Technologies impact on impulse
Impulse buying is on the rise despite consumers’ penny-pinching mindset driven by the down economy.A late 2011 study reported 76% of over 1,000 British adults make impulse purchases. Out of that 76%, 77% of women and 71% of men stated those purchases happened when grocery shopping. Major pushes for impulse buying are due to advances in technology combining with mega trends like health and wellness, on-the-go, affordable indulgences, and lower overhead costs to brands. This blend creates new opportunities for every value chain member in the food and beverage industry. As these trends persist, brands can create new revenue streams by giving consumers a delightful experience through impulse purchases.Technology To-GoThere is a consistent blending of the virtual and physical retail world – and this includes the consumers’ wallet. Google has launched Google Wallet, which uses Near-Field Communication technology to allow consumers to use their phones as a tap-and-pay device at any MasterCard PayPass device. The application is still in an early phase of its lifecycle as consumer acceptance and retail availability both grow. One hurdle Wallet faces with mass adoption is the number of banks participating. Currently it is linked with MasterCard and a reloadable Google card, but the device needs more brands like Visa and American Express; as well as debit card capability.Another is the number of phones equipped with NFC, which is currently lacking. With an already impressive number of retailers supporting the Wallet system, this new payment method should continue to grow. More recently, it is expanding into five more US cities: Charlotte, Kansas City, Milwaukee, San Antonio, and Tampa. Connecting pay methods to smartphones streamlines the purchasing process, making impulse purchases more immediate and tangible.Transit... a Key Impulse Purchasing DestinationTesco’s South Korean-based grocery chain, Home Plus, has been capitalizing on consumers’ busy lifestyles and mobile technology by creating a shopping experience at subway terminals. Large posters mimic the grocery shelf with pictures of products that are labeled with QR codes. While consumers wait for their ride, they can scan and purchase different grocery items that will be at their doorstep by the time they get home. During it’s trial run, Home Plus reached more than 10,000 customers and saw a 130% increase in online sales. Surprisingly, such a system has not yet hit condensed US markets such as New York City, which has an average weekday metro ridership of over 5 million.By understanding the consumers’ daily journey, transit points and time between transit points, these grocers have been able to identify a profitable new business model whilst tapping into the impulse market. The chocolate confectionary market is just one portion of the impulse market and is expected to grow to US$19 billion by 2015....accelerate the consumers’ purchasing decision process, making impulse buying more convenient.Both examples accelerate the consumers’ purchasing decision process, making impulse buying more convenient, more impulsive. Brands need to continue to explore ways to streamline purchasing decisions and the barriers by syncing their products and services with technology and the consumers’ daily journey.
As sustainability bleeds into mass market products the question is how can manufacturers take advant
Ever heard of retail therapy? Did you know that only a third of purchase decisions are made ahead of time, outside the store? Since a key report by Knutson uncovered the basic neurology of impulsive purchases, recent studies continue to affirm alternating activation of pleasure and pain centers.Companies need to understand those strategies that lead to unplanned, or impulse purchases. This is especially important in a time of diminishing disposable income.The Impulse BuyImpulse buys satisfy the desire of the moment – often at a higher cost than the price tag. With today’s social climate of transparent information, consumers increasingly hold companies accountable for pollution, excessive packaging, and unethical employment practices. The question is – are we seeing a new breed of impulse products? And are they being influenced significantly by macro consumer trends? The answer is, inevitably, yes, at least for developed markets. Brand manufacturers need to develop strategies that increase market share over the short to medium term.The New ConsumerAs the sustainability meme spreads, more and more consumers aspire to be “green.” A pivotal study, “The Green Revolution” discovered “light” and “dark” green consumers. Dark greens– who insist on sustainability and gladly pay a premium—compose a mere 9% of shoppers. However, 89% identified as shades of “light green,” leaning towards green products while realistically balancing considerations like effectiveness, safety, and price. BBMG, took the concept to heart: they have released annual reports on the evolution of “light green” consumption for three years. Their 2011 report predicts a tipping point in green consumption, where the influence of light greens will finally scale true sustainability to mainstream consumption. The increasingly-knowledgeable light green consumers weigh many factors whilst purchasing, so their pain response could be tripped by a number of Although light greens do not research products, they remain fiercely loyal once they have found an effective sustainable product.considerations. Because environmental awareness has been on the social radar for a while, consumers face green fatigue and even toss around the phrase “green-washing.” Although light greens do not research products, they remain fiercely loyal once they have found an effective sustainable product. Socially connected, this group spreads the word of mouth to their friends via connected social media on mobile devices.Disdainful of advertising, this group trusts friend recommendations more than company claims, especially within Gen Y who as a core impulse purchasing demographic group crave realism and rely on peer advice.Impulse Without RegretOver 60% of all “green” product purchases are made on impulse, often out of simple curiosity.Over 60% of all “green” product purchases are made on impulse, often out of simple curiosity.In fact, 84% of light greens admit their first eco-conscious product was an impulse purchase brought on by curiosity and an impulse urge. And the environment is only one facet of sustainability – everything from workforce employment, to packaging, ingredients source and waste disposal is subject to scrutiny. Companies can use in-store contact points including, POS displays, or RRP to stimulate light green consumers’ curiosity, and even charge a higher price for products successfully positioned as sustainable.When Clorox first introduced their Green Works cleaning products, consumers gladly paid a 25% markup over conventional products. Even wading into the crowded Wal-Mart shelves, and even with the Recession forcing prices lower, the company’s market share continued to climb through this year to nearly 50%.Consumers get around green-washing by searching for signs of authenticity, like third-party certification of social and environmental benefits. This may be why 75% of consumers say a Fair Trade Label makes them feel positive about a purchase, and 30% say it increases purchase interest. (Harvard Research, 2011) The most important signal of sustainability in almost every single product category is packaging. It makes sense – not many will buy an item designed to help the environment if it comes wrapped in polluting layers.Sitting PrettyPackaging influences purchase even more than store atmosphere. People first notice color, then shape, and finally labels and logos. A sustainable product should hit those three notes. Color can be used as a cue. Consumers most likely associate green with sustainability, but too much green is perceived as green-washing. A distinct shape, like Method’s home and personal care products, can be made with earth-friendly materials to strike an authentic harmony. Finally, third-party certifications can be used to position the product as a holistically sustainable alternative.The Green Works product line features iconic natural images of flowers, accented with the sustainability cue, green. The traditional spray bottle prevents confusion about the product’s purpose. Finally, the Clorox logo adds credibility and trust – especially when combined with the Design for the Environment Certification.Taking it to the TribeThere are three key appeals to the new consumers: practicality, sustainability, and community. Light green consumers trust each other, and brands that enable communication between advocates will amplify this tendency. Clorox’s “Green Works” line includes a portal where consumers can post and discuss ideas for natural cleaning products. Beyond the web, emerging technologies let light green consumers explore and share sustainable products, or even punish unsustainable companies, anywhere. And as more and more people tune in to light green and sustainable consumption, companies will benefit or suffer in proportion to their efforts to court the new consumers. Companies that do not address light greens’ concerns will face social networks and media savvy. Just look at PETA’s sabotaging of Volkswagon’s Twitter campaign for signs of things to come.The New DesirePost-recession, consumers continue to demand fewer items of higher quality. From event give-aways to private-label groceries, less is more. A single item that will last twice as long can command a premium price. Using packaging to catch attention, including authenticity cues to overcome green fatigue, companies can seal the deal with a quality product. The combination will trigger an impulse buy, and create a foundation for customer loyalty rather than regret. The right positioning can overcome the pain response, giving consumers the joy of buying without the guilt.
How to premiumise impulse purchases
Nostalgia is a powerful purchasing aphrodisiac. As consumers, we romanticize the notion of the Mary Kay rep pulling into your driveway in her pink Cadillac. It’s not just about the products; it’s about the experience.These business models, however, have died out making way for more efficient processes and as a result the consumer experience has taken a back seat. More recently, these retro-business models have started to make a comeback thanks to new technology and a deeper understanding of consumer behavior. Brands who create the right mix of technology, understanding, and experience can enhance impulse purchases and create new revenue streams.Location, Location…New LocationThe old adage in real estate is, “location, location, location” and what can be better than a location that’s always where the consumers are? Food trucks have gotten a makeover and are experiencing a new surge. The new food trucks run routes, hitting high-density spots where they can sell their premium goodies from the side of their trucks. From entrees to desserts, these mobile vendors are keeping overhead low by eliminating the cost of a fixed bricks and mortar location.These premium food vendors are becoming part of urban culture, combining the nostalgia of the ice cream truck and the delight of premium foods. In US cities like Chicago, websites such as foodtruckfreak.com are dedicated to tracking the routes of these vendors. The New York City Food Truck Association (NYCFTA) is also dedicated to bringing premium food to the consumers of NYC.While food trucks are run by independents corporate brands can tap into these retrofitted business models to create new revenue streams.Social Media Sales RepresentativesConverse has taken a new spin on the door-to-door salesmen by launching a Facebook app that allows users to customize, promote, and sell shoes while receiving a kickback for shoes sold. Converse has potentially increased its sales force through a new breed of social networking site-to-social-networking salespeople.These revived business models bring out the experience aspect of buying and enhance them with modern technology and new trends in consumer behavior. The combination creates opportunities to increase impulse buys. Brands must find new ways to connect with consumers. Whether it is through the consumers’ daily journey, new technology platforms, or a retrofitted business model; brands can create new revenue streams by giving consumers a delightful experience through impulse purchases.
A review of the leading trends and innovations of 2011
Simple and friendly - Help Remedies Consumers increasingly desire products that are friendly, using everyday language, while having a ‘personality’ that consumers can relate with, such as a sense of humor.Launched two years ago, Help Remedies’ recently refreshed packaging stands them apart in the drug aisle. The packaging talks to the regular consumer, using simple and friendly language, instead of complicated scientific terms and unrelated brand names. The packaging removes confusion, making shopping and usage simpler.Speed scratch - ScratchAs consumer awareness around the unhealthy content of prepared foods increases, we have witnessed a growth in healthier, simpler and more natural foods. But with consumers struggling to balance their desire for healthier foods with busier lifestyles we have witnessed the growth of the trend known as ‘speed scratch’.Scratch offers a fresh and healthy meal in a box – each pack containing raw ingredients that have already been chopped, washed and weighed by hand. As we seek to live healthier lives and gain more time back, we can expect to see more convenient food solutions like Scratch.Digital and real - BlipparOver the last few years we have observed the merger of the digital and real worlds with Facebook and Twitter addresses predominately positioned on packs, along with QR codes.However, the popularity of QR codes will potentially be short-lived with the growth of Augmented Reality. This year saw the introduction of Blippar – an app for smart phones that gives instant access to information or entertainment by simply holding the phone in front of the pack. A number of brands, including Cadbury, Marmite and Heinz have taken advantage, keeping their packs the same, while adding the interactivity via the app for the youth or tech savvy among us.Simplicity - StarbucksAt the beginning of this year Starbucks unveiled a new logo – removing the words ‘Starbucks’ and ‘coffee’. This has allowed them to be more flexible and diversify beyond their core product into other foodstuffs such as ice-cream and wine. This change has also made them into a more global brand, free from English, able to move into other geographies without worrying about translation. Just as significantly, it provides an iconic image, like Apple, McDonalds and Nike that performs well across multiple platforms, especially so in the digital space where simplicity is king.Sustainability - GreenbottleSustainability has been high on the agenda for a number of years for the CPG industry, as they look to overcome the problems they partly create at the centre of our throw-away society. Much of the intention has been placed on plastic, with the UK alone using 15 million plastic bottles each day.In the past few years lightweighting has been the big push within packaging innovation, but this year we saw a shift to new materials, with Coke and Pepsi bringing bottles made of plant extract to the market. Greenbottle (a sustainable packaging manufacturer) has developed an alternative to plastic - papier-mâché that can decompose in just five weeks versus 500 years for plastic.Convenience - Heinz Squeeze & StirConsumers increasingly want products that meet their exacting needs. For food brands this is through unique flavors, brands, and pack formats.Earlier this year Heinz brought out Squeeze & Stir ‘cup-a-soups’ that are made from paste rather than a powder, moving Heinz into new eating occasions, while disrupting the market. The packaging format is also a more sustainable option, with less water transported and less material used in the packaging.
The iPad was just one success in the seamless world of 2011
Connectivity is no longer sci-fi or a utopian dream but is on our doorsteps, in our pockets, and even in the fibers of our clothing.Always onOver the next few years mobile broadband will enable the cost-effective deployment of ‘always on’ devices for the consumer. This year’s Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas highlighted the fact that we will soon be hard-pressed to find consumer electronics that are not connected to the internet.According to Tim O’Reilly, the computer book publisher who coined the phrase Web 2.0, “Increasingly the web is the world, everything and everyone in the world casts an ‘information shadow’, an aura of data, which when captured and processed intelligently, offers extraordinary opportunity and mind-bending implications.”This year saw the merger of the physical and virtual worlds enter the mainstream, with technology being applied in new and interesting ways. Data streams are now everywhere – they are helping us understand the world around us, and gain greater knowledge of what is going on with ourselves.Physical and virtualThis year saw the inclusion of technologies in the retail space, with consumers becoming accustomed to using their mobiles for payments in venues such as Starbucks. With NFC technology likely to be included in the majority of future smart phones we can expect this method of payment to become more common.Other technologies are being implemented in-store to assist consumers in their purchasing decisions, such as Puma introducing iPads to provide additional information in their flagship store in Paris or Diesel implementing Diesel Cam so that consumers could share photos of themselves trying on clothes with their Facebook friends prior to purchasing.Consumers can now even stay connected in-flight with new services giving passengers access to content wirelessly onto their own devices.Beyond devicesBut connectivity and interactivity is no longer contained within the realm of consumer electronics, with electronics becoming included in a number of everyday objects. The fusion of electronics and textiles holds promise to create intelligent, Increasingly the web is the world, everything and everyone in the world casts an ‘information shadow’innovative products for numerous apparel applications. We are already witnessing the potential for wearable health monitoring, performance-mapping sport wear, wearable displays and controls, electronic protective clothing, and also new fashion alternatives. September saw the launch of Adidas’ F50 adiZero boots that contain a chip allowing amateur and professional footballers alike to compare their performance to teammates and friends.It is not only for physical health that we are being monitored. Volkswagen’s new Passat included a fatigue detection system that monitors driver behavior, alerting the driver if they are tiring.The internet of everythingWe are at a dawn of a new world where we are constantly connected to ourselves and the world around us – technology is becoming ubiquitous and in the future will go unnoticed. Electronics are likely to be included in a multitude of objects, as everything becomes ‘connected’. Machines will increasingly talk to each other to work seamlessly and efficiently without the need for our input, with the greatest potential likely to be in smart clothing. The implementation of comfortable and unobtrusive sensor systems for application in sports, baby wear, workwear, healthcare and wellbeing could become part of the everyday fabric of life.The aging population will fuel demand for functional apparel that can continuously monitor the wearer’s well being. High performance and professional athletes will need active monitoring during competition and training. Finally, the overarching macro health and wellness consumer trend will likely mean the mass market entry of health monitoring clothing and other wearable systems.The last couple of years we have witnessed the beginning of the wireless data streaming world, with the boundary between life online and real life, between the physical and the virtual diminishing. Over the next couple of years we can expect more sophisticated services coming to market that make Over 2012 and beyond we can expect more sophisticated services coming to market that make our virtual and physical, home and on-the-go lives more seamlessour virtual and physical, home and on-the-go lives more seamless, as our media and information shifts from a physical location to the cloud – accessible anywhere, anytime, from anywhere. The days of the internet as an identifiably separate thing may be behind us.
From individual purchasing and consumption to shared experiences
The prevalence of social networks containing photos of every social event, and open to being viewed and discussed by all of our friends and more, is creating a pressure to look at ones best at all times. As a result, the beauty category remains buoyant despite the economic climate in developed markets.Social networks are not only influencing behaviors, but also the specific products we consume – 90% of all purchases have some sort of social influence (Econsultancy), making Facebook, Twitter and other sites new and exciting places to play for brands.A growth marketWomen between the ages of 30 and 39 are expected to be among the fastest growing demographic groups in the US, and the consumers in that group are nearing their peak earning and spending years. As a result the beauty market is set to continue booming. Further, this group is highly-engaged in social media and we can expect beauty brands to leverage the medium to engage with consumers and maximize their profits.Outside of the US, in emerging economies, we will see huge increases in the numbers of young and increasingly affluent people. Brazil, Russia, China, and India alone will contribute over half of the total $43 billion absolute growth in the global beauty industry from now to 2014 (Euromonitor), offering organic growth potential.And it’s not just the women’s market that is booming – the men’s beauty market is now worth over €5 billion in Europe and is overtaking the women’s sector on the growth front. As men are staying single for longer, they are taking more care of their appearance – they have become more confident in taking care of themselves. Young men in their 20s and 30s are realizing there’s something cool about being well-groomed. In China, this trend is even more acute, as the lack of marriageable women means Chinese men are more aware of grooming. As a result the market for men’s skincare products in the country rose by 27% last year and has been rising at a rate of 40% this year – about five times the rate for women’s skincare products (L’Oreal).The young, and men in particular, are the precise demographic that suit social commerce, and the growth of smartphones and the delivery of new services are connecting them with brands in ways never possible before. This is particularly prevalent in the beauty market, where brands not only sell a product, but also expertise and even lifestyle.2011 – the year of the appThis year a number of brands have brought new services to market, including P&G whose ‘My Beauty Advisor’ app for Apple and Android provides a holistic approach to beauty, combining brands, like Clairol, Covergirl, Olay, and Pantene to address head to toe beauty issues and simplify purchase decisions.Another app that is proving hugely popular is Snapette, which enables users to share and discover the latest fashion accessories from anywhere in the world by taking photos of their favorite bags, shoes and accessories and post them.Social networks and consumptionAs well as apps, brands are investing in digital solutions for social networks. L’Oreal, for example, has over 800,000 ‘Likes’ on its Facebook page, which also contains tips and tricks, information on new product releases and even questionnaires on what consumers look for in their hair color.This year we also witnessed the creation of a number of new websites that offer new services within the social domain. One of the most predominant is Blippy – a free membership site that allows users to share their purchases with the network and see what their friends are buying online and in real life. Blippy encourages users to comment on items shared, allowing them to earn social capital from their peers through the validation of their purchases. This is a feature that has gained the most traction from consumers, as they see it as a better way of expressing their values and interests, than a standard profile page.The website Go Try It On allows people to share photos of clothes and outfits with each other, giving feedback as to what they think works and what belongs in the wardrobe. The unbiased opinion of fellow users and friends is of huge value and consumers have been quick to sign up, with the website having thousands of subscribers across the globe and adding more all the time. Clothing brand Diesel has even added the ability for consumers to take photos of their outfit in the store changing rooms, and upload it directly to their Facebook account for peer review.Using social networks to leverage new product releases has found more traction in developing economies, however. Peer recommendations have a different importance around the world, finding those with higher recommendation values are the key to social platform success for CPG manufacturers.Technology will play a dominant roleTechnology will increasingly play a dominant role in how beauty brands connect with their consumersTechnology will increasingly play a dominant role in how beauty brands connect with their consumers, and the rise of social media gives brands the opportunity to introduce new products to consumers through peer-to-peer recommendation, the most persuasive form of marketing there is.We are set to see more services that utilize the utilitarianism of smart phones to engage with consumers, and additionally plug brands into the growing social communities.
Can I Eat It? is a new app where users enter their specific dietary requirements, be it based on religious, ethical, nutritional or health grounds, and can then scan barcodes as they shop and receive a ‘thumbs-up’ or ‘thumbs-down’ depending on whether the product is suitable for them to eat it.
At the end of September, Adidas unveiled their new F50 adiZero boots that feature miCoach technology, so that footballers’ speed, distance, sprints and intensity can be measured.Designed for both professional and amateur footballers the boots are available at retail from November. The system allows wearers to compare their performance to Adidas professional players including Lionel Messi, teammates and friends, allowing them to analyze their performance in more detail.Players will be able to download their stats to their smartphone and directly into a newly created platform that will take personal performance stats and build them into a gaming experience. Players will also be able to download their data to the miCoach online training hub. Users will be able to see graphical representations of their performance, relevant training programs from the best clubs in the world to help improve performance, and ways of sharing and comparing their performance to other footballers around the world.Adidas product manager Andreas Konrads, described the new f50 as “the world’s first boot with a brain”. Data streams are now everywhere, and they are helping us understand the world around us, and gain greater knowledge of what is going on with ourselves. New smart technologies are helping us gain professional advice to look after ourselves more effectively. In the future, data will become a key part of our lives as we become constantly connected.
The world of science is transforming the materials we use
With technological advancements we are seeing electronics and sensors being incorporated into a number of everyday items. Smart clothing has been predicted as the future for a long time, but now the future may finally be here. Antennae explores developments in textiles and technology that point to a new dawn in clothing.Impact on the worldBack in 2009 the Climate Dress was developed by the Copenhagen design studio DIFFUS. The haute-tech dress incorporates a carbon dioxide detector and uses conductive embroidery to transmit information to hand-stitched lights, resulting in patterns that range from slow pulses to rapid flashes depending on the concentration of the greenhouse gas. It was designed to generate awareness of environmental issues through an aesthetic representation of environmental data.With increasing levels of air pollution around the world reaching dangerously high levels, it has become necessary to not only create awareness of pollution or even try to reduce the pollution at source, but to develop new technologies that improve the quality of the air around us. A unique collaboration between the worlds of fashion and science, led by the University of Sheffield and London College of Fashion, has seen the exploration of developing clothing that can purify the air we breathe. They have created a product that can be added to fabric enhancer, which when washed into clothing purifies the air in a catalytic process by removing nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, both of which are emitted by industry and motor vehicles. As a result clothing’s role will expand further into protecting the wearer from the surrounding environment, with brands like North Face and Salomon presented with new opportunties to drive innovation in outdoor-wear.Impact on the wearerThe future inclusion of smart textiles has the potential to go beyond the environment and towards building a relationship between textiles and the wearer. Modern manufacturing technologies like different lamination, laser cutting and ultrasonic welding, as well as conductive fibers, enable implementation of new textile sensor systems. The creation of smart textiles will go beyond the capabilities of products such as Adidas’ miCoach or Under Armor’s E39. The potential features of future smart clothing are numerous, with the implementation of comfortable and unobtrusive sensor systems for application in sports, baby wear, workwear, healthcare and wellbeing, and could become part of the everyday fabric of life.Ubiquitous technologyThe development of vibration energy-harvesting generators, as well as small sensors that are washable and don’t need batteries, mean that technology can be integrated into clothing. This will dawn a new world where we are constantly connected to ourselves and the world around us – technology will become ubiquitous and will go unnoticed.This will dawn a new world where we are constantly connected to ourselves and the world around us – technology will become ubiquitous and will go unnoticedCuteCircuit believe that wearables will be the future tool for personal communication. The most used communication tool is the mobile phone, and they believe that “the wearable technology and the telecommunication market will merge in a not very distant future”. Their current product line includes the Hug Shirt that allows people to send hugs to each other over the mobile communication network. The shirt incorporates sensors that feel the strength of the touch, skin temperature, heartbeat rate, and actuators that recreate the ‘emotion’ of the hug. A second product is the Kinetic Dress that reacts to the wearer’s activities and moods, relating the information through electroluminescent embroidery.Smart fabrics will lead to many new applications being integrated into our clothing that were historically only in the realm of expensive and complicated medical or industrial systems.A new opportunityTextiles are the most common material that we come into contact with, wearing them, sitting on them, sleeping on them – representing 70% of the material we come into contact with each day (Textronics). The integration of electronics with textiles brings a new frontier in functionality to one of the most common materials in our daily lives. Imagine a carpet that tells you when it’s time to vacuum, a chair that activates a warming function when you sit down, and clothing that tells you that your baby is getting ill or that you’ve pushed yourself to your physical limit during a run.Technology, apparel and textile companies need to collaborate with each other to develop industry-leading applications that break new ground.
Snapette is a new location-based fashion app enabling users to share and discover the latest fashion accessories from anywhere in the world – now you can window-shop the world from the comfort of your own home.Users take photos of their favorite bags, shoes and accessories and post them to Snapette, along with comments and where they found them. Users can then search by brand, store, description and by what’s new, near or trending (with the most likes and comments), as well as comment on photos, share tips and recommendations.Snapette’s aim is to create a community of stylish techies. With shoppers turning to peers and review sites for inspiration and guidance on purchase decisions, this app is set to become hugely popular amongst young fashionistas.With apps increasingly helping consumers make purchasing decisions before they visit a store, retailers must look at making apps part of their digital strategy.Retailers have to ensure that their products are being seen in the new digital spaces consumers are looking, and make it as easy as possible for consumers to find them and then buy them.
How agriculture is likely to benefit
One of the major challenges for food production is the availability of fresh water to supply crop irrigation. Scarcity and growing water demands for industrial and domestic usage have resulted in a decline of available water for agricultural usage.
Plastic bottles, and particularly those for milk, are one of the largest culprits of filling landfills. Over 18 billion rigid plastic containers were used for milk globally last year. With the US going through over 6 billion, which was equal to the entire consumption in Western Europe.
Building closer connections between consumers and brands
Technology is giving consumers unprecedented access to brands, connecting them in ways never possible before. This is particularly prevalent in the beauty market, where brands not only sell a product, but also expertise and even lifestyle.
Technology is enabling intelligent transportation
After decades of research, intelligence transportation systems (ITS) have started to emerge, and promise to radically change our road experience by increasing vehicle mobility, reducing travel time, providing infotainment services in the car, increasing safety and reducing fuel emission pollution, particularly that produced by idle urban traffic.
Staying ahead of the competition with innovation
Flying is no longer about getting from A to B – after the rush for cheap, no-frills budget air flights of the last decade, consumers are now looking at making their journeys more comfortable and experiential. With the air travel industry being highly competitive, airlines are increasingly looking at innovative services and products to capture consumers and make them loyal to the brand.
How is in-flight entertainment reacting to our needs?
In flight entertainment is changing – consumers are demanding more variety and convenience from their airline. They want their devices to stay charged up, be in control of what media they consume and continue to stay connected, even when in the air.
Malaysia airlines have recently launched a new Facebook application, called MHbuddy, that allows travellers to search, book and pay for flights directly through Facebook.
A vision of the future city filled with connectedness and smart embedding
Connectivity is no longer sci-fi or a utopian dream but is on our doorsteps, in our pockets, and even in the fibers of our clothing.
The World Health Organization estimates that 50% of those suffering from chronic diseases fail to take medications as prescribed by their physicians, equating to millions of people each year. People skip doses, take the wrong number of pills, and take pills at the wrong time of day, among many other problems. Poor adherence results in up to $290 billion in medical expenses each year, according to NEHI, a health research organization.
We’re now connected to our toys and games like never before
Toys and games play a vital role in our development as a child, and continue to be an important part of our leisure time in adulthood. However, the increasing integration of technology and the internet into our lives mean that even our toys are now connected to us, and even to each other, in new and innovative ways.
Everything from appliances to consumer items are becoming connected, and the reality is we are carrying more devices with us to meet our different needs. This is giving rise to an explosion of complexity, whereas all consumers desire is a simple transition experience across all their devices.
A touchless world
There are multiple emerging indications that in the future, consumers can expect more natural, flexible and intuitive interactions with computerized devices, in a manner similar to human-to-human communications. Disruptive innovations in sensor-based technologies are emerging with a promise to create new products with touchless interfaces that can be controlled by human gestures or even thoughts.
The effortless sharing of information
Smart technologies are changing the way machines, devices and computers communicate among themselves. Innovative applications based on proximity sensor Near Field Communications (NFC) technology allow devices to exchange information with one another.
Thought-controlled technologies are highly aspirational for human-machine interactions. They present the potential to radically change our world in the distant future, and will potentially have multiple applications across different industries.
Inspiring runners to train harder, run further, and race faster
Previously we have written about the plethora of devices that are giving consumers a greater understanding of their bodies. Last year we saw the Withings e-scale that shares your weight, body-mass index and body fat each time you step on; Fitbit that tracks your daily activity level; and Zeo that enlightened users of their sleep patterns. All these devices offer a way for consumers to understand their bodies better and resolve to make changes to improve their health.
It is not only for physical health that we are being monitored. Volkswagen's new Passat monitors driver behavior closely, noting any erratic steering wheel movements and lane deviations. If this fatigue detection system detects that the driver is tiring it will alert via visual displays on the dashboard accompanied with a warning sound.
Social networking is no longer just about how many friends you have
For the last 20 years the internet has connected us to each other in increasingly varied ways – beginning with email and chat rooms, and now with social networks. The rise of social media has presented huge opportunities for people to connect with each other via messages, statuses and photos – and now brands have realized the potential to connect consumers to their products, ushering in a new era of innovative services and commercial strategies.
Dyson’s new Digital Slim vacuum cleaner comes with a detachable long-reach wand to clean up high and into awkward gaps like under the sofa, and detaches to be used as a handheld for spot cleaning, upholstery and inside the car.
Gaming is changing the shape of our living rooms
Video games were once sequestered to that stand-up Pac-Man machine in the back of a pizza restaurant. As time progressed they migrated to recreational rooms and basements where kids spent most of their time. More recently, they have found their place in the family room due to expanding applications such as playing DVDs and connecting to the Internet. Now they are not just for video games, but for general entertainment purposes.
The living room is fast becoming the place for daily exercise routines
Getting fit used to be something that most people would associate with busy, sweaty gyms or cold early morning jogs around the local park. However, consumers are increasingly using the home as a place to get fit and exercise, with technology being a key reason for this shift from the gym to the living room.
As our homes become less formal and our furniture gains a lower profile, our televisions are changing too.
The television takes centre stage
Even with the rise in popularity of the internet, televisions still have a central role in our lives, and in fact we are watching more TV than at any time in the last five years. But how people are viewing TV is rapidly changing.
Zip Realty - www.ziprealty.com/iphone
This year saw the beginning of the future witnessed in a number of science-fiction movies, with the mass implementation of augmented reality. The apps market, combined with a smart phone’s ability to take pictures and connect to services, has made augmented reality real for anyone interested in the benefits.
NuFace - www.mynuface.com
This year we have seen a revolution in the beauty category, with a number of new brands coming to market with devices that are touted to offer better results than what can be achieved via the use of traditional chemicals alone.
XBox 360 Kinect - www.xbox.com
This year saw all three of the major game consoles now having a semblence of motion control, with Sony introducing the PlayStation Move and Microsoft introducing the Kinect for Xbox, joining Nintendo’s highly successful Wii.
Ikea’s ‘Homemade is Best’ cookbook - www.ikea.com
This year we have seen some great examples of brands developing new offers to help move them into new markets. One of the best examples has been Ikea’s introduction into cookbooks.
iPad - www.apple.com
This year has undoubtedly witnessed a shift in computing, with all the major brands introducing, or announcing, a tablet device to their portfolio.
The top ten trends for 2011
Next year looks set to be a very exciting year with a number of trends reaching tipping point, resulting in shifts across mainstream cultures and lifestyles, with new products being bought, new business models being exploited, and new services being introduced.
Finding more hours in the day leads to less hours at night
People want to spend a lot more of their time in bed. A luxurious day in bed with no work, no pressure and no hassles is seen as a real indulgence. The bed is the one place people really want to be – it’s the one place they can really rest and relax.
How technology is invading our bedrooms and changing our lives
Technology has become such an integral part of our lives that is has infiltrated some of our most intimate and personal spaces, and this includes the bedroom. The use of phones, computers, televisions and game consoles in the bedroom has had an effect not only with how we use and view the bedroom, but on our health and wellbeing too.
Our morning routines are moving more into the bedroom
No matter how rushed a person’s work schedule may be, they still find time for relaxing. On an average day, 96% of Americans spend time doing leisure activities. Some of these leisure activities include watching television or surfing the internet — activities that are increasingly done in the bedroom.
The finalists of this year’s Electrolux Design Lab were unveiled earlier this year at the UK’s leading department store John Lewis. The concepts explored what life may be like in 2050.
The sex industry – from seedy and secretive to the mainstream
A couple’s intimate relationship is often the first thing to suffer from the stress and pressures of modern lifestyles. However, more products are coming to market that add an extra dimension of intimacy and excitement to sex lives, offering new ways for couples to explore each other’s desires and take their intimate relationship to a new level.
Like other aspect of our lives, kitchens are going high-tech
The kitchen can be a veritable hotbed of technology. From the first labor-saving appliances, such as the washing machine, to more recent interactive devices, such as fridges that contact you when you’re running out of milk, we are always looking for ways to make day-to-day life more efficient.
IKEA concepts for how the kitchen of 2040 may look
Our needs and desires are changing, as is the world we live in. As a result our homes will transform with us. At the centre is these changes our kitchens are set to revolutionize as they typify many of the trends that are most important to us.
Fast, easy and convenient retail experiences
Retailers are ushering in a new world of self-service buy-and-pay applications, with consumers increasingly using self-checkout stations at grocery stores, paying for travel through airport check-in kiosks, renting movies from self-service DVD rental kiosks, and motorists are refueling their vehicles at pay-at-pump gas stations. Restaurant diners can even order from touch-screens at fast-food chains and use hand-held, pay-at-table devices at sit-down restaurants.
Brands embrace mobile devices as the future of retail
The prevalence of mobile devices, and the continuing increase in the abilities of our technologies, mean that we can now interact with products and places like never before. This has already infiltrated our lives in the form of social networking, where people can connect whenever and wherever they are thanks to their mobile devices, letting friends know where in town they’re having a drink, or rating the latest restaurant and sharing it with the community.
Major investment in online retail could signal a move towards virtual retail
Despite the fact that online retail has been a strong, and growing, presence in our lives for the last decade it still only accounts for around 10% of sales in the US and UK markets – so why is it not larger? We could soon see a change in this, as major retailers and brands start to roll out more innovative and ambitious online retail programs.
Cash is no longer king
In the next few years we will witness a revolution in the way we pay for things, with cash rapidly going out of fashion. Mike Bownman, Head of Policy and Markets at the Payment Council said, “Although cash won’t disappear in our lifetime, the continuing payments revolution will make it an ever smaller part of our spending”.
Universal design to help people stay connected
With mobile phones getting smaller, buttons more fiddly and technology more baffling the elder population are becoming increasingly isolated.
The internet age has literally come of age
The older generations are more tech savvy than many younger generations would believe them to be. 18% of over-60s regularly download music onto their MP3 players, and 16% of iPhone owners are over 50, making up part of the 74% of iPhone users are over the age of 25 (comScore).
At the end of last year personal mobility was a large theme at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Gaming for more than just leisure
Earlier this year, Gloucestershire County Council in the UK introduced Nintendo Wii’s to elderly residents as part of a social services program.
Innovative technologies within health care
With the continued growth in the size of aging populations across the globe, a radical rethink of medical services is needed.
The changing habits of commuters
The daily commute to work is increasingly becoming an important part of the morning routine – the growing prevalence of smartphones and wireless technology is allowing us to become more productive while on the move. The average UK commuter spends 139 hours a year commuting to and from work and brands that make it more possible for us to make good use of this time will find traction among a large consumer group.
Filtering down technology from the sporting elite
Technologies developed at the pinnacle of sports have been filtering down into the products that we use everyday. Nowhere is this more visible than the technological relationship between Formula One and road cars.
The future of sports broadcasting
Watching sporting events on the television is something engrained in our culture – this year’s superbowl became the most watched TV show in US history, with 106.5 million people watching it on the American network CBS (Reuters).
The official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots have been unveiled this month.
Encouraging participation through networking
For years US track and field events had seen a decrease in attendances, sponsorship and media coverage. A series of doping scandals that have wrecked both careers and record books, have further disillusioned a dwindling fan-base with no dominant American athletics hero to pin their hopes on.
The convergence of medical science and technology
Advances in technology and medical research are making it possible to envision an entirely new health care system that provides more individualized care without increasing costs.
The cell phone is the perfect sensor
Over the last 3 years cell phones have included increasing sensitive and accurate sensors within them. From mics, to cameras to accelerometers, our phones have gained the ability to further interact with the consumer and the world around them.
Zeo tracks and measures your unique sleep patterns through the electrical signals naturally produced by the brain. As a result it can set the alarm to only awaken you during light sleep to ensure that you feel less disturbed and more refreshed.
Interactions that are more responsive and immersive
How we interact with computers has been changing rapidly over the last year or so, as new sensing technology has led to more intuitive ways of controlling and accessing media.
Nintendo have continued to push the boundaries in the gaming market. Later this year Nintendo will introduce the Wii Vitality Sensor – a pulse sensor that clips on to the player’s finger and connects to the Wii-mote. It measures heart rate to determine levels of excitement, nervousness and even concentration, with the data then used to adjust game difficulty.
Sense the road, other road users, and even you
Sensors have been built into cars since the early seventies, with systems such as anti-lock brakes, traction control, and parking sensors. Over the last thirty years these sensors have become increasingly sophisticated, and over the next few years we can expect to see the number of sensors in cars rapidly multiply as new technologies increasingly help improve safety and the driving experience.
Since October last year Philips’ DirectLife fitness tracker has been proving popular amongst consumers looking to get fit.
Are sensors smaller than blood cells the future?
Nanotechnology is a cutting edge science – its benefits slowly becoming apparent in a variety of industries. Using this technology to create sensitive, microscopic sensors has found a lot of traction amongst a diverse number of markets – from medical, to transportation to consumer goods like food. We could soon be entering a new era of technology, where sensors have become hundreds of times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Architecture that adapts and evolves
Our homes, offices and hospitals consume more energy than almost any industry or commercial enterprise – buildings make up over 40% of the total energy consumption in the United States.
As the economy recovers pragmatic luxury will be the growing trend
As the economic climate begins to improve we will likely observe growth of luxury, indulgence, and brand names. It is unlikely that luxury will return to the same extent, but it is predicted that we will see smaller, regular indulgences in both mass and premium channels. Luxury is constantly being redefined and is now within reach of a much larger consumer segment.
Beautiful, elegant, and intelligent this eye-catching kettle has digital controls so that you can heat the water to any desired temperature between 45oC and 100oC – making a consistent and perfect cup of tea for any family member’s tastes. It also has a timer so that it can be programmed to boil water in time for breakfast. The display on the handle allows you to accurately measure the volume of water inside, and even watch the temperature rise as it boils.
Driving growth through brand cooperation
Although co-branding is nothing new, it is on the up and many industry experts have highlighted it as a growing trend for 2010, as consumers want brands to be more experimental, and more open – a reflection of our changing society.
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A better understanding of consumers and their emotions can open up new channels for brands to build long-term profitable relationships with consumers based on emotional, impulse purchases that bring revenue in for the brand and delight to the consumer.
From all of the Antennae Team we hope you have enjoyed our reports so far and here's to another 50 reports and beyond!
This video looks at our changing lives as everyone and everything becomes connected, becoming part of an 'always on' network
The final issue in our Home Series explores our evolving viewing habits, and our continued addiction to the television.
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Earlier this year TomTom and Nike+ released details of a collaborative project – the TomTom Sports Watch.
The social connectivity that the internet has given us has also allowed consumers to connect with the wider world on a commercial level.
BMW's Connected Drive Group already deliver vehicle systems to connect drivers with their cars and the environment. BMW keys can already be customized giving the driver their favourite radio stations, and rear-parking sensors were an early indicator of how sensors can be used to improve driver awareness.
Augmented reality is not only bringing a greater depth of information to our real environments, but it also creating new opportunities for a more sensory, immediate and engaging marketing strategy.
Figures for January show that e-book net sales increased by 115.8% year-on-year – up from $32.4 million to $69.9 million (According to the January 2011 sales report of the Association of American Publishers).