Need to Know
04 : 12 : 18

50 need-to-know consumer trends, a biosensor to help women understand their gynaecology and Small Business Saturday breaks sales record.

The Future Laboratory forecasts 50 trends for 2019

Kinfolk magazine editorial by Lucy Ruth Hathaway. Photography by Aaron Tilley
Diesel Hate Couture autumn/winter 2018
The Lobby Bar cocktails at The Line Hotel, Los Angeles
Zizi Donohoe campaign. Photography by Nadia Lee Cohen

Global – Our Future Forecast 2019 is launched today, packed with more practical consumer insights than ever before.

This time last year, our annual Future Forecast predicted that cosmetic crusaders would vanquish make-up shaming, that fitness would become a platform for inclusivity and that sleep innovation would be ushered in by the travel industry. As we approach the end of 2018, not only have these and dozens more of our predictions come to pass, they have also equipped more than 5,000 of our clients with the knowledge to take proactive action to future-proof their businesses.

We’ve arranged our findings into 10 core markets: Food, Drink, Beauty, Health and Wellness, Luxury, Fashion, Retail, Fintech, Travel and Hospitality, and Youth. From Acne Positivity and Biometric Money to Alternative Intoxication and Optimised Wardrobes, every consumer sector will see transformative changes over the next 12 months.

Cut through the noise and gain a quick and clear understanding of how these key shifts will affect your brand by downloading the Future Forecast 2019 here. If you’re a member of LS:N Global, make sure to claim your free copy.

TechCrunch Disrupt 2018: Igniting conversation around female pleasure

Anatomy of Pleasure, Berlin Anatomy of Pleasure, Berlin

Berlin – Founded by Alakina Mann, Anatomy of Pleasure aims to educate women on the intricacies of their bodies both from a pleasure and an anatomical perspective. Mann, who this year graduated from Glasgow School of Art’s Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy course, wanted to address the fact that children often only receive cursory sex education, which has exacerbated the taboo around female sexual pleasure.

‘My fine art practice involved large scale autobiographical drawings of the body, exploring the connection between mind and body,’ says Mann. ‘By omission, my drawings highlighted to me the areas I was not willing to discuss or draw; the sexual areas of the body. I also realised how little I really knew about them.' The Anatomy of Pleasure site, which is currently still under construction, offers photos, 2D diagrams and interactive 3D models of the vulva, clitoris, vagina and the uterus as well as self-titled ‘pleasure maps’ and a look at what happens to a woman physically when she gets turned on.

There is a growing realisation that the conversation around sexual pleasure has for too long been skewed towards men, resulting in a host of women-led brands that aim to empower their consumers sexually.

The FT develops a bot to tackle gender bias

UK – The newspaper has created a new tool to alert journalists if their articles quote too many men, with a view to including more female perspectives.

After finding that only 21% of people quoted in the Financial Times were women, the media organisation is keen to address gender bias in its coverage. As a part of an initiative titled She said He said, a newsroom bot will now warn staff about the lack of female voices in an article, as it’s being written.

The launch of She said He Said is part of a series of measures the paper is taking to increase female readership, such as ensuring more images of women are used to illustrate articles and increasing the proportion and diversity of its female opinion writers.

Technology is beginning to be used to tackle both its own prejudices and the biases of humans. This year, Primer AI developed a comparable machine learning system that highlights the lack of female scientists acknowledged in Wikipedia entries.

Feminist Internet Manifesto by UAL Futures

This app lets women monitor their own gynaecology

Alma App

UK – Alma is a non-invasive biosensor and app that monitors vaginal discharge and helps to diagnose gynaecological conditions.

The wearable device, which is placed in the gusset of underwear, monitors pH and lactic acid levels and sends this information to the wearer’s smartphone via Bluetooth. With the Alma app, women can see their data archive and track vaginal conditions such as candidal vulvovaginitis (CVV) and bacterial vaginosis (BV), which many women experience recurrently. The app also advises women when they should consult a doctor.

While currently at prototype stage, the project is being led by a multidisciplinary team of three scientists from the University of Cambridge and Giulia Tomasello, a designer specialising in women's healthcare, who are developing the biosensor to enable everyday women to become experts on what is normal and abnormal when it comes to their gynaecological health. It also hopes to break down societal stigma around the subject.

With innovations like Alma women can become more knowledgeable about their vaginal health, having been historically underserved by meditech devices.

Stat: US consumers catch on to Small Business Saturday

The annual shopping event developed by American Express to boost small, independent businesses in the US, reported record sales for its ninth iteration on November 24, 2018.

Among US consumers who said they shopped at local independent retailers and restaurants on the day, total spending reached an estimated $17.8bn (£13.9bn, €17.7bn). This reflects shoppers’ growing recognition of the event, with 70% of US adult consumers now aware of Small Business Saturday, according to this year’s insights survey from American Express.

The same report also found that 42% of US consumers shopped at a local retailer on Small Business Saturday, while another 41% said they shopped online with local companies. One-day retail events continue to be a force for spend around the world, as reflected by November's Singles Day, which continues to break sales records in China.

Thought-starter: Are social platforms the new stores?

Social commerce continues to grow as new technologies and in-platform features transform the way consumers buy and interact with products, says foresight writer Alex Hawkins.

We first began tracking social commerce – social media-driven e-commerce – in early 2016. Since then, the landscape has accelerated at a rapid pace, with social networks maturing into shopping platforms, presenting significant opportunities for brand growth and becoming a priority for retailers.

Partly driven by Instagram's popularity among younger generations – some 85% of US teenagers use the app at least once a month – the platform has become a leading contender in the social commerce market. When Instagram recently expanded its shopping feature to its Stories, the company revealed that more than 90m users were tapping to reveal shoppable tags in posts every month.

Visual search is also becoming an important component in social commerce, creating new opportunities for brand partnerships. Snapchat's latest visual search tool includes the ability to carry out an Amazon search – and potential purchase – simply by pointing a smartphone camera at a nearby object.

Read the Shoppable Social market here.

Snapchat visual search by Snap
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