Following a boom in innovation in the cannabis drinks space, Coca-Cola has confirmed that it's exploring the possibility of using CBD oil in some of its drinks in the future.
Coca-Cola has embraced the massive financial potential of the cannabis space, which is set to be worth $22bn by 2022 (Brightfield Group, 2018). The global brand is in talks with Canadian medicinal cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis with the aim of developing a range of drinks infused with non-psychoactive CBD. The drinks will take advantage of the medicinal effects of the compound, which is said to ease pain, inflammation and anxiety.
For more on cannabis as a multipurpose elixir, see our report 10 Wellbeing Trends to Watch.
Michael Christopher, head of Californian cannabis drinks brand Mood33, is enthusiastic about this new development. As he stated at Advertising Week New York (October 1-3 2018), "It's a huge validator of our category for CPG [consumer-packaged goods] to be using [CBD] as a hero ingredient."
It appears, then, that Christopher doesn't see Coca-Cola as a threat. Instead, he is welcoming it as a potential investor in regional brands like Mood33, should cannabis eventually become fully legal across the US – as many expect it will do.
See our Spotlight Trend Commercialising Cannabis to learn more about this fast-growing industry. You might also want to take a look at The Beverage Buzz: Alcohol-Style THC Drinks for examples of how North American drinks brands are currently tapping into the cannabis space. Additionally, Fluid Flavours offers insights into innovations in the beverage industry.
Facebook is aiming to make video chat a more natural, seamless experience with the release of its first hardware device, Portal.
Facebook's Portal combines a video screen with an artificial intelligence-powered camera that tracks users' movements, keeping them in the frame throughout the chat. The device also features four integrated microphones that pick up speech, regardless of where the user is in the room. These features mean that, unlike smartphone and computer video-chat apps, Portal allows the user to move and speak freely, as if their conversation were happening face to face.
With Portal, Facebook is tapping into a global trend of dynamic, borderless living, facilitating a realistic communication experience through technology (for more on this, see our report Being Borderless). Facebook also appears to be targeting family relationships: Portal's Story Time, an augmented reality application, allows users to read stories to loved ones using a teleprompter while smart visuals and audio illustrate the story. For more on how technology is supporting new family dynamics, see Crafting Modern Connections, part of our latest Macro Trend The Kinship Economy.
Facebook is wise to capitalise on the popularity of video chat: in 2017, it hosted 17 billion video chats on its Messenger platform (Facebook, 2017). However, reaction to Portal has been mixed; reviewers have found the camera tracking effective, but are concerned about privacy in light of Facebook's recent data breaches and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Facebook describes Portal as "private by design", fitting it with features such as a camera cover and a button to completely disable the visual and audio recording functions, with the aim of increasing the product's privacy credentials. For more on how to preserve consumer privacy, see our Safeguarding Security report.
London-based femtech company Elvie has just launched the world's first silent wearable breast pump. The device is free from the tubes and distinctive noises of a traditional pump, allowing discreet and hands-free milk expressing.
The Elvie Pump sits in the wearer's bra, allowing the user to continue with daily tasks while expressing milk. Like Elvie's Kegel training device (see our blog), the pump comes with an app that records data on factors such as milk production and pumping history. More importantly, the app allows the device to be controlled remotely, meaning the user doesn't need to fiddle with the pump while it's in their bra. The device has the potential to revolutionise breastfeeding for all mothers, especially those who return to work while still pumping. A single pump costs £229 ($300), with the double unit retailing for £429 ($560).
Traditional pumps are noisy and require the use of bulky machinery, often forcing users to find a private place in which to express. In the UK, although mothers have no legal right to breastfeeding breaks in the workplace, employers must meet obligations under health and safety, flexible working and discrimination laws (NCT, 2017). The NHS advises that the toilet, often one of the only private spaces available in a workplace, is not a suitable place in which to express milk (NHS, 2018).
The Elvie Pump is designed to be unnoticeable and allows women to express discreetly, as highlighted in its promotional video. Brands stand to benefit by following Elvie's example and providing tech that supports breastfeeding mothers. The hashtag #NormalizeBreastfeeding has over 740,000 mentions on Instagram, illustrating the growing movement towards destigmatising this natural act.
Our report Motherhood highlights further ways in which consumers can be supported in this chapter of their lives.
New shower innovations offer spa-like experiences, responding to consumers’ demands for more from their at-home cleansing rituals. French start-up Skinjay’s new range blurs the boundaries between wellness and personal care by harnessing the power of aromatherapy with the aim of alleviating tension.
The luxury brand has upgraded the act of washing by introducing an interchangeable and colourful diffuser system for the shower. The easy-to-install device goes between the shower mixer and the hose, with the capsule then inserted into the device itself. A mixture of water and essential oils is then expressed from the showerhead, with the hot water and steam creating a mist-like effect.
Skinjay’s new spa-inspired capsule range, called Mission, focuses on scent and its influence on emotions. The four-piece collection uses different notes to alter the user’s state of mind in various ways. For example, the Bedtime capsule is aimed at those who are looking to unwind. It claims to reduce stress and anxiety levels as neroli, green mandarin and ylang ylang are released from the capsule.
This innovative product feeds into the growing trend of using aromatherapy to improve consumers’ mental states. It provides a new way for people to physically and mentally prepare for the day ahead. To read more about these rituals, see our report Serving the Self-Care Generation.
With each of Skinjay’s capsules creating a distinct olfactory experience, consumers are encouraged to experiment with the different scents available, choosing one that matches their mood. For more on this idea, take a look at our blog posts The Rise of Fragrance Wardrobes and Lush’s Spa-Inspired Range Makes Mood Magic.
Can creative inspiration be found outside of the melting pot of urban centres? And can innovation thrive in a rural setting? New book City Quitters by UK trend forecaster (and out-of-house Stylus expert) Karen Rosenkranz explores how young designers are moving further afield in search of a fresh perspective for their work.
As explored in New Metropolitans, cities are undergoing a demographic shift. Millennials (aged 24 to 37) are increasingly relocating out of urban areas, while boomers (aged 54 to 72) are stepping in to their place.
According to Rosenkranz, the rising cost of urban living and fierce competition are making it harder for creatives to thrive in a city environment. The dulling effect of financial anxiety and long work hours, plus a global homogeneous aesthetic fuelled by identikit social media feeds, led her to question whether “fresh, original thinking is no longer the preserve of a thriving megacity?”
For Italian artist Ivano Atzori and American set designer Kyre Chenven – two of Rosenkranz’s ‘city quitter’ subjects – the move to a small valley in Sardinia, Italy, steered the formation of their interdisciplinary studio Pretziada. The duo looks to the region’s design vernacular to inform their work, evolving traditional making techniques to peddle Sardinian crafts to the world.
This migration of creatives to the countryside will help rid rural life of simplistic utopian clichés, and instead, foster a fresh visual language that directs heritage crafts into the future.
For more on how crafts are being revived to offer consumers a sense of belonging, while fulfilling the innate human desire to create, see our S/S 20 Design Direction Journey.
City Quitters: Creative Pioneers Pursuing Post-Urban Life is published by Frame.
The fine lines between selling, guidance and entertainment are being blurred, with brands now behaving like media entities to stand out and provide a more engaging route to consumption. Tapping into this trend, US beauty, wellness and athleisure subscription box FabFitFun (FFF) has launched a shoppable live show on Facebook to generate more digital interaction.
Running for two weeks until October 5, FFF Live airs daily between 11am and 1pm and is available to all active Facebook users. Marrying commerce, entertainment and content (see Contextual Commerce for more), the schedule ranges from expert-led advice and educational sessions, to QVC-style product showcases and entertainment.
Industry experts explain how to use beauty products, while hosts demo items from the current Fall Edit box, with viewers able to interact with them in real time via the comment section. Viewers can also win prizes via a game show titled The Fab Challenge – such as Win in 60, where a caller has 60 seconds to match the right price to a corresponding product. If they match all five, they win all the prizes on display.
The launch ties closely with the brand's ongoing content creation strategy. This already includes a series of Founder Chats with partner brands, hosted by FFF co-founder and editor-in-chief Katie Rosen Kitchens; and an exclusive members TV channel (updated monthly) on FFF's website, where subscribers get on-demand access to fitness tutorials from LA's top trainers. See also Subscription E-Tail Gets Experiential.
The show will return in Q4 with the release of the winter subscription box and an updated schedule, which will be altered according to consumer feedback gathered from the beta launch. See also Retail's Brand Broadcasters, Interactive & Shoppable: Live Video Shopping Platform and Monetising Social Media '18: Five Trends.
British retailer Marks & Spencer has released a line of clothing designed for children with disabilities. The Easy Dressing range matches designs from the retailer's main kidswear collection, so every child has the opportunity to dress like their peers.
First launched in August with a range of schoolwear options, the line has now been extended to include clothing suitable for daywear. The designs cater to children with sensory and physical disabilities, featuring soft fabrics and flat-lock seams for comfort, popper and Velcro fastenings for ease, and pockets and extra fabric to accommodate casts and feeding tubes.
In addition, M&S has also used children of mixed abilities to model its Autumn/Winter range in its ad campaign and on-site. As one in 20 kids in the UK have some form of disability, the new collection and ad campaign provide mainstream representation and useful products for members of society whose needs are often ignored (DLF, 2017). The collection is also affordable, with the most expensive item, a coat, costing £36 ($47).
The collection is already garnering a positive response on Twitter - a fitting reminder that as consumers increasingly demand a diverse range of products for all abilities, ages, sizes and races, companies also benefit from catering to these needs.
September is a pivotal month for consumers seeking rejuvenation and a fresh start post-summer, offering beauty and wellbeing brands a ‘New Year, New Me’ marketing opportunity mid-year.
Online social scrapbooking and discovery platform Pinterest has unveiled its Back to Life report, which rebrands September as a time for new beginnings.
The August 2018 survey analysed British consumer behaviours and found that 38% of respondents believe the end of summer provides a fresh start – a time to make small changes to their routines.
We spotlight two key opportunities for brands in the health and beauty industries.
In an historic ruling, consensual homosexual sex was decriminalised in India on September 6. As the country with the second largest population in the world, this development allows a huge demographic to live their lives as they choose, without fear of legal repercussions (US Census Bureau, 2018).
The legalisation of same-sex relationships will encourage tourism from the global LGBTQ+ travel market, which is valued at $211bn annually (Peter Tatchell Foundation, 2018). Products and services catering to the particular needs of India's LGBTQ+ community will now also be legally permitted. So it's no surprise that a recent report demonstrates a strong correlation between LGBTQ+ inclusion and economic development (Open for Business, 2018).
The legalisation of homosexual relationships in India opens a new market to businesses and companies that seek to support the interests and requirements of those in the LGBTQ+ community. However, while the law may have changed, India remains a largely conservative society.
A machine-learning algorithm has been developed to estimate obesity levels in US cities without directly assessing the medical data of inhabitants. The researchers hope their findings can help future cities improve the health and wellbeing of their residents.
Researchers from the University of Washington studied satellite and Google Maps Street View imagery of city infrastructure and building placement, correlating it with obesity rates in individual cities. They also included 'points of interest' such as food and pet shops, which encourage activity within a district. For example, in areas with shops, people are more likely to walk around and socialise compared to less-frequented industrial districts.
Their initial research has found, unsurprisingly, that green urban areas with widely spaced buildings correlated with lower obesity rates, as these features facilitate physical activity. Despite wealthy areas typically including these elements, validation tests demonstrated that income was only one contributing factor to inhabitants' health; a city's infrastructure also affected its obesity rates.
The algorithm has only been applied to US cities so far, but could be rolled out further afield if adapted to account for differences in city planning and lifestyle across other cultures.
Obesity affects almost 40% of US adults (CDC, 2018). Dynamic approaches to health management in cities is a wise move, as less than 20% of the US population live in rural areas (Census Bureau, 2016). The University of Washington's research will be helpful in planning future urban infrastructure and offers a novel solution to concerns over healthcare.
Our recent blog on Norwegian town Lyseparken illustrates how cities of the future can be built with the wellbeing of inhabitants in mind. For more on the future of urban spaces, see our Smart Cities Spotlight Trend.
Apple has launched the Apple Watch Series 4 at its annual showcase event in Cupertino, Silicon Valley. The latest iteration of its wearable device focuses on health-tracking and wellbeing, with particular relevance for senior and boomer demographics.
The new Apple Watch is the first device from the company to include an electrocardiography (ECG) sensor. ECGs can detect disordered heart rhythms, which can indicate vulnerability to heart attacks and strokes. All data recorded by the ECG is stored in the Apple Health app, a feature that will appeal to the 90% of health tech users happy to share device data with their doctor (Accenture, 2018).
The Apple Watch Series 4 can also detect when its wearer has fallen, using an algorithm to analyse movement and impact. The wearer is sent an alert with the option to dismiss the notification or call the emergency services; if the wearer stays inactive for over a minute, the watch automatically notifies emergency services.
The new Apple Watch's health technology will specifically benefit the senior and boomer demographics. "The key breakthrough here is the ability to notify the support network around elderly people when someone wearing an Apple Watch has fallen over," Lloyd Price, co-founder of digital health company Zesty, tells Stylus. "I think the biggest buyers of Apple Watch will not actually be elderly people, but their carers who want peace of mind."
We're living in an ageing society: the proportion of the world's population over 60 years old is estimated to rise to 22% by 2050 (WHO, 2018). Brands would be wise to follow Apple's example and develop technologies that help to care for older generations.
With the rise of artificial intelligence, connected devices, smart assistants and algorithms, is this the beauty industry’s moment to fully embrace the power of personalisation?
London’s annual two-day In-Cosmetics Formulation Summit invites brands, cosmetic scientists and formulators to explore issues and opportunities surrounding one particular trending theme. Last year’s was Bio-Transforming Beauty, while this year (October 24-25), the spotlight will shine on personalisation and bespoke beauty with the theme Up Close & Personalised.
“The digital revolution has really made personalisation possible,” said summit programme director Dr Barbara Brockway, director of personal care at US counterfeit prevention firm Applied DNA Sciences. “It’s a big trend that affects everybody, and not just one aspect. It’s going to be hair, skin colour – every aspect of the beauty industry is going to be affected by this digital revolution.”
By talking to key figures in beauty development in the months leading up to the event, the summit team identify the area in most need of exploration. “With more apps on our phones, and Alexa, we can ask algorithms what we should be using for this particular hair problem or skin type or colour of make-up,” said Brockway. “We know people would like to know more. Can we find them the expert who can answer the questions?”
Day one will focus on understanding the consumer, with talks centring on biology and genomics, the algorithm-beauty-interface (ABI), and the cognitive behaviour that drives our desires and aspirations. Day two – dedicated to formulating for the consumer – will explore bespoke and mass customisation, personalised fragrances, and challenges in personalisation for haircare.
Full event coverage is set to drop on Stylus on November 2 2018. The early booking rate for the in-cosmetics Formulation Summit will end on 16 September 2018. To book your place, visit summit.in-cosmetics.com/book-your-place.
Livio uses directional microphones and binaural audio signal processing to amplify important sounds, such as a friend talking in a noisy room. A key innovation is its use of machine learning algorithms to optimise hearing in different environments, rather than relying on manual tuning.
It is estimated that 466 million people suffer from disabling hearing loss worldwide (WHO, 2018). However, only 40% of people who need hearing aids actually wear them (Action on Hearing Loss, 2017). One reason for this is hearing aids' negative associations with age and illness.
Starkey hopes that Livio's multifunctionality will help to alleviate some of the social stigma still surrounding medical devices. Beyond its hearing capabilities, Livio acts as a fitness tracker, recording the number of steps and time spent physically active, displaying the data in a linked app called Thrive. The wearable additionally logs the duration of social engagement and active listening, presenting the data as a mental health 'score' on Thrive.
Livio also incorporates real-time translation of 27 languages. The wearer's speech is translated on the screen of their linked mobile device, while the responses they receive are heard through the hearing aid.
As disabling hearing loss is projected to affect 900 million people by 2050, health tech companies would be wise to further develop designs that facilitate optimal living for the hard of hearing (WHO, 2018). As noted above, 60% of those in need of hearing aids do not wear them, demonstrating the effect social stigma can have on the adoption of health treatments. In our Tackling Taboos report, we highlight how businesses and platforms can integrate products with stigma-busting rhetoric to entice reticent demographics.
Luxury food and beverage brands at this year's Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London pushed the boat out in terms of flavour, format and health credentials. Carefully considered left-field thinking delivered creative and fully-rounded products – from tea-whisky to CBD-infused honey.
As mystical practices become mainstream, beauty brands are capitalising on this opportunity by creating products with a spiritual narrative. New launches in this category cite lunar inspirations as key.
Modern consumers are seeking total wellbeing with moon-motivated rituals, and the latest company tapping into this mindset is US subscription service MoonBox. Each monthly box contains crystals, tarot cards and four ethically sourced products – including essential oils, body scrubs and soaps. Together, these curated blends aim to detoxify body and spirit in alignment with the 28-day lunar cycle.
Launched in 2018, MoonBox’s subscription model and step-by-step guide inject mindfulness into users’ daily routines and create a more accessible route for them to practice new customs. It feeds into demand from millennials and Gen Zers – 69% of pivotals (aged 13 to 34) believe in a non-physical realm (BeautyCon Media, 2017). We explore how this cohort navigates today’s turbulent times with magic in our report Modern Mysticism.
In addition, the brand’s online platform offers information on meditation techniques and rituals for different periods of the lunar cycle. It also sends Google calendar reminders to subscribers, so they can incorporate these new practices at the start of the new moon phase.
Beauty brands are starting to acknowledge the importance of cyclical patterns when developing personal care products, as skincare and bodycare transform into self-care. A good example is Parisian brand Shigeta’s Luna Bath Salts, which harness the power of aromatherapy at each phase of the moon.
We predict an uptick in ranges that support consumers’ emotional needs – regardless of the scientific accuracy of these claims. To read more about this burgeoning trend, see Selling Cyclical Beauty and Serving the Self-Care Generation.