Need to Know
10 : 02 : 22

An artist gives Times Square a mindful makeover, sex care takes inspiration from beauty and diamond jewellery sales are shining again.

Times Square becomes a hub for collective meditation

This Midnight Moment Continuum world tour by Krista Kim, US
This Midnight Moment Continuum world tour by Krista Kim, US
This Midnight Moment Continuum world tour by Krista Kim, US

New York – One of the most frenetic corners of the city is transforming into an advertising-free space – but only for a limited time. Continuum is a monumental installation by visual artist Krista Kim, which each night in February will unfold over 90 electronic billboards.

Normally reserved for corporate advertising, the billboards in Times Square are known for their loud – and sometimes overwhelming – marketing displays. By combining colour and sound, Kim is aiming to transform the area into an oasis of calm. Drawing from databases of LED light photography, Photoshop binary code and dynamic software, the soothing gradient of colour is accompanied by a site-specific score in collaboration with The Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder.

The installation, while temporary, aims to guide urbanites into a state of ‘positive digital consciousness’ each evening. To learn how to create moments of self-discovery rather than shared spectacle, explore our Enlightened States macrotrend.

Strategic opportunity

Instead of using advertisement space to promote new products, companies can create collective moments of calm and relaxation

The brand moving from sex care to skincare

Nourish by Yspot, Milan Nourish by Yspot, Milan
Nourish by Yspot, Milan Nourish by Yspot, Milan

Italy – Encouraging new attitudes to sex and pleasure in Italy, sex care brand Yspot has announced the launch of beauty products for vulva skin.

The brand – which is known for its vibrators – has launched its first skincare product, Nourish, a botanical oil designed to moisturise vulva skin and prevent irritation. Nourish will be followed by two intimate cleansing products, Care and Restore. The inclusion of skincare products alongside sex toys and vaginal health supplements, all in neutral colours and minimal forms, is intended to destigmatise conversations about sexual health and masturbation while considering the skincare needs of the vulva.

While previously we saw beauty brands venture into the world of sex care, Yspot’s new offerings represent sex care’s move back into the beauty category, highlighting the progress that has been made in normalising sexual health products over time.

Strategic opportunity

Beauty and sex care are converging. Brands should reflect this shift with dynamic products championing sexual agency for design-minded consumers

Logging off is now a legal right in Belgium

Belgium – Civil servants in Belgium have gained a new legal protection: the right not to reply to work calls, emails or messages outside of normal working hours.

The ‘right to disconnect’ will affect 65,000 workers in Belgium and is intended to stave off excessive strain and burnout in the traditionally overworked public sector. During the pandemic, workers across the world saw work expand into their home and leisure time, and as wellbeing declined in the face of constant connectivity, governments have renewed efforts to foster balance. Portugal and Ireland have recently passed similar legislation.

Pre-pandemic, we highlighted the growing importance of flexibility in all aspects of life, showing how stoic attitudes towards work and time management may be detrimental to both productivity and wellbeing. Today, this trend has magnified and conversations about our collective relationship with work, happiness and welfare are central to policy-making.

PHYD and Il Prisma, Italy

Strategic opportunity

In a market defined by labour shortages, flexibility is a key worker priority. Highlight a well-balanced lifestyle to attract and retain skilled and diverse talent

Stat: Global diamond jewellery sales are soaring

Carbon-negative diamond by Aether Carbon-negative diamond by Aether

While the diamond jewellery industry suffered a pandemic hit resulting in store closures, wedding cancellations and travel restrictions, recent research suggests the sector is getting its sparkle back. A report by Bain & Co and the Antwerp World Diamond Centre found that retail sales of diamond jewellery rose by 29% in 2021.

Meanwhile, digital sales underpinned the 19% increase in diamond jewellery sales in China last year, with many retailers having joined online marketplaces and promoted jewellery on social networks. This behaviour shows that consumers are increasingly open to making significant purchases online, aided, of course, by the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

As a sector more conventionally associated with in-store retail, we can expect the category to learn from the digital-first Gen Z behaviours being explored by disruptive jewellery brands in our microtrend Piercing Pioneers.

Strategic opportunity

Jewellery brands should consider looking to coming-of-age piercing brands for inspiration on how to sell to a new generation of cyber-savvy shoppers

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