October 18, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Manly packaging, privacy-seeking Millennials and ‘man buns’

Posted by: in North America

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

-“Divining the Future,” a series from The New York Times, includes reports on how far artificial intelligence has come, how media is evolving and “Asia’s Challenge to Europe.”

-Tech startups are popping up around Africa, thanks to better connectivity and rising consumption, explains Newsweek.

-The Wall Street Journal examines Mexico’s new junk food tax, an effort to contain the rise in obesity.

-As men do more grocery shopping, supermarket brands are making packaging more “manly,” explains The Wall Street Journal.

-Most American Millennials are “still not setting out on their own” and forming their own households, according to Pew research.

-Millennial travelers both spend more and complain more, according to a new Expedia study, via USA Today.

-Rather than perennially over-sharing, as conventional wisdom has it, many Millennials are very privacy-savvy, reports Slate.

-A surprising number of Millennials believe technology can be dehumanizing, but many in developing markets disagree, per a new Intel study.

-Reports that Boomers are abandoning suburbs for urban living belie the fact that most want to “age in place,” reports Forbes.

-With Google announcing that it will feature users’ posts and photos in ads, Time examines how more marketers are “trying to cash in on users’ connections.”

-The Economist reports that mobile apps are starting to reshape the taxi market in cities around the globe.

-The New York Times takes a look at how virtual-reality experiences are coming to fruition.

-As more U.S. cities track data on residents for law enforcement purposes, privacy advocates are raising alarms, says The New York Times.

-The Economist reports that a new USB PD (Power Delivery) standard next year could “change the way homes and offices use electricity.”

-Yet more research confirms that Americans are delaying retirement thanks to financial constraints, reports the AP.

-With many Americans struggling to pay bills, some are selling their hair, breast milk and eggs to raise cash, reports Bloomberg.

-A new survey examines the rise of online video viewing and the decline in TV viewing among Millennials, via Mashable.

-Adweek cites Nielsen data showing that the American TV audience is aging up, and the 18-49 cohort have largely turned away.

-Bloomberg Businessweek looks at why British imports are invading Americans’ TV screens.

-More apps and other digital services are catering to luxury customers, reports The New York Times.

-The Daily Beast spotlights a Wharton study finding that its male grads are becoming more egalitarian at home.

-Latin America is the next frontier for discount airlines, reports The Wall Street Journal.

-The BBC takes a look at the flourishing tech hub in Recife, in Brazil’s north.

-With consumers increasingly focused on their sugar intake, juices are on the decline, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

-”Homemade Is the New Organic,” asserts The Atlantic, since “media has raised the bar for home cooking.”

-An FT columnist explores how craft breweries are challenging the big beer players.

-China is seeing the rise of imaginative restaurants that are uniquely Chinese, reports The New York Times.

-The FT takes a look at why the price of cocoa is rising.

-USA Today spotlights the rising popularity of moonshine (cited in our 2012 food-trends report).

-The Guardian investigates the popularity of “man buns” as more male celebrities sport the hairstyle.

2 Responses to "Weekly Roundup: Manly packaging, privacy-seeking Millennials and ‘man buns’"

1 | grace

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:41 am

Avatar

there’s not enough time in the world to finish reading the stuff you guys are curating.

but there’s time for a quick thank you note.

2 | grace

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:41 am

Avatar

thanks! :)

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Things to Watch

  • Nestlé’s animal-welfare standards
    August 28, 2014 | 10:00 am

    Nestle

    We wrote about rising concerns over treatment of the animals that people eat back in 2012 as brands including Burger King, McDonald’s and Hellmann’s pledged to institute more humane practices. We also included Humane Food among our Things to Watch for 2013. The trend recently picked up more steam with Nestlé’s announcement of animal welfare standards for its suppliers worldwide, following an investigation by the group Mercy for Animals.

    “The move is one of the broadest-reaching commitments to improving the quality of life for animals in the food system,” notes The New York Times, “and it is likely to have an impact on other companies that either share the same suppliers or compete with Nestlé.” Observed the influential blogger Food Babe: “People want to know where their food comes from, and in order to survive the next decade, the food industry will have to change.” —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Nestlé

  • Alternative waters
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    With the coconut water craze going strong, watch for more variations on H2O thanks to consumer interest in more natural alternatives to soda and openness to novel products. Antioxidant-rich maple water (made from maple sap) is gaining attention, while almond water from the startup Victoria’s Kitchen has secured space at Whole Foods and Target. As the AP reports, there’s also cactus, birch and artichoke water—made from either water extracted from the plant or boiled with the ingredient in question—whose makers tout their vitamin and mineral content, as well as their infection-fighting properties. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Vertical Water

  • Smart mannequins
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    One of our Things to Watch in 2014, beacons have been popping up everywhere from airports to restaurants to museums. But the biggest pickup for these devices—low-cost transmitters that use Bluetooth to precisely track consumers’ mobile phones and send targeted content—has been among retailers. Now, British retailers including House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis and Bentalls are testing mannequins outfitted with VMbeacon technology from the startup Iconeme.

    A “smart mannequin” enables nearby shoppers with a related mobile app to get details about what it’s wearing and how to find the products in the store or buy them online. The big question is whether customers will be motivated to opt in; skeptics say the technology doesn’t yet provide enough real benefit. —Allison Kruk

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  • De-teching apps
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    De-teching—the idea that more people will choose to temporarily log off—was one of our 10 Trends for 2011, and in our 2014 trend Mindful Living, we discussed the idea that digitally immersed consumers will try to use technology more mindfully. Perhaps ironically, several new apps aim to help people do so.

    Moment tracks phone use and alerts users when they reach their self-imposed daily limit. Pause is “designed to help us reconnect with real life”; it encourages people to use Airplane Mode and engage in real-world activities, and attempts to turn this behavior into a game among friends. Finally, Menthal is part of a research project out of Germany that helps users find out, “Are you in control of your smartphone? Or is your smartphone controlling you?” —Marian Berelowitz

  • Intuitive eating
    July 29, 2014 | 5:00 pm

    Veggies

    As spotlighted in our 10 Trends for 2014 report, people are becoming more interested in Mindful Living, including the notion of eating more mindfully. And with consumers showing declining interest in dieting, the idea of “intuitive eating”—paying closer attention to the body’s hunger signals rather than following a strict regimen—has been steadily gaining traction. Recent media mentions include articles in Fitness and New Zealand’s Stuff, and a Refinery 29 writer is blogging about adopting the practice. With a recent analysis of studies finding that intuitive eating can be a successful strategy for people who are overweight or obese, watch for more consumers to embrace this anti-diet philosophy. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Theresa Kinsella

  • Chinese mega-cities
    July 24, 2014 | 1:15 pm

    Tianjin

    China, home to the world’s second largest rural population, is expected to add close to 300 million more urbanites by 2030, when Shanghai and Beijing will likely account for two of the world’s Top 5 mega-cities, according to new UN research. “We are observing one of the most significant economic transformations the world has seen: 21st-century China is urbanizing on a scale 100 times that seen in 19th-century Britain and at 10 times the speed,” notes a new McKinsey paper on cities and luxury markets. China’s wealth will be concentrated in these urban areas: Over the next decade, McKinsey expects Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Shenzhen, in addition to Hong Kong, to join the list of “top luxury cities.” —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Jakob Montrasio

  • Brands + Google Glass
    July 15, 2014 | 6:09 pm

    SPG

    As Google Glass makes its way into the hands of more people (last month it became available in the U.K.), brands are experimenting with the new possibilities that the platform affords. In March, Kenneth Cole became the first to launch a marketing campaign—the “Man Up for Mankind Challenge”—through a Glass app. Users were challenged to perform and document good deeds for the chance to win a prize.

    Starwood’s new Glass app, billed as the first such app from the hospitality sector, lets people voice-search its properties, view photos and amenities, get directions and book rooms. An array of other marketers have turned out apps for early adopters, from Sherman Williams’ ColorSnap Glass (easily create a paint chip that mirrors anything in view) to Fidelity (delivers daily market quotes for Glass wearers). —Tony Oblen

    Image credit: SPG

  • Ugly produce
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    Ugly Produce, on our list of 100 Things to Watch in 2014, is proliferating in Europe, thanks in part to government efforts to reduce the 89 million tons of food wasted in Europe each year. In France, Intermarché has been getting buzz for creating a produce section dedicated to “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables”; a whimsical ad campaign reportedly drove a 24 percent rise in store traffic.

    U.K. supermarket Waitrose recently began selling packs of tomatoes that are misshapen or have fallen off the vine naturally. And in Portugal, Fruta Feia (“Ugly Fruit”) is a cooperative launched in late 2013 that sells unsightly produce that would have gone to waste. Per The New York Times, the group already has a waiting list of 1,000 customers. In line with one of our 10 Trends for 2014, Proudly Imperfect, watch for ugly produce to catch on with both retailers and shoppers. —Jessica Vaughn

    Image credit: Intermarché

  • The $1.25 Cube
    July 3, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    As we outline in Immersive Experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond, entertainment and narratives are becoming more enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention. An immersive project from JWT Israel, a winner of the Cannes Chimera challenge, aims to help people experience what it’s like to live in extreme poverty. Once it’s created, the cube will create a multisensory experience that uses tools like augmented reality to simulate sights, sounds and smells and elicit certain feelings. Participants can exit only when the person in line behind them inserts $1.25, a metaphor for the collaborative efforts needed to fight poverty. The aim is for the cube to travel to international events like the Davos conference in order to influence global leaders. —Hallie Steiner

    Image credit: JWT Israel

  • Google’s Android Auto
    June 26, 2014 | 3:00 pm

     

    Android

    The connected car is rapidly becoming a reality. Fast 4G LTE connections are turning vehicles into hot spots that come with a data plan, while Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are making their way onto dashboards. This week Google introduced Android Auto, with the first compatible cars expected by year-end. Apple’s similar CarPlay, which turns the car into a platform for an iPhone’s content, was announced in March and is included in new Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo models.

    Car-based app ecosystems will provide relevant info (traffic, maps, vehicle diagnostics, restaurant suggestions) and entertainment, combined with safety precautions like voice control. As we outline in our mobile trends report, connected cars—complete with Internet hot spots, a suite of apps and sensors that communicate—will eventually link up with drivers’ homes, mobile devices and other gadgets to form a seamless system. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Android

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