Need to Know
19 : 12 : 18

Bose launches sunglasses with in-built personal speakers, Barclays protects vulnerable spenders, Amazon dominates the UK smart speaker market.

Jaguar unveils car accessories for high-end pets

Jaguar Pet Products

UK – Dog owners can now buy a range of bespoke car accessories for their pets, designed by the luxury automotive brand.

Providing more comfort to dogs when riding in its cars, Jaguar’s Pet Products range includes a spill-resistant water bowl, a foldable carrier and an access ramp suitable for older animals. A quilted liner and portable shower also help to keep dog owners’ vehicles clean. The accessories are targeted at affluent pet owners, with prices ranging from £248 ($315, €275) to (£1,187($1,500, €1,318).

Jaguar announced the launch with a tongue-in-cheek film. Created by Spark 44, the advert suggests that pets who use Jaguar’s Pet Products may become more accustomed to the finer things in life, demanding classical music, a nobler name and steak instead of pet food.

The potential for High-end Pets is booming as more Millennials sacrifice home-ownership – and even parenthood – in favour of keeping a pet. This shift is driving a market worth £67.3bn ($86.7bn, €76bn) in the US, according to Mintel.

Sunglasses that enhance the aural experience

Bose Frames Bose Frames
Bose Frames Bose Frames

US – Bose is promising consumers an immersive audio experience with its Frames – a new range of sunglasses featuring in-built personal speakers.

Its Rondo and Alto frames take cues from classic sunglasses shapes, but each black nylon and metal frame has in-built mini-speakers and Bose AR technology that enable the wearer to play music, connect to their phone and make and receive calls.

Priced at £158 ($199.95, €175), the glasses and their supporting marketing campaign are being aimed at younger consumers who want to combine style with superior sound that doesn’t disturb others. Unlike Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles, however, Bose AR will not interrupt the wearer’s vision – instead it’s described as ‘the world’s first audio-only augmented reality platform, where applications will utilise contextual audio to deliver first-of-a-kind experiences’.

Such aural enhancements are helping to elevate consumers’ social interactions and immersive experiences, something explored in our recent interview with John Connell, researcher in residence at 4DSOUND’s Spatial Sound Institute.

Barclays allows customers to block their own spending

UK – The bank has introduced a feature that will protect vulnerable customers and those with addictions or compulsions from overspending.

Barclays has created five categories of retailer at which customers can choose to block debit card transactions: supermarkets; hospitality venues such as restaurants and bars; petrol and diesel purchases; gambling; and premium rate websites and phone lines. To block any of these payments, customers must manually switch them off in the Barclays app.

Although challenger banks Monzo and Starling already offer in-app options to block people from gambling, Barclays is the first traditional bank to introduce such spending controls. According to the bank, the feature will prevent those with mental health problems or addictions from getting into debt.

With some consumers finding the cost of living hard to manage, fintech companies are creating tools to help people become more astute spenders.

Barclays card blocker

A board game that re-unites digital-first families

Disconnect to Connect, Ikea Spain Christmas advert 2018

Spain – Ikea’s latest seasonal campaign, Connect to Disconnect, is encouraging families to spend more time conversing and getting to know one another and less time engrossed in their devices.

In a nod to the tradition of families playing games together at Christmas, the thought-provoking campaign depicts families successfully answering questions about social media platforms and the lives of celebrities, but struggling to answer how their parents met, which is their son’s favourite band or what their grandmother studied.

In response, the home furnishings retailer has created Familiarised, a board game that lets players test their knowledge about their family members. Ikea will initially distribute the game to all of its Spanish employees, their families and a number of brand ambassadors, with a digital version also available – but only in airplane mode to encourage offline play.

To further encourage more quality time between its staff, customers and their families, Ikea is silencing its Spanish social channels over the festive period, echoing the Righteous Retail trend spearheaded by REI’s #OptOutside campaign, in which its stores are closed on Black Friday so staff can spend the day with loved ones.

Stat: Amazon dominates the UK smart speaker market

Total American smart speaker penetration reached 8.9% this year, according to data from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. In the UK, Amazon prevails – nearly three-quarters (74%) of the country’s smart speaker owners mainly use an Alexa device. However, in the US, the share is just 63%, accounting for nearly two-thirds. Google speakers are also more popular among US consumers than those in the UK.

The report acknowledges that Amazon’s dominance can be linked to the fact that it was the first provider to enter a number of major markets. However, the company’s slow move into Australia means that Google has overtaken the e-commerce giant and has subsequently seen greater adoption rates in the country.

To see exactly how consumers are using these smart speakers – and how they want to them to develop in the future – read our tribes report Subconscious Shoppers.

Thought-starter: Are we underestimating older women?

Baby Boomer women are creating a new lexicon around ageing that is focused on positivity and eradicates a universal obsession with the preservation of youth.

In 2014 we identified The Flat Age Society, a tribe of people more commonly known as the Baby Boomers.

Now we take a closer look at the Flat Agers women applying the activist mindset acquired during their youth – a time of sexual revolution and women’s liberation – to build their own nurturing social media networks and age-positive brands.

‘We’re living longer and healthier,’ says Lesley Jane Seymour, the former editor-in-chief of Marie Claire. ‘Which means at some point we’re going to ask ourselves: ‘Now what?’’ She has created CoveyClub, an online platform providing virtual salons, networking and podcasts, covering subjects as varied as actions to change the world and life after divorce.

For more on the mindset of Flat Age women, read our latest Market.

Sarah-Jane Adams
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