Need to Know
23 : 01 : 19

Suntory launches a world whisky, Spotify matches music to horoscopes and emerging markets drive global app downloads.

The Chinese teahouse gets a contemporary revamp

Tingtai Teahouse, designed by Linehouse
Tingtai Teahouse, designed by Linehouse
Tingtai Teahouse, designed by Linehouse

Shanghai – Tingtai Teahouse offers a more modern setting for China’s next generation of tea drinkers.

Designed by Linehouse, the large space is made up of private tea rooms that are elevated above the café, giving customers the option to sit in a more secluded area. While Chinese teahouses traditionally rely on the country’s heritage for design inspiration, the Tingtai Teahouse uses a contemporary colour palette of grey and green and features a ‘floating’ metal structure staircase.

Customers are able to try a selection of rare teas, including Pu’er, a tea that is matured through a fermentation process like wine. ‘Guests to the Tingtai Teahouse will spend a few hours drinking tea to really appreciate the different stages of the tea leaves and brews,’ Linehouse founder Alex Mok tells Dezeen.

Tea culture is more relevant than ever in China, as consumers flock to aesthetic-driven tearooms and even choose to stay in tea hotels.

Aavia reduces anxiety around taking the pill

Aavia smart hardware device & app Aavia smart hardware device & app
Aavia Aavia

US – The device connects the pill packet to an app to track when the user has taken her birth control.

The MIT Sloan start-up Aavia has launched a beta version of its device, a pouch that is designed to carry a blister pack of pills and automatically sense when pills are removed. With time a factor that affects the success of many birth control pills, Aavia will remind users to take their pill via push notifications to their device until it has been removed from the pack.

The app also responds to changing time zones and offers the option to customise the pill notification to less explicit reminders such as ‘your latte is ready’. According to the founders, no company has yet to address the misuse of oral contraceptives, which contribute to more than one million unintended births a year.

Smartphone apps that take initiative and help consumers manage their personal health are booming, as consumers look to technology for everyday guidance.

This world whisky highlights transparency

Tokyo – The leading producer of Japanese whisky has announced a new world blend comprised of Irish, Scotch, American, Canadian and Japanese varieties of the spirit.

Suntory Ao – meaning ‘blue’ in Japanese – is a single whisky that will allow consumers to enjoy the unique characteristics of each of the five major whisky-making regions. The branding aims to frame the whisky’s global origins around the legacy of Japanese craftsmanship.

Japanese whisky is a burgeoning spirits category, but one that has been facing stock shortages due to increased demand. A lack of regulation also means blends featuring imported whisky have increasingly been falsely labelled as domestic. This new world whisky, which will initially be available exclusively in Japan, is being viewed as a step toward greater transparency in the country’s whisky market. As such, Ao shows how the notion of provenance is evolving across wine and spirit categories. For more, read our Displaced Drinks microtrend.

Ao, Suntory World Whisky

Spotify launches horoscope-inspired playlists

Spotify Cosmic Playlists Spotify Cosmic Playlists

US – The streaming service is creating unique playlists for each of the 12 zodiac signs in collaboration with astrologer Chani Nicholas.

Launched last week, the star sign-specific playlists are available to users in the US and can be streamed via Spotify’s Pop Culture hub. The Cosmic Playlists will update every month to reflect each of the 12 signs' themes at that time, based on Nicholas’ astrological readings, which will also accompany each song list.

‘Astrology is about a specific moment in time,’ says Nicholas. ‘Each moment has a specific astrological mark, or archetype associated with it, that defines it. Spotify and I have come together to take the theme of the moment for each sign and curate a playlist that reflects that.’

With these thematic collections of music, Spotify is tapping into the modern-day resurgence of astrology among consumers, who are turning to New Age rituals to reflect and find direction in their lives. To find out why spirituality and folk religion are becoming more mainstream, read our Alternative Spirituality microtrend.

Stat: Emerging markets fuel global app downloads

New data compiled by App Annie shows that emerging markets accounted for three out of the top five markets for app downloads in 2018. India, Brazil and Indonesia’s app downloads increased by 165%, 25% and 55% respectively. These numbers were driven by the rise in mobile adoption in these markets and new device owners discovering and experimenting with apps.

In Indonesia, mobile users spent more than four hours a day using apps in 2018 – or 17% of their day. This is an hour more than markets such as the US and Canada, where the average user spent around three hours a day in mobile apps. And while these developing markets played little role in consumer spend on apps, this is expected to increase as engagement climbs and the markets mature.

For a closer look at growth opportunities in India and other emerging markets, explore our Youth vertical.

Thought-starter: What happened to teenage hedonism?

As Generation Z enter an era of cautious hedonism, The Future Laboratory's Carla Seipp asks what this will mean for brands.

‘Live fast, die young’ was once the mantra for generations of angsty teen rebellion, but as Generation Z enter the era of cautious hedonism, is it being laid to rest?

Amid the increase in educational and performance pressures placed on young people, a collective shift towards health and wellness, and far greater online visibility of their generation, there’s little room left for adolescent debauchery. In fact, some 60% of 16-22 year olds feel the need to succeed and make money, according to Ipsos.

But with 91% of Gen Z reporting that they have felt depressed or anxious due to stress, it’s evident that the need to let go is more crucial than ever. But when you know too much to care too little, is there any space left for exhilarating and exceptional delights?

Read the full Opinion piece here.

photography by Nina Ahn
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