An exploration of the luxury market through trends, insights and expert opinions.

Need to Know
17 : 02 : 23

Huawei engineers a hybrid smartwatch, Armani merges haute couture exhibition with fragrance pop-up and renewable energy to take the lead by 2025.

Huawei engineers a hybrid smartwatch with in-built earbuds

Huawei Watch Buds, China
Huawei Watch Buds, China
Huawei Watch Buds, China

Europe, UK – Huawei has rolled out a new kind of tech wearable consisting of a smartwatch with concealed earbuds under the screen.

Boasting a sleek and traditional design, Huawei’s Watch Buds are well hidden in a very James Bond-esque way. The smartwatch’s glass screen doubles as a lid under which are nested two compact earbuds. Made possible thanks to a 'zero space' construction, this is the first hybrid wearable device of its kind. The two-in-one functionality of the Watch Buds assuage some consumer pain points – from leaving earbuds at home to forgetting to charge the case. Further enhancing convenience, the earbuds are completely identical, which makes them interchangeable and removes the need to identify the left from the right.

The smartwatch itself doesn’t compromise on performance and has advanced heath tracking capabilities. With consumers increasingly committing to self-optimisation, there is a large market opportunity for upgraded wearables like Huawei’s two-in-one watch.

Strategic opportunity

Don’t make consumers have to choose between performance, convenience and aesthetics. Like Huawei’s two-in-one Watch Buds, consider how smart products can boost convenience and cost-efficiency for users

Armani matches haute couture exhibition with fragrances

L’Exposition by Armani, Shanghai L’Exposition by Armani, Shanghai
A guided tour of L’Exposition Armani led by Austin Li which was broadcast on Armani Beauty’s Tmall official store, Shanghai A guided tour of L’Exposition Armani led by Austin Li which was broadcast on Armani Beauty’s Tmall official store, Shanghai

China – Armani Beauty is taking fashion exhibitions further with the olfactory experience L’Exposition set at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre until 26 February.

All visitors can access different spaces built around the scent of distinctive Armani Privé fragrances. Haute couture looks and oversized versions of perfume bottles accompany four of the perfumes presented. Other rooms include a garden of plants and flowers sculpted from Armani-scented paper and a mystical desert scene inspired by Middle Eastern odours. The experience is free, with the possibility to buy a bottle from the collection in the Olfactory Discovery Room within the exhibition.

With the global commercial success of fashion exhibitions, museums have surprisingly turned into haute couture enthusiasts in the past few years. Armani and Yves Saint Laurent have their own museums in Milan and Paris, respectively, but the next step could include flying their archives around the world for local activations resembling L’Exposition.

In Synaesthesia Scents, we’ve also highlighted how olfactory-meets-auditory experiences are providing people with the kind of physical and psychological grounding that is inaccessible online.

Strategic opportunities

: Building an archive and setting up exhibitions that aim to grow awareness of a brand’s history through experience does not require a museum’s stamp

: Olfactive experiences have a unique selling point as an antidote to digital burn-out

Foresight Friday: Dan Hastings, deputy foresight editor

The Future Laboratory team offers an end-of-week wrap-up of the topics, issues, ideas and virals we’re all talking about. This week, LS:N Global’s deputy foresight editor Dan Hastings shares the reads, Twitter must-follows and books on his radar.

: Keanu Reeves (the real one, not the famous deep fake impersonator from TikTok) is predicting AI will change art for ever and for the worse. ‘The people who are paying you for your art would rather not pay you. They’re actively seeking a way around you, because artists are tricky’

: Food-scented candles are joining the grotesque trend with new smells, including pasta water, butter and sun-warmed Roma tomato

: Are overconsumption and a trust crisis slowly killing beauty influencers? Dazed suggests their end is near as we enter the age of deinfluencing. Perhaps the quest for Euro-centric aspirational beauty is losing its momentum, as explained by Anita Bhagwandas in her new book, Ugly: Giving Us Back Our Beauty Standards

: Best of Dying Twitter is the daily dose of cynicism any Twitter-obsessed person needs as we live through the platform’s demise in real time

Zünc Studio for The Future Laboratory, UK

Quote of the Week

‘Raising a young Black man is one of the scariest responsibilities in life’

Rihanna, in British Vogue

Stat: Renewable energy to take the lead by 2025

The Energy Show at Het Nieuwe Instituut, The Netherlands The Energy Show at Het Nieuwe Instituut, The Netherlands

A recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) is cause for cautious optimistic on the environment. The IEA’s Electricity Market Report suggests that as the need for electricity grows globally, renewable energy sources will surpass coal in meeting demand.

Demand for electricity is high and the IEA expects a surge of 9% between now and 2025, mostly from China, India and Southeast Asia, due to infrastructure projects and increasing electrification in the regions. The report expects that 90% of this new demand will be covered by clean energy sources like wind and solar power as well as nuclear energy. At present, coal is the world’s number one source of electricity, followed by renewables (29%), gas (23%) and nuclear (9%). But the IEA expects renewable energy to account for 35% of the world’s electricity generation by 2025, with coal providing 33%.

Every step towards a healthier planet is valuable and important to take note of as consumers are increasingly tired of pessimistic environmental news. In our Sustainability Series we gather insights that inspire our clients to respond creatively and effectively to environmental issues.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers expect the industry to take the lead in keeping the planet healthy. Businesses and brands should be actively committed to sustainability and that commitment should be visible in your products, processes and marketing.

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