reality” »

Neal Gorenflo headshot

Cooperative Consumption is one of the macro trends covered in our new report 10 Years of 10 Trends, which revisits some of the most significant cultural shifts we’ve explored over the last decade. At the center of that trend is the sharing economy, a topic we discussed with Neal Gorenflo of Shareable, an online hub for the “sharing transformation.” Gorenflo, who co-founded the nonprofit after a soul-crushing life in the corporate world, envisions a new “peer culture” and an economic model that’s based on networks rather than hierarchy and access over ownership. Gorenflo predicts that in the wake of giants like Airbnb and Uber, the sharing economy will see a grassroots-driven “revolution in community ownership and shared value.”

Continue reading “Q&A, Neal Gorenflo, co-founder of Shareable” »

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Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

-YouGov releases its 2014 brand rankings.

-More trends and wrap-up from CES 2015, from USA Today, Google’s Think newsletter and our own Lucie Greene.

-Campaign explores the year ahead for adland.

-“The Future According to Vice” is a wide-ranging series exploring everything from television to gaming to sex.

-The New Yorker takes a deep dive into emotion-recognition technology and the implications for business and consumers.

Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: YouGov’s top brands, Vice sees the future, books endure” »

Hashtag CES

CES 2015 wrapped up about a week ago: the stands packed, the carpets rolled up, the hangovers nursed at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport—until the next conference rolls into town. I wrote about my experiences in a diary for Campaign’s U.S. edition, which you can find here. This is an extended summary:

The presence and the absence of women at CES 2015: In an era when the chief technology officer and technology adviser to President Obama is a woman (the brilliant Megan Smith), I’m struggling with the show’s continued reliance on semi-clad booth babes. They were everywhere, in crop tops or sparkly dresses and caked in makeup, often running on treadmills to demonstrate wearable fitness gadgets. Meanwhile, few of the panels featured women. Come on, tech world—it’s the 21st century! Women are an important consumer tech market. (Already in the U.K., more women own tablets than men, according to research by eMarketer, and make up 52 percent of gamers.)

Continue reading “CES 2015: the good, the bad and the top trends” »

January 14, 2015

10 Years of 10 Trends

Posted by: in North America

Ten years ago, J. Walter Thompson made the pioneering move to set up what we now call JWTIntelligence, with the purpose of identifying global consumer trends and interpreting what they mean for brands. In the years since, our annual “10 Trends” report has become widely known. To celebrate a decade of “10 Trends,” our latest report revisits 10 of the most compelling macro trends we’ve identified—trends whose impact will be felt in 2015 and beyond as they continue to unfold, the ones shaping societal mood, behaviors and attitudes.

Continue reading “10 Years of 10 Trends” »

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“Instagram is by far the most used social media outlet for my age group,” writes Andrew Watts, a University of Texas at Austin sophomore, in a popular Medium post that offers “A Teenager’s View on Social Media.” Pew’s Social Media Update 2014, released last week, confirms a strong and growing interest in Instagram among U.S. Millennials: More than half (53 percent) of Internet-using 18- to 29-year-old Americans use Instagram, up from 37 percent in 2013. Across demographics, Pew reports that half of all Instagram users check the platform daily.

Continue reading “Data Point: More than half of U.S. Millennials using Instagram” »

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Things to Watch

  • Rivals joining forces
    January 26, 2015 | 7:19 pm

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    Not long ago, a collaboration between two rival companies would have been seen as a counterintuitive and perhaps desperate measure. In 2015, however, BMW’s partnership with Volkswagen on fast-charging electric vehicles stations makes the automakers look self-confident, open and serious about sustainability and the common good.  Continue reading “Rivals joining forces” »

  • Virgin Hotels
    January 21, 2015 | 1:42 pm

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    Taking a cue from private clubs like Soho House—which now has outposts from Berlin to Chicago and Toronto—and cool hotel hangouts like the Ace, the first hotel under Virgin’s affordable-meets-aspirational banner houses a Commons Club. Offering “exclusivity for all,” the Commons hosts a “roundtable of ideas and indulgence” at a nightly social hour and includes a restaurant, bar and study area. Virgin marketing also taps into easyHotel lingo with the promise of no surprise fees and free wi-fi.

    Continue reading “Virgin Hotels” »

  • Google’s Ara phone
    January 16, 2015 | 11:51 am


    A new video from Google shows the latest prototype of its modular phone, which will launch this year in Puerto Rico. Project Ara emphasizes personalization—“What if you could make thoughtful choices about exactly what your phone does, and use it as a creative canvas to tell your own story?”—but the sustainability implications are also important.

    Continue reading “Google’s Ara phone” »

  • Nike taps into urban exploring
    January 5, 2015 | 1:13 pm

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    The city is the new terrain for Nike’s rebranded all-conditions gear, now named NikeLab ACG. Taking a cue from the urban exploration trend (“urbex”)—which involves venturing into unseen and generally off-limits structures and documenting the adventure—Nike says that “For today’s athletes, the city is the ultimate landscape,” complete with “modern obstacles” and many microclimates. Images show an intrepid explorer on a rooftop amid skyscrapers. The urban environment is now as challenging, intriguing and adventurous as the natural landscape.

  • Tears become… streams become…
    December 17, 2014 | 1:50 pm

    Artists and performers are increasingly creating multisensory pieces that immerse and envelope audiences, who in turn are embracing these one-of-a-kind experiences. In New York, the latest example is the performance and installation tears become… streams become…, a “field of water that harnesses light, reflection, music and sound” by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon and French pianist Hélène Grimaud.

    Continue reading “Tears become… streams become…” »

  • The Glade Boutique
    December 11, 2014 | 5:16 pm

    More marketers across the spectrum are creating novel pop-ups and activities that add dimension to the brand and satisfy consumer interest in experiences. These experiences are also increasingly interactive, immersive and multisensory, as our past trend reports have discussed. In line with these trends, a Glade Boutique holiday pop-up in New York City’s Meatpacking district, created with fashion designer Pamela Dennis and interior designer Stephanie Goto, features five rooms themed around “scent-inspired feelings,” like relaxation and “energized” (complete with an Oculus Rift virtual thrill ride).

    The pop-up is a departure for the mass-market candle brand: It has no outside signage, just a keyhole with a neon sign asking, “What will you feel?” Inside, with white walls and polished concrete floors, there’s all the cues of a groovy concept store. Visitors walk past a terrarium to the “Feelings Lounge”—sofas arranged around an objet-bedecked coffee table—then find the new collection of candles covered in bell jars for sampling the scents, akin to the merchandising format of ultra-luxe candle brand Cire Trudon. There’s also a backlit installation made up of hundreds of Glade candles.

  • Cheap-phone wars
    December 3, 2014 | 11:54 am

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    Mobile brands are creating cheaper, stripped-down smartphones for emerging markets, competing with domestic brands producing their own low-cost phones. The field is getting more competitive with Obi Mobiles from former Apple CEO John Sculley, which targets young, image-conscious consumers. Obi launched recently in India, the Middle East and Singapore, and plans for further expansion in 2015.

    Obi will be taking on Chinese up-and-comer Xiaomi, which is entering five new markets this year. Meanwhile, Google launched the Android One OS in India last month in tandem with several domestic brands, which are pricing the phones at around $100. Prices will get lower still, at least for the most basic smartphones: Mozilla has announced plans to sell phones that use its Firefox OS in India and Africa for just $25. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Obi Mobiles

  • Snapcash
    November 19, 2014 | 4:54 pm


    Disruption in the payments sphere is opening the way for social media brands to act as intermediaries between consumers and their money, as we note in our report on payments and currency. Facebook is said to be planning a P2P payments feature for Messenger, South Korea’s KakaoTalk announced a PayPal-like service in September, and Line is creating a mobile service that will let users make on- and offline purchases. Now, Snapchat is partnering with Square to enable payments between users, as explained in this video’s energetic retro musical number.

    After users (U.S. only and 18-plus only) enter debit card info, they simply send a cash amount within a text. While Snapchat’s recent data breaches may give some users pause, the P2P payments space is a smart place to be as young consumers get accustomed to services like Venmo that make it easy and even fun to pay friends. —Marian Berelowitz

  • Payment in a heartbeat
    November 11, 2014 | 5:26 pm

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    Our recent report on the future of payments and currency spotlights the rise of biometric payments—using a unique physical characteristic to authenticate transactions—which promise to greatly improve security and help remove friction. So far we’ve seen systems that rely on fingerprints (e.g., Apple Pay) and the palm’s unique vein payment (see Quixter). Now, the startup Bionym is exploring ways to harness its Nymi wristband, which uses the wearer’s unique cardiac rhythm as authentication, for payments.

    Bionym is linking with MasterCard and the Royal Bank of Canada for a test in which an NFC chip in the wristband enables contactless payments. The company, which is looking to license its technology into other wearables, recently raised $14 million in a Series A funding round and has racked up 10,000 preorders for the Nymi. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Nymi

  • Vegetable co-stars
    November 4, 2014 | 6:31 pm

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    “Vegetable co-stars” is one of our 100 Things to Watch in 2014—the idea that veggies are gaining a higher profile on restaurant menus—and more star chefs are indeed embracing this trend. José Andrés and his ThinkFood restaurant group plan to open Beefsteak (as in tomatoes), a vegetable-focused fast casual eatery in Washington, D.C., next year. The Washington Post also points to chef Roy Choi’s new greenhouse-like Commissary in L.A., which says it serves “good food and drink based around plants as the foundation.”

    “Chefs around the country, and the globe, are pushing meat from the center of the plate—and sometimes off it altogether,” notes The Wall Street Journal, citing examples like Alain Ducasse revamping his menu at the posh Plaza Athénée in Paris. Catering to a growing group of diners looking to eat less meat, vegetable-heavy dishes also offer new opportunities for creativity. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Plaza Athénée

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