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Published: 20 Sep 2018

Rebooting Lifestyles: A Self-Care & Makeover Revolution


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.

  • Celebrating Self-Care: Modern consumers are seeking total wellbeing, as they focus on creating a sense of life balance: approximately 37% of survey participants wanted more ‘me time’ following the end of summer.

    Pinterest has identified a pivotal market opportunity – the consumer desire for rejuvenation during the post-summer slump. The appetite for routines that physically and mentally prepare consumers for the days ahead are currently soaring in popularity. In the US, Google searches for the term “self-care Sunday” increased by 850% from 2017 to 2018 (Google, 2018).

    Brands should capitalise on this by rebranding relaxation-promoting products for the ‘Back to Life’ season. A good example of a product that could exist in this new category is American indie beauty brand Aquarian Soul’s Flower Moon Bath Soak. The formula harnesses the power of aromatherapy, using rose, chamomile and jasmine to boost mental and emotional wellbeing.   
  • New Season, New Me: Extreme and subtle makeovers alike are expected to gain popularity after the summer season: according to Pinterest, 18% of Brits would like to make changes to their personal style post-summer (including hair and beauty hacks).

    Consumers’ desire to change their appearances at this time of year could prompt hair salons or other service-led spaces, such as in-store makeover counters, to offer discounted prices as part of a September deal.

    In addition, integrating augmented reality digitally or in retail spaces could encourage this cohort to experiment with new looks in real time. For instance, Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Mirror presents consumers of all skin tones with a selection of signature looks for a quick makeover fix.
Published: 20 Sep 2018

India's New Market: Homosexual Relationships Legalised

India has legalised homosexual sex

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).

Now that consensual homosexual sex has been removed from Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, it is thought that so-called Pink Capitalism will be a huge boost to India's economy.

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.

To ensure due sensitivity when addressing this topic, see our reports Speak the Language of Now and How to Talk About Sex & Sexuality.

Published: 18 Sep 2018

AI Algorithm Identifies How City Structure Affects Health

Open spaces in cities correlate with lower obesity rates

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.

Published: 14 Sep 2018

New Apple Watch Brings ECG Tech to the Masses

Apple Watch

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.

For more on health tech aimed at boomers and seniors, see our Starkey Hearing Technologies and Papa App blogs.

Published: 13 Sep 2018

In-Cosmetics Formulation Summit: Up Close & Personalised

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.

For more on the latest in personalised and bespoke beauty, see Mainstreaming Bespoke Beauty and Future Beauty: Perfecting Bespoke.

Published: 13 Sep 2018

Starkey's New Hearing Aids Tap Wearable Tech Appeal

Starkey Hearing Technologies' new AI-powered hearing aid, Livio

US-based health-tech company Starkey Hearing Technologies has revealed its new artificial intelligence-powered hearing aid, Livio. In addition to optimising the wearer's listening experience, it also translates languages in real time and records the wearer's biometric data.

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.

Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2018: Top 3 Luxury Trends

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.

  • It's Tea's Time: Cold-brew tea stood out as a key product, with brands experimenting with flavour profiles and product formulations. British start-up Noveltea showcased a collection of three alcoholic cold-brew teas: gin with Earl Grey, rum with Moroccan mint tea, and whisky with Chinese Oolong. Business development director for the brand Caroline Conroy said: "We've seen a lot of development and experimentation with cold coffee; now it's time for tea to take the spotlight."

    Also playing with tea and alcohol at the show was London brewery Lowlander, which launched a beer made with tangy ingredients yuzu and grapefruit, balanced out with subtle cold-brewed Earl Grey.

    South African brand Uber Flavour launched its collection of cold-brew rooibos blended drinks made with fruit juice and natural spices. The beverages have a rich umami flavour and come in lemon & honey, berry & buchu, mango & vanilla and apple & cinnamon varieties.
Uber Flavour
  • Everything is Enriched: Food brands are continuing to enrich their products with ever more creative health-boosting ingredients. As explored previously at Stylus (see Skin & Tonic: Anti-Ageing Gin and Bobbi Brown Launches Wellness Collection), collagen is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in food development for its skin elasticity and anti-ageing properties.

    New UK brand Ancient + Brave launched a duo of hot beverage powders containing collagen, designed to be blended with its True MCT oil, water and butter to create an enriched skin, brain and performance-boosting beverage.

    English company Infused Nature launched its new Art of CBD honey. Made from raw canola honey and premium full spectrum CBD, it contains natural enzymes, vitamins and the full scope of cannabinoids. Zamil Mohammed, export manager for Infused Nature, told Stylus: "The flavour profile of CBD oil can be a little jarring, so by combining it with honey, we have created a product that is pleasant to taste and can be used on toast, in cakes or in tea without losing the vital benefits."

    See our Spotlight Trend Commercialising Cannabis for a deep dive into its most potent opportunities.
Ancient + Brave
  • Alcohol's Long Tail: Innovation in the alcohol space was strong again at this year's show – with its influence reaching beyond beverages. UK start-up The Drinks Bakery launched a range of savoury biscuits, formulated to be paired with specific types of alcohol. Founder Andy Murray said: "Looking at the tradition for cheese and wine pairing, we realised that there was an opportunity to create a unique, cheese-based range of biscuits that played with flavours found in alcohol in the same, yet unique way." Options include parmesan, toasted pine nuts and basil (for prosecco, fruity wines and blonde beers), and Lancashire cheese and spring onion (to pair with dry wines, lager, bitter beers and stout). See our report Luxury Food Trends 2017 for a similar take on this thinking.

    Dutch company Vinoos introduced its product range The Real Wine Gum to the UK market at the show. Playing on the traditional British gummy sweets, the wine gums seek to give the flavour profile of different wines, including Chardonnay, rosé, Riesling and Merlot, without the alcohol content.

    Thirdly, London DIY bubble tea company Bobalife launched a collection of flavour pearls to add to spirit drinks and cocktails that burst in the mouth. According to Brett Merchant, national account manager for the brand, the pearls offer a new type of flavour experience – offering bursts of fruitiness without flavouring the whole drink.
The Drink Bakery
Published: 6 Sep 2018

Mainstreaming Spirituality: MoonBox’s Celestial Subscription


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.

For deeper insights into spiritual beauty, see Make It Magic: New-Age Beauty, Product Projections 2018: Cosmetics  and Instagangs: Bewitched Beauty.

Published: 6 Sep 2018

Girlguiding Overhaul Reflects Gen Z Interests

Girlguiding has launched new interest badges

Girlguiding, the UK's largest female-only youth charity, has introduced new 'interests' badges for subjects including construction, conscious consumption and astronomy. The new badges are part of the biggest overhaul the organisation has undergone in more than 100 years, reflecting a "new programme for every girl".

Throughout Girlguiding's long history, its young members have earned badges by dedicating themselves to activities and interests, which historically centred around tasks such as cooking and sewing. In an attempt to move away from an emphasis on domestic life and traditionally gendered activities, the new badges reframe skills to appeal to Gen Z Girl Guides. For example, sewing skills are now part of the Craftivism badge, which shifts focus onto how the skill can be used to advocate for social change.

The badges have been redesigned to be more inclusive. Previously, the Dancing badge depicted an able-bodied girl, whereas the new version features footprints and musical notes to include Girl Guides of all abilities. They also acknowledge new skillsets that have emerged with the proliferation of social media, including badges for Vlogging and Personal Brand. This demonstrates Girlguiding's understanding of Gen Z (now aged nine to 23), who spend an average of over 15 hours a week online (Ofcom, 2017).

Meanwhile, the Saver badge reflects Gen Z's financial awareness. Eighty-five per cent of this generation believe saving money is important to achieving their life goals, and the badge recognises and rewards good saving practices (Charles Schwab, 2018).

Brands and organisations looking to connect with Gen Z should follow Girlguiding's lead by embracing and celebrating the diversity of Gen Z culture. For advice on how to do this, see Speaking Gen Z's Language.

Published: 4 Sep 2018

New App Cures Cross-Generational Loneliness


Papa, a new app, connects elderly people in need of a helping hand at home with college students looking to earn extra cash. The app aims to combat the US loneliness epidemic, with recent data indicating that 46% of Americans feel lonely (Cigna, 2018).

The app provides an on-demand solution for when family help isn't available. Carefully vetted college students can be hired by the hour to help with transportation, cleaning, tech lessons or just companionship. Loneliness has been linked to heart disease and premature death, making the app a creative solution to physical and mental illness in older generations (ESC, 2018).

The app benefits both its elderly customers and the student 'Papa Pals', with a recent survey suggesting that Generation Z are more likely to feel lonely than seniors (Cigna, 2018). Papa gives helpers the opportunity to spend their spare time fostering human connections rather than feeling isolated.

The app has a monthly service fee of $15 or $30, with the higher price allowing users to request a specific Papa Pal. Students can then be hired for $15 an hour. The app is currently live in Florida, with plans to expand to other states by the end of the year.

As discussed in Boomers in Motion, services that connect different generations are growing in popularity as household structures shift away from the traditional nuclear family; brands should follow Papa's example and foster intergenerational friendships. For more on tech enhancing wellbeing, see our Nurturing Mental Health report.

Published: 31 Aug 2018

Top Trends from Shades of Beauty Live 2018

Shades of Beauty Live

A new hair and beauty show hailed as the UK’s first ‘black Beautycon’ has celebrated the diversity of women of colour, and challenged their lack of representation in beauty.

Shades of Beauty Live, held in London on August 24-25, was a discovery platform for brands and consumers. It featured talks from influential figures in the industry, including British beauty entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid.

Here are some of the highlights from the two-day expo.

  • Community Building: Building a community is a key engagement strategy for brands, as explored in our Macro Trend Active Lives: Invigorating Brand Values. Shades of Beauty itself was born from a desire to bring the black community together on hair and beauty – both of which are important parts of African culture.

    London salon Smokey Barbers uses the hashtag #justgotsmoked on Instagram to showcase clients’ trims. This interaction has increased its following and created a digital community, as well as one in the barbershop. “We grew up in disadvantaged areas when we were younger, where people didn’t give us a chance,” said founder Dominic Othol. “So our aim is to help all youth be a part of a community, with us as their role models.”

    The barbershop also unveiled its as-yet-unlaunched ethically sourced vegan brand 10Ten, featuring three water-based products: Wave Butter, Hair Clay and Beard Oil.
Smokey Barbers
Smokey Barbers
  • Better Colour Matching: The ‘Fenty Effect’ (where brands inspired by pop icon Rihanna’s inclusive beauty brand Fenty expand their complexion ranges to more than 40 shades) has gone some way to equalising the offering for consumers of colour. However, brands and influencers at the show championed the idea of smaller selections on a darker colour spectrum.

    Tapping into this, US brand Jacque Mgido Cosmetics offers light, water-based liquid foundations suitable for hot, humid climates in 15 darker shades and warm undertones. “Working as a celebrity make-up artist was the catalyst for making these specific shades,” said founder Jacque Mgido. “The deeper shades in the collection worked for my clients in LA and Zimbabwe.”
Jacque Mgido Cosmetics
  • Industry Authentication: The show’s founders, Christina Anyiamuka and Grace Adesina, set up Fair Hair Care in 2017 to promote transparency, quality and trust in the hair extension industry. This led to a line of ethical extensions made from human hair.

    “We both found it difficult to identify good hair quality,” said Anyiamuka. “When we tried different stockists which claimed to have 100% human hair, it didn’t react in the same way that real human hair does when it is treated. We realised there is no platform to regulate the quality of human hair, or a space for consumers to voice their opinions and experiences with human hair extensions.”

    The organisation is in the process of launching an advisory board and governing body to put together assessment criteria for hair brands to be awarded with its Hair Strand Mark. According to the platform, 78% of consumers surveyed believe independent verification of brands will improve industry standards.
Fair Hair Care
  • Natural & Organic Focus: A 2018 study by the Silent Spring Institute – a US non-profit dedicated to breast cancer prevention – ­found that black women are exposed to more hazardous chemicals than any other consumer group, due to the hair products they use. About 84% of the chemicals detected in the 18 products tested were not listed on the label.

    Several exhibitors placed an emphasis on natural values. Luxury British naturals brand Nature Spell has developed treatments for the hair and body which are free from synthetics, parabens and fragrances. They can be used for all hair and skin types, and the hero-ingredient-led line offers a range of different benefits.

    For example, its Neem & Castor Oil contains nutrients and antioxidants to protect the hair and skin from environmental damage. The oil prevents excess water from being absorbed by the hair, and optimises hair health.

For more on diversity and inclusivity in beauty, see Inclusive Beauty: 5 Key Lessons.

Nature Spell
Nature Spell
Published: 28 Aug 2018

The Outdoor Club Where Owners Can Socialise with Their Dogs


BarkPark, an outdoor clubhouse where dog owners can socialise with their pets, will open in Nashville this September. Created by Bark, the company behind the BarkBox dog-treat subscription service, BarkPark combines a dog-friendly space with social activities for owners.

The BarkPark will feature a grassy exercise area for dogs and a coffee bar (with free Wi-Fi and restrooms) for "dog parents". BarkBox co-founder Henrik Werdelin was inspired to create the clubhouse for dog owners after missing his pet while out with friends.

Accordingly, BarkPark will enable dog owners to combine pet-care commitments with socialising, hosting weekly events such as live music shows and beer tasting. All events will, of course, be dog-friendly. The first BarkPark is due to open on 8th September in Nashville, with the potential for more to open across America if successful.

BarkPark will be accessible through different levels of subscription: $19 for a day, $49 for a month, and $78 for a three-month pass (TechCrunch, 2018). While it's more expensive than a walk in the park, consumers are willing to invest their money in man's best friend. A recent survey found that US dog owners spend an average of $139.80 a month on their pet.

As our Pet Parents report reveals, domestic animals have been increasingly humanised, and are seen as part of the family. Services which enable the integration of pets into their owners' lives are therefore primed to succeed. For more on how to connect with pet owners, see our Global Pet Expo 2018 and Engaging Global Pet Owners reports.

Published: 23 Aug 2018

Designing Inclusively: August’s Best Mixed-Ability Packaging


Thinking inclusively about product and packaging is steadily becoming a must-do for brands. As noted in Packaging Futures: Diversity, consumers are demanding that companies consider individual experiences, and rewarding those that do with loyalty and praise. We look at two recent examples of inclusive packaging to reveal innovative strategies that cater to this market.

Since 2017, the packaging of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats has featured a large white heart where parents can write personalised messages on their kids’ lunchbox snacks. However, this design overlooked the estimated 64,000 legally blind children in the US (AFB, 2018). 

In response, Kellogg’s released a series of heart-shaped stickers printed in braille, conveying messages such as “You’ve got this” and “You’re a star”, that can be placed on the packaging. Also available is a cardboard audio box that plays a 10-second recorded message when opened.

Similarly, Xbox improved the packaging of its Adaptive Controller to serve mixed-ability users (for more on this gaming device, see our blog post). After hearing some users have to open products with their teeth, Xbox worked with disabled gamers to develop a “no teeth” design.

For the shipping box, cardboard and paper elements are used in place of tape to avoid the need for sharp cutting utensils. This joinery features large holes that act as easy-to-hold pull tags, with double-sided tags enabling access from both sides. Small enclosed boxes positioned at each end of the product offer protection without the need for bubble wrap.

Brands need to invite a diversity of users into the design process for a better understanding of how consumers engage with both product and packaging. Adopting a user-focused approach will help designs not only appeal to users of mixed ability, but also unveil creative interactions that inspire new enthusiasm for existing product.

Published: 21 Aug 2018

The Active Cruise Line Where Fitness Never Takes a Vacation

Blue World Voyages

Launching in May 2019, new US cruise line Blue World Voyages is changing the vacation game. Targeting a more active clientele, the 350-guest luxury vessel is designed for people who don't necessarily want to spend their vacations lazing around – namely, millennials.

Onboard, guests will find yoga, spinning and TRX studios, golf simulators and batting cages – but it doesn't end there. At each paradise-like destination, cruisers can participate in runs, hikes, bike rides, surfing and diving expeditions, as well as other exciting adventures around the Mediterranean.

It's not the first cruise line to have attempted to reach the active consumer. Cruise Critic – which reports on the best ships for fitness amenities – cites MSC Cruises as having the best gym, while Norwegian Cruise Line features ropes courses, and Seabourn is the place to go for yoga. However, Blue World Voyages doesn't just specialise in one area: it aims to offer the best of all fitness activities, setting it apart from this group.

Today's consumers are driven by the desire for extreme experiences and urban adventures, according to Stylus experts. Blue World Voyages is seizing on this trend by tapping into the active lifestyle market – a savvy way to keep up with changing consumer demands.

For more on catering to active consumers, see our Macro Trend Active Lives. See also Hospitality's Heightened Fitness Focus for more on how the travel industry is targeting the hardcore fitness consumer.

Published: 21 Aug 2018

NHS Makes Femtech Mainstream with Elvie Collaboration


The NHS has partnered with London-based femtech company Elvie to provide free Kegel training devices, in an attempt to modernise its approach to treating stress urinary incontinence, or SUI. The NHS spends a staggering £233m ($298m) per year treating SUI  (TechCrunch, 2018).

The Elvie Kegel trainer device helps women improve their pelvic floor muscles with an intimate wearable device and a free mobile app. The app helps to guide and encourage exercise, while biofeedback technology in the device ensures the correct muscle movement is achieved.

According to Elvie, one in three women suffer from pelvic floor issues (Elvie, 2018). The NHS recommends lifestyle changes and pelvic floor training before surgery is considered as a treatment option, and Elvie will be offered to suitable patients via a healthcare professional free of charge. The collaboration between Elvie and the NHS is predicted to save up to £424 ($541) per patient in treatment costs.

This technology is revolutionising SUI treatment, as 30% of women are unable to effectively exercise their pelvic floor muscles when given only written or verbal instructions (EJOG, 2017). The Elvie app encourages users to progress through Kegel strength levels – from Training to Advanced – with its five-minute exercise regimes. The NHS has previously recommended Kegel exercise app Squeezy, but the Elvie wearable enables a much better understanding of the exercise process.

Monitoring health via technology is on the rise, with the use of wearable tech having risen from 9% to 33% since 2014 (Accenture, 2018). As personal technology solutions become more integrated into medical care, health institutions and product companies should seize the opportunity to address medical problems with innovative devices.

In light of our recent Female Sexuality in Focus report, it's encouraging to see mainstream health institutions realising the potential of femtech innovations.