June 21, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Millennials redefine adulthood, Americans watch TV, and the singularity approaches

Posted by: in North America

Find our roundups collected in magazine form on Flipboard, the iOS and Android app; download the app to view this week’s edition here: http://flip.it/9bk7M.

-As the Cannes ad festival neared a close, USA Today spotlights some themes that came to the fore.

-Ad Age reports that “Myanmar Is Ripe to Be Marketing’s New Frontier,” outlining the landscape in a country “largely untouched by Western brands.”

-A New York Times special section on Big Data includes a look at how “data-driven discovery and decision-making” affect a wide swath of industries, including drugstore retailers and marketers.

-With many Millennials failing to embrace traditional milestones, The Wall Street Journal looks at the unique ways this generation is defining adulthood.

-Adweek spotlights some findings from our “State of Men” report with an infographic that looks at how gender is getting more fluid.

-The Economist reports that with artisanal skills dying out in Italy, its fashion industry is in jeopardy.

-CNN outlines six ways technology may drive dramatic change, as discussed at the Global Futures 2045 Congress. The Daily Mail details tech guru Ray Kurzweil’s speech, which examines the advent of the “singularity.” 

-The New York Times takes a look at the bleak job prospects for China’s newest college graduates.

-The annual American Time Use Survey finds that in 2012, Americans worked less and spent more time on leisure activities like watching TV, per The Wall Street Journal.

-India’s population will exceed China’s by 2028, according to the U.N.’s World Population Prospects; The Economist spotlights some other key points. And a new report finds that agricultural productivity isn’t keeping pace with population growth.

-The World Bank warns that climate change will undermine development in poor countries, The Guardian reports.

-In The Atlantic, Stephen Marche argues that “the central conflict of domestic life right now isn’t men versus women or mothers versus fathers; it’s the family against money.”

-The AP reports that food brands are laboring to make packaged items look more imperfect and “authentic” and less processed.

-Food companies are targeting home cooks with meals that are easy to make but require enough effort to feel homemade, reports The Wall Street Journal.

-Slate takes a look at “why tart foods like pickles, Greek yogurt, and kombucha are sweeping America.”

-As the e-cigarette market booms, Big Tobacco is getting set to take on the smaller players, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

-The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the crowdfunding backlash as more people turn to their social networks to back projects.

-Reporting from gaming conference E3, Mashable spotlights “5 Tech Trends That Will Change Gaming Forever.”

-The New York TimesNick Bilton reports that “Tech Moves to the Background as Design Becomes Foremost.”

-Nielsen publishes some data that shows how second screens are changing TV viewing.

-comScore highlights which retail categories are most popular among m-commerce shoppers, as Internet Retailer reports.

-A new MTV study looks at “New Millennials,” the youngest cohort in this generation, via MediaPost.

- A HuffPo columnist writes about how Millennial dads are approaching fatherhood.

-The Wall Street Journal reports that high-end men’s bags are selling well in Asia, and luxury brands are expanding their lines.

-Quartz looks at why global fish prices are rising to record highs.

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Christine Miranda - New York
Marian Berelowitz - New York
James Richardson - London
Mollie Hill
Geri Kan - Singapore
Alec Foege - New York
Deanna Zammit - New York
Rasika Fernandes - New Delhi
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Jessica Vaughn and Sarah Siegel - New York
Patty Orsini - New Jersey
Ben Hopkins - London
Davina Wertheimer - Johannesburg
Katie Fitzgerald - New York
Will Palley - New York
Tal Chen - Tel Aviv
Ann Mack and Jessica Vaughn - New York
Gonzalo Franseca - Buenos Aires
Michael Koenka - Amsterdam
Marian Berelowitz and Nick Ayala - New York
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Andrew Knight and Jessica Vaughn - New York
Ahmed Mahjoub - Dubai
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Carlos Fernandez - New York
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Alexandra Stieber - Atlanta
Aaron Baar - Chicago
Marian Berelowitz and Will Palley - New York
Lina Maria Aguirre - New York
Deborah Frenkel - Melbourne
Colette Henry - Dublin
Andres Colmenares - Bogota
Marian Berelowitz and Maria Orriols - New York
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Ramon Jimenez - Madrid
Sigrid Jakob and Rodrigo Maroni - New York
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Dylan Viner - New York
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Things to Watch

  • Uniqlo, H&M and Retail As the Third Space
    April 15, 2014 | 4:30 pm

    “Retail As the Third Space,” one of our 10 Trends for 2011, is rapidly accelerating: As digital commerce becomes habit for consumers, brick-and-mortar is increasingly focused around experiences, unique environments and customer service, giving shoppers new reasons to visit retail spaces. Uniqlo’s flagship in New York is a good example. A newly renovated floor incorporates a Starbucks (a favorite brand among teens) and, as MarketWatch reports, “lounge sofas, tables and chairs and an iPad station, allowing shoppers to stay and mingle.” Thanks to a partnership with the nearby Museum of Modern Art—resulting in a range that uses images from famous artists—the floor’s design is museum-like, with T-shirts in framed display cases.

    Another recent example in Manhattan is H&M’s flagship, which opened in late 2013, which one writer dubs “The most retail fun you can have with your clothes on.” For more on Retail As the Third Space, find our 2103 report Retail Rebooted here. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Uniqlo

  • Bitcoin middlemen
    April 10, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Given its volatility, security issues and legal concerns, merchants interested in accepting bitcoin have a lot to worry about, especially with the possibility (as some see it) that looming regulation could upend the entire system. To mitigate the risk and open merchants up to new revenue streams, startups such as BitPay and Coinvoice make it easier for companies to accept the cryptocurrency.

    These payment processors act as middlemen: A shopper pays in bitcoin, but the merchant can decide whether to be paid in bitcoin, fiat currency, or a combination. This allows companies to shield themselves from the uncertainty of the currency or to dip a toe into accepting it as payment. Until bitcoin becomes more stable and regulated, payment processors such as these will be a safer option for merchants. (For more on bitcoin, see also our post on the Inside Bitcoins conference.) —Nick Ayala

    Image credit: BitPay

  • Delta’s Innovation Class
    April 3, 2014 | 2:15 pm

    Delta’s new Innovation Class allows the influencers of tomorrow to spend a flight with a current industry leader—the airline calls it a “mentoring program at 35,000 feet.” The first mentor was Pebble smart watch creator Eric Migicovsky, on his way to Vancouver for the recent TED conference, who was paired with visual artist James Patten, a 2014 TED senior fellow. The next flight, in May, will feature chef Sean Brock as he heads to the James Beard Awards.

    While Innovation Class isn’t the first such initiative, it’s the first to leverage existing social networks on LinkedIn, where potential seatmates apply to Delta. The program illustrates creativity in using the plethora of touch points marketers have access to and can leverage to create valuable experiences both online and off. —Matt Goldenberg

  • Virtual reality rugby
    March 27, 2014 | 1:00 pm

    While the Oculus Rift headset doesn’t yet have a launch date, brands are already using the virtual reality platform to amaze consumers. To promote Game of Thrones, HBO made fanboys’ dreams come true at this year’s SXSWi with an experience that took viewers on an immersive trip up the show’s famed “Wall.” And U.K. phone company O2 has created “Wear the Rose,” a rugby training experience that combines footage from GoPro cameras with an Oculus headset to give fans the experience of training with England Rugby.

    “Rugby balls are thrown at you to catch, charging players run at you to teach you tackles, and at one point you find yourself in the middle of a scrum,” writes Eurogamer. O2 recently debuted “Wear the Rose” at a stadium match and will showcase it in select U.K. stores starting in June. —Aaron Baar

  • Security as a USP
    March 20, 2014 | 12:45 pm

    As we note in our wrap-up of SXSWi, security is fast becoming a unique selling proposition. Rather than treating it as an afterthought and scrambling to compensate if user data is compromised, more tech companies will build highly secure environments for their users from the start—selling security as a point of differentiation until it becomes a right of entry.

    The secure-communication app Wickr is offering up to $100,000 to any hacker who can crack its defenses and is selling a suite of six privacy features to developers and apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp. Another such app, Telegram, offers a bounty as high as $200,000 to anyone who can crack it. Meanwhile, the upcoming Blackphone is described as “the world’s first smartphone which places privacy and control directly in the hands of its users.” —Ann Mack

  • Watson, AI and customer service
    March 13, 2014 | 1:45 pm

    IBM has been promoting the commercial applications of Watson, its artificial intelligence service, with CEO Ginni Rometty announcing a Watson challenge for mobile developers at the recent Mobile World Congress. Rometty also noted that North Face is testing a website that incorporates Watson intelligence to answer customer queries, as seen in this video of an IBM demo at the MWC. Watson could serve as a “personal shopping concierge” for e-commerce brands, as Ad Age put it.

    At this week’s SXSW in Austin, where IBM has Watson powering a food truck to demonstrate its multifaceted potential, an IBM exec talked up Watson’s potential in the customer-service arena. We’re seeing the beginnings of a world where artificial intelligence powers (and personalizes) an array of brand interactions with consumers. —Marian Berelowitz

     

  • Spritz
    March 7, 2014 | 5:00 pm

    Slate may have to adjust the Minutes to Read feature on its articles. In line with our Age of Impatience trend for 2014, Spritz is a new reading app that uses a new visual technology to help people read at Evelyn Wood speeds or faster.

    Pinpointing the “Optimal Recognition Point,” at which the brain begins to recognize numbers and letters, the program highlights that space for each individual word and places it at the same place on the screen, reducing eye movement. The program can push reading speeds up to 500 words a minute. (You can see it in action here.)

    Sprtiz will be available on Samsung’s new line of wearable technology. —Aaron Baar

    Image credit: Spritz

  • Virtual fitting rooms
    March 4, 2014 | 11:45 am

    PhiSix, a 3D virtual technology company recently acquired by eBay, plans to bring more of the outside world into physical stores’ dressing rooms in an effort to increase sales. We’ve reported before on websites that offer 3D virtual try-ons at home and brick-and-mortar stores that have become living, breathing websites. But PhiSix’s technology takes the virtual fashion experience one step further, allowing shoppers to see how specific items of clothing look on them, in a variety of sizes and contexts, without actually trying them on. With PhiSix’s computer graphics, which will be made available to third-party retailers, shoppers will be able to enter a store dressing room and view themselves wearing clothing in a number of active settings (e.g., swinging a golf club, walking down the street). The technology also recommends other items to consumers, based on a few basic measurement inputs. Although virtual try-on technologies, which have existed for a while, haven’t succeeded in displacing trying on actual clothing, PhiSix’s sexy timesaver may draw more shoppers into physical retail outlets. —Alec Foege

    Image credit: PhiSix

  • Daily Mail’s Just the Pictures app
    February 25, 2014 | 3:15 pm

    The U.K.’s Daily Mail, whose digital content is dominated by photographs, is planning to release an app called Just the Pictures that strips out the text for smartphone readers—or non-readers, in this case—who are looking for snackable content while on the go. At a Mobile World Congress panel in Barcelona, Melanie Scott of the Mail Online said the app will be out in March. Per Scott, the Daily Mail’s current iOS app attracts about a million daily users in the U.K., and they’re opening it four or five times a day for 12 minutes at a time, largely for the pictures. 

    Just the Pictures is another sign of images replacing words in our increasingly visual culture, one of our 10 Trends for 2014. For more on how this trend is affecting the mobile platform, watch for our annual mobile-trends report in April. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Daily Mail

  • Full-fat comes back
    February 20, 2014 | 6:00 pm

    Bring on the brie! Last week NPR reported on two studies finding that “whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat,” research likely to boost a recent shift away from lower-fat dairy products. Butter has been bullish lately: Annual sales in the U.S. have increased 65 percent since 2000, with per-capita consumption reaching a 40-year high. And while milk sales in the U.S. declined in 2013, full-fat fared relatively well (with sales declining 0.8 percent vs. 4.1 percent for reduced-fat). 

    The trend ties into a growing preference for foods that feel less artificial or newfangled, as well as the ongoing urge to Live a Little (one of our 10 Trends for 2012).  —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: liz west

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